Vol.49 No.5

Monday 19 December 2005    

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News
The Highlights Of An Eventful Year

By Staff Writer
12/19/2005 6:20:01 PM (GMT +2)

The year 2005 is about to end. It was a year marred by passion killings, multiple fuel price increases, rising cost of living, the devaluation of the Pula and excitement in the sports arena. Of course there are other incidents, which occupied the front pages of the newspapers. Below are some of the highlights of the year.


In February, President Festus Mogae issued an order for the deportation of the University of Botswana political science lecturer, Professor Kenneth Good. The speculation at the time was that he was deported for his outspokenness on the issue of automatic succession to the presidency, which he said, stifled democracy. A legal battle ensued but at the end, Good failed in his bid to stave off the deportation order. He was immediately deported after he lost the court battle.

In March, following a long debate on where the second university should be located, a decision was reached. However, the Serowe/Palapye area proved highly controversial. For many people, the ideal place was Selebi-Phikwe because of the imminent closure of the mine. It was felt that the university would keep the town going. In any case the task force chosen to determine the site of the university had settled on Selebi-Phikwe. During the same month of March, Prophet TB Joshua from Nigeria visited Botswana. There was a lot of hype about his coming as people who were sick looked up to him for cure. Many were disappointed as they could not be healed. A few say they were healed and continue to give testimony about their encounters with the prophet. Still on matters of religion, Eloyi Church made the headlines during this time. The church visited a number of homesteads where they claimed to have exorcised demons. The church became popular and prominent like never before. In May, the North East representative at the House of Chiefs, Christopher Masunga joined the Customary Court of Appeal in Francistown.

He relinquished his position at the House of Chiefs as well as his seat at the Masunga Kgotla. The construction of the statue of the three chiefs, Kgosi Kgama III, Kgosi Bathoen II and Kgosi Sebele I started. The country lost one of its most colourful politicians, Paul 'Ostrich' Rantao.

In June, the country woke up to a P24 million debt owed to environmental sanitation company Daisy Loo by the Gaborone City Council (GCC). Daisy Loo made a claim for clearing some bushes along the Segoditshane River. After some arguments over the payment, the Ministry of Local Government ordered GCC to pay Daisy Loo.

The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) confiscated the cheque, launched investigations and instituted a court case against a number of Daisy Loo and GCC officials. In July, the Bakwena chieftainship was ruffled again when George Moeng lay claim to the throne. Though his claim was dismissed outright, he has since asked the Minister of Local Government, Margaret Nasha to intervene. In August, the Magistrates' Court in Gaborone ruled that flamboyant businessman, Robert Masitara had a case to answer in a rape allegation charge. This did not dampen his spirit as he went ahead and campaigned vigorously for the Gaborone West North constituency by-election.

A lot of discontent was raised against the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) for allowing Masitara to contest the election. The BDP stood steadfast and said Masitara was innocent until proven guilty.

Former Botswana Congress Party (BCP) secretary-general, Mokgweetsi Kgosipula returned to the Botswana National Front. Kgosipula is a former BNF MP for Mogoditshane.

In September, President Festus Mogae's special advisor, Sidney Pilane was jailed for contempt by the Lobatse High Court. He spent a weekend behind bars. Pilane is representing the state in the case where Basarwa have taken government to court over their relocation from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR).

The Yellow Monster visited Tsolamosese and when it left, there was a trail of destruction. Houses were levelled to the ground. The owners were said to have allocated themselves land illegally.

The monument of the three chiefs was opened to the public on the eve of the country's 39th Independence Day celebrations. The Gaborone West North by-election was held on October 15. BNF leader Otsweletse Moupo beat his opponent, Robert Masitara to replace the late Paul Rantao in Parliament. In November, a black cloud hovered over the Batlokwa tribe. Their Paramount Chief, Moshibidu Gaborone passed away after a long illness. Gaborone was draped with the lion's skin in 2002. The leader of the Zion Christian Church, Bishop Barnabas Lekganyane visited Gaborone.

He came at the invitation of the Mayor of Gaborone, Nelson Ramaotwana to pray for social ills engulfing the nation. There was talk that he was called to pray for rain though this was denied by the church. They argued that Lekganyane is not a rainmaker. Coincidentally, it rained during the weekend when he was in Gaborone. The meteorological people had predicted rain at this time and there has been debate whether the ZCC leader brought rain.

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