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Death does not scare me – Masisi

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ALWAYS NEARBY: DIS boss Peter Magosi was always within touching distance of the president amid heightened security threats

At the height of the well-pronounced disunity within the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), fears abound that the life of President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi is under threat.

However, such reports come a long way, from as early as when he was Vice President during which time he survived food poisoning and a plane crash that killed two army officers just before he was to be transported in the aircraft.

The intelligence and related reports suggesting that the president could be assassinated grow everyday, and those close to the presidential security personnel say there are several factors on the ground pointing to the tension that engulfs the first citizen. The president himself on Saturday alluded to the reported security threats around his life, but was quick to say he was not afraid to die. He said there are people who have been telling him that they fear for his life and that he should be careful.

“I met some business people from whom we have been seeking donations and they said they were afraid for my safety. I told them I don’t waste my time thinking that I am going to die. It is certain I am going to die. All of us are going to die,” he told the BDP delegates at the party’s retreat in Palapye on Saturday.

Despite the utterances by the president, the situation on the ground told a different story. Security that manned the entire Majestic Five Hotel was super intense, lending credence to earlier reports that suggested the presidential security arm was also worried by the death threats reported by the party’s warring factions. Even as he publicly said he was not afraid to die, the president would not allow any slight mistake even among people that could be said to be his trusted fellows within the party.

This was the second time BDP converged at Majestic Five Hotel since Dr Masisi became president last year April. The first was on the 11 of August 2018 when the party held a meeting following the postponement of its primary elections. Even though security presence was very visible then, it could not match the one deployed this past Saturday.So intense was the security this weekend that even the head of intelligence, Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) Director Peter Magosi was present at the retreat – an unusual thing as junior officers at DIS are often deployed wherever the president is.

Brigadier Magosi was never out of sight of the president, ensuring he did not delegate this assignment to any of his officers. Magosi has been criticised for this arrangement but the spy chief has made it clear that the safety of the head of state is one of his key responsibilities. “Masisi seems to trust only Magosi and with some members within the DIS still seen to be loyal to the previous DIS boss and former president, Magosi is forced to lead Masisi’s security from the head as he is deemed the best person to quickly detect anything from his knowledge of the officers,” a BDP source shared.

Some sources even suggest that through their alleged ownership of some spy equipment, former DIS boss Isaac Kgosi and former president Ian Khama still have visual and audio access to the State House, a situation that has resulted in Masisi refusing to use the place until he is sure it is cleared of all spy equipment. It is no secret that both Kgosi and Khama are at loggerheads with Masisi whom they feel is out to harass them.

But it is unclear who could be targeting the president, a matter seen to be a covert operation yet to be unmasked. The weekend’s retreat venue in Palapye had three search points – at the main gate where all motor vehicles were searched by police and Botswana Defence Force officers; and two other points manned by BDP officials and Security Systems’ officers where democrats had to show proof that they were delegates for the retreat.

It was during this search that some South African nationals were reportedly arrested by Serowe Police after being found in possession of a firearm. The party also ensured that only party members with accreditation entered the premises and the hall and the accreditation was done at Lotsane Secondary School instead of the hall where the retreat was held.

An altercation even ensued in one of the checkpoints when veteran politician and member of the BDP Labour Committee Kgang Kgang got in a heated argument with Mbakisano Tjiyapo, a member of the Communications and International Relations Committee, for failing to produce his accreditation. Kgang also contested BDP primaries for Mogoditshane constituency in January last year and lost to Tshepang Mabaila who has since been suspended from the party for five years.

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BDP to crack whip on dissidents

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Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is poised to crack the whip on members that attended last month’s “illegal” Serowe meeting that was allegedly called by the Central Region party elders.

The meeting was to discuss what transpired during the regional congress where President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi was endorsed as the preferred candidate to lead the party against the recommended name of Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi.

The party has since scheduled disciplinary hearings for the affected members following a complaint letter from Steady Sethaba – Chairman of Serowe West Branch dated March 1st 2019.
About 28 people have been listed in the complaint letter as some of the attendants. Dr Khama and Dr Venson-Moitoi have not been listed in the complaint letter, although they were present as well as Member of Parliament for Tati East Samson Moyo Guma who is also vying for the party’s Secretary General position.

BDP National Disciplinary Committee Vice Chairman Yame Tshepo Kebabonye has since written to the affected BDP members that the hearings are scheduled for the 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19 of April 2019 in the morning at party head office. Through the letter dated 6th March 2019 Kebabonye has called on those appearing to have availed their statements of defence within 14 days of receipt of the summons. In the complaint letter Sethaba had indicated that the meeting was in violation of the party constitution because it was not called by an established organ of the party.

“The speakers also deliberately misled and incited the meeting attendants by speaking in a way that was aimed at leaving them believing that the regional congress led the delegates to do what was unconstitutional. “Of late there has been an emergence of unruly behaviour by some members of Serowe constituencies which necessitate for appropriate remedial action before it gets out of control,” Sethaba said in the complaint letter.

The Serowe “illegal”meeting was held on the 24th of February 2019 and was attended by among others former President Dr Ian Khama, Dr Venson-Moitoi, Member of Parliament for Tati East Samson Moyo Guma and Roseline Panzirah-Matshome who is vying for Deputy Secretary General post ahead of the party’s elective congress in July this year. Also, in attendance were most of Central District BDP councillors. Following this meeting party Secretary General Mpho Balopi revealed that disciplinary action would be taken against those members who attended the ‘illegal meeting.’

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I BUY NO POWERS

Yvonne Mooka

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Many will remember Apostle Joel Keitumele as Ntsoro the comedian who would leave people in stitches with his rib-cracking jokes.

Now an apostle who leads Heavenly International Soul church with his wife Amo Keitumele, he confided in The Midweek Sun that he has never bought powers to make himself and his church powerful as it is often alleged by members of the public.

Two years ago, there were allegations that he had lost his mind after he failed to honour an agreement with a seller of powers in Ghana. “They were saying I was mentally disturbed and that I was being tormented by a snake because I dishonoured an agreement from a seller of powers in Ghana. I have never been to Ghana and the rumours were baseless,” he said, adding that someone even lied that his aunt works at Sbrana Psychiatric Hospital and had seen Keitumele at the hospital.

He also recalled the time he was invited at Btv with now born again Shumba Ratshega. He was wearing two rings. “One was my wedding ring and the other on my right hand was a Versace. A caller asked why I was wearing the other one and there were talks that it’s for powers.” He said he took it off and gave it to the presenter to wear and that nothing happened to him.

Lately, there are allegations that he wears an eagle belt, known in street lingo as ‘Prophetic belt’and purpoted to have powers to increase miracles in church and to attract more people. It is won by several other pastors and prophets among them, Shepherd Bushiri, Alph Lukau, Passion Java and Eubert Angel. He confirmed that he has it. He however said there is nothing like a prophetic belt or prophetic shoes.

“Of recent, God released a cloud of young prophets and these like their older mentors or spiritual fathers are stylish and they like fashion. “We have tapped into that. So most of us have Versace shoes, Eagle belts because we like looking good. People refer to them as ‘Prophetic this and that’ but there is nothing prophetic about them.

It’s just that we like them but we don’t need them for powers,” he said. Keitumele confirmed that he sells the trending shoes and belts at his store in Gaborone. “We just like our belts. Nothing more. The power is in the price. Monna ke monna ka setlhako le lebante,” he said.

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