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Maele steps up land repossession crusade

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Prince Maele – the Minister of Lands and Housing – waxed lyrical before the special full Council meeting of the  Francistown City Council on Friday that President Ian Khama had commended him for reclaiming undeveloped land for reallocation.

The Ministry had even repossessed some undeveloped plots belonging to the state something which he said the first citizen applauded. “When I wrote a Cabinet memo to Parliament wanting to repossess government undeveloped plots at Gaborone CBD, my colleagues and even immediate juniors at work were left shocked as they did not believe that my actions would be approved. Anyhow, I had a strong feeling that what I was about to do was procedural and lawful since the government had five such plots which had been idle for a very long time,” he said.

But when his cabinet memo was read, the President asked him if he was really serious with his bold move to repossess undeveloped state plots and he explained his decision and, lo and behold, the President had no qualms. “The president then informed those present that my memo was the best cabinet memorandum to have been issued under his rule. He even informed them that there was no point for the state to have another government enclave,” the Minister bragged. He said that at the time he wrote the memo, there were five undeveloped government plots and three for embassies at the Gaborone CBD.

“Following the green light from President Khama, I then called all permanent secretaries whose land was affected and directed them to develop the plots by the 31 December 2015 failing which the government will reclaim the land for reallocation. The German Embassy then informed my Ministry that they won’t be able to develop their plot due to financial constraints and they have since given up their land rights back to the state. This is a clear sign that everybody including the government will have to develop or face repossession, “the Minister warned.

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Pilane’s expulsion from UDC a ‘stillborn’

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Sidney Pilane’s retaliatory social media response to recent media reports that the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) president will soon be shown the door at the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) clearly shows that the Advocate has the UDC at his mercy.

Those close to the current developments say that Pilane knows the weaknesses of the constitution of the UDC, an advantage he seems to be enjoying as he clearly knows that the other three partners have no constitutional rights to expel another party from the coalition.

In his response, Pilane points out that he is not a member of the UDC, since an organisation has no power to suspend or expel a person who is not its member. He continues that he participates in the UDC in his capacity as the leader of the BMD, on the instructions of the latter movement as its representative in the NEC of the UDC, and in no other capacity.

“The UDC is not competent to decide who may represent the BMD in the UDC NEC, nor is it empowered to suspend or expel the BMD from the UDC. The relationship inter se of the parties which are members of the UDC as a coalition is a contractual one, and the agreed UDC constitution does not give any contracting party or parties authority to suspend or expel another contracting party.
“Even if the UDC had such power, which it does not, it would be able to do so only after due process, which has not been extended. Such a process is not worth undertaking because it would be stillborn,” he fired from the hip.

He continued that parties that become disenchanted with the UDC or another contracting party member of the UDC are at liberty to leave the UDC. Moreover, he continued that the unwavering position of the BMD is that any party which is a member of the UDC is free to leave the UDC at any time as “ours is a free country and the parties that remain in the UDC will carry moono forward and work to take power in 2019.”

The Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) Secretary generals Moeti Mohwasa and Venter Galetshabiwe had earlier on admitted in an interview that they have indeed met but could not divulge information concerning their indaba but a close source had revealed that the meeting was intended to push Pilane under the bus, an action which is legally impossible according to Pilane’s rebuttal statement.

“Neither the BMD nor I have received any communication from anybody concerning any intended or actual suspension or expulsion. If we should, it would not be worth the paper it is written on,” he blasted.

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Maun woman tells of how she ‘lost’ her camp business

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Eunice Hadour is living in distress after she and her husband were conned of their tented camp business in Maun.

The two claim to have lost the four-hectare plot situated on an island in NG12 to a South African Afrikaner businessman who pretended to be buying a 60 percent stake in the company. Hadour is an indigenous Motswana from Shakawe while her husband is a naturalised Motswana who is originally British.

Hadour said that the man had approached her and her husband and expressed interest in buying a stake in the company. “The agreement was that we would give him a 60 percent stake,” she said. She said after the agreement, the man told them that he had an offshore account and to access the funds to pay them their stake, he had to have the share certificate so that the funds could be released.

The man has apparently changed all documentation. Asked how he got his hands on the title deed, Hadour explained that there was one occasion when they wanted to travel to Palapye to change the title deed status and he had volunteered to drop it off on their behalf.

“He smooth talked us and said it would be an unnecessary expense for us to travel just to take a document.” Hadour said that they noticed that something was amiss when the man’s father-in-law told some of their customers that they would soon be taking over the camp. Realising what had happened, the couple lodged a case against the man. Hadour noted that in court the man used fraudulent statements and witnesses as well as financial transactions. The case was heard at the Lobatse High Court over the years.

Hadour said that in the initial stages the incident had put such a strain on her that she had to be hospitalised as she was pregnant at the time. “I was admitted to a South African hospital for almost two months and my baby had developed a heart condition. Meanwhile, back home, these people had taken over the camp,” she said with a quivering voice. Hadour said that the most painful part was that she had not even received a single Thebe from this. She said they suspected corruption as no one took them seriously. “There are some people we heard they had bought off with cheap cars and tuckshops.”

After a court case that started four years ago, and knocking from door to door asking for help in their case, they are now on the verge of losing hope. She said that the man implicated in the matter has threatened to sue them should they mention his name in the media. “We recently received a letter from his lawyer stipulating that legal action would be taken against us if we mentioned his name,” she said. Hadour said their standard of living had detoriorated as they had no source of income and were now struggling to make ends meet. “We both studied tourism and that is all we know. This man seems to have closed doors for us because people want nothing to do with us.

They are all friends and the way I see it, they have spoken about us and are in this together – no one even listens to us,” she said. She added that they would have to settle for anything, even maid jobs to make ends meet because the situation has become bleak, their last money having been milked by legal and medical fees. She said they were also forced to move their children from private schools to government schools because of their changed economic status.

Hadour said the man often boasted that they had heard that some Batswana sold their land in exchange for bags of maize meal and clothes. “They said they told their friends in South Africa that there is land galore in Botswana especially in the North. Some of them trick locals. They can buy a plot for a mere P5000. Some of them claim to be leasing and ask the locals to sign documents while others forge their signatures. They don’t explain anything to them or intentionally trick them.”

Hadour cautioned Batswana to be cautious on issues of land and businessmen who claimed to want to buy their businesses, property and land. “There are crooks out there. I never imagined that something like this could happen to me.” She told The Midweek Sun that she had been to the Ministry of Tourism and even DCEC to try and seek help with no success. “We once even met Minister Tshekedi Khama who seemed sympathetic but advised us to wait for the court process to take its course. We now want to go back to him and see if there is nothing we can do to help us,” she said.

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