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Batshu’s fall linked to Bushiri

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It was a big jubilee for Enlightened Christian Gathering church members and Prophet Shepherd Bushiri followers when Minister Edwin Batshu was dropped from cabinet last week. Their take is simple: He messed up with the wrong man in Bushiri. They are adamant that it was the prayers of Major One that removed the former Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs Batshu from cabinet because ‘he had been giving the church a hard time.’ The battle between the two parties started last year when government denied Major One permission to enter the country, by requiring a VISA from him. Other court issues arose, with government accusing the leadership of running an illegal church.

It was found that the church was not registered and had not been submitting annual returns. At one point, the church had to be closed. But again, other than ECG, Batshu has been under scrutiny for allegedly attacking fire churches and deporting their foreign pastors. The stern Batshu in his reign said he was protecting citizens from wolves parading as men of God, or wolves in sheep’s skin as they are commonly known. Under him the nation saw the church shake especially those that were operating illegally. In 2012, one Apostle Francis Sakufiwa of New season’s Ministries was sent packing over suspicions that he was at the centre of a syndicate involved in crimes like drug-dealing, money laundering and tax evasion. Allegations of abuse of women and girls in the church were also leveled against him. Interestingly, Sakufiwa was the one who made Bushiri famous in Botswana by inviting him as a guest preacher and prophet at his mega conferences. Then, Bushiri was still new and largely unknown.

The Malawian-born Major One would prophesy in 2012 that he saw a dark cloud hovering over Botswana and warned that government should stop harassing foreign pastors as God wanted to make Botswana a great country through the church. “I see God using men of God to restore the joy of this country again. But government should stop fighting the church,” he was quoted by this publication then. Batshu also angered ECG members when he deported Prophet Brian Sovi, who is affiliated to them through Zimbabwean Prophet Eubert Angel, who is famously regarded as Major 1’s spiritual father. Sovi is also Angel’s spiritual son. Among others, the handsome and youthful Sovi was deported last year, for operating a church not registered and for charging congregants consultation fee of P1000 to see him one-on-one to receive prophecies about their lives.

Two weeks back, the former minister denied yet another man of the cloth from Mpumalanga Prophet Penuel Mnguni of End Times Disciples Ministries, entry into the country. Popularly known as ‘Snake Pastor’ for feeding his congregants snakes saying they would taste like chocolate, he was sent back from Sir Seretse Khama airport in the company of his wife and daughter over unclear reasons. Further, Batshu’s ministry was under siege among Christians at one point when government wanted church registration to be increased from 10 members to 250. Pastors felt this was punishment and interference of government over spiritual matters. And Batshu had to take the backlash. A movement of Bushiri’s followers who call themselves Sons and Daughters of Major One were more that happy last week when Batshu got sacked. “You touch Major One by mistake, you die by correction. It was Major One who fired him, good for him,” said one of them on Facebook.

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JUST PROPAGANDA

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Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi has refuted claims that she is under the radar of the Financial Intelligence Agency. Dr Venson-Moitoi who pulled out of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) presidential race at the eleventh hour, was last week reported to have had her accounts frozen because she was being investigated by FIA.

It was alleged that the freezing of the accounts would have a negative bearing on her campaign as she could not access her funds. Responding to enquiries on the issue during a media briefing in Kang Village, Dr Venson-Moitoi said the allegations were far from the truth.

According to the former cabinet minister, all her accounts were clean and she was accessing her funds without any challenge. “The person who was saying all those things was lying. My accounts are clean as we speak. I was never confronted by FIA or anyone. As far as I know I am not under any investigations,” she said.

Linked to that, it had emerged that Dr Venson-Moitoi’s campaign was being funded from outside the country especially by the some rich families in South Africa. Reports then suggested that her source of funding was blocked through the intervention of FIA, and that even her accounts were frozen. She dismissed the reports as propaganda that was perhaps spread to soil her campaign.

“I am clean. This is why I am never mentioned in missing funds from National Petroleum Fund or those of Capital Management Botswana,” said the Serowe South Member of Parliament. Last month Dr Venson-Moitoi had reported to the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) Director General Peter Magosi that she was not happy that she is being followed around the country by security agents.

Magosi dismissed the claims on grounds that his organisation is not the only one that uses private motor vehicles.

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ARRESTED FOR RECKLESS DRIVING

Yvonne Mooka

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IN GOOD TIMES: The late Matlhogonolo with Simba in good times

Simba Mooketsi Mampori, 31, of Mbalambi allegedly killed his girlfriend in Bontleng, Gaborone and used her blood to scribble a message on the wall.

The message read, ‘Ke lapisitswe ke maaka’- translated to mean ‘I am tired of lies.’ Matlhogonolo Moshashu’s body was found inside his sister’s rented house in Bontleng.Mampori and Moshashu, 34, had a two year-old child together. Mampori allegedly killed her in March 31 by stabbing her with a screw driver, which was found inside the house. In an interview with The Midweek Sun this week, Otilia Kholiya, one of the tenants in the yard, said that she arrived on that fateful Sunday to find a yellow tape surrounding the yard with the police all over the place.

She said that she was the one who helped with cleaning. “He used her blood and wrote ‘Ke lapile ke maaka.’ I washed all the blood in the house by myself. Although police officers suspect that he used the screw driver they found in the house to kill her, I beg to differ. “That blood was just too much, it must have been something bigger,” she said, adding that they found a new dress that the deceased was going to wear to Mampori’s sister’s baby shower.

Another tenant Nicah Mandefu said that the house belonged to Mampori’s sister and that she rarely slept there and preferred her parents’place in Gaborone. She stated that she saw Mampori with his girlfriend arrive on Saturday around 4pm. “I don’t know him much because the house belongs to his sister. He probably just needed it for the weekend to spend time with his girlfriend who was staying and working outside Gaborone.

“They just greeted me and another tenant as we were sitting in front of our house. They stayed for 30 minutes and left. They would come again around 7pm,” she said. Mandefu said it was the first time she saw the deceased.

Murder
Mandefu said that Mampori’s sister arrived on Sunday around 9am, found her house locked and asked about his whereabouts. “She then told me that the lady he was with was actually his girlfriend and mother of his child,” she said. After some time, the sister returned to tell them that she received a report to say Mampori was found in Mmankgodi where he had tried to hang himself on a tree after killing Mashashu.

Upon failing to kill himself, he drove off recklessly at high speed, thus catching the attention of the police who stopped and charged him with reckless driving. “The police then noticed that he was not well as he had bruises from trying to kill himself. He could not even speak to the police but wrote down his mother’s phone number and gave them the keys to the sister’s house.

“They then took him to Thamaga Primary Hospital to be attended for his wounds on the neck, and later the police called his family and finally drove together to Bontleng where they found his girlfriend dead inside the sister’s house,” the neighbour tenant narrated to The Midweek Sun.

Serial killer
According to Botswana Police Service Deputy Public Relations Senior Superintendent Near Bagali, Mampori is also linked to another murder that occurred on 26 March in Gaborone in which a 39-year old woman from Molepolole was found with stab wounds.

At the time of his arrest, Mampori was awaiting trial for two murder cases committed in Mahalapye and Gaborone in 2016 and 2017 respectively. The deceased were his girlfriends. He was arraigned before Extension 2 Magistrate Court last Wednesday. He is incarcerated and expected back in court on April 17.

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