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The Comical, the Frightening and the Admirable

SANDY GRANT
One point about this extraordinary country is that it is rarely short of contrasting news. Take that story about the elephant that just happened to fall off the back of a truck in Maun.

The elephant in question, seemingly only one, appeared in front of Mokoro Lodge,  An “uncontrollable crowd,” reported Mmegi March 30, started to throw stones at the animal which understandably angered, threw them back.

Seemingly it was the elephant which was deemed to be the problem, not the uncontrollable crowd, and it was the former, not the latter, which was eventually given a sedation shot by a Wildlife team. The elephant was then somehow put on the back of a truck to be taken to Shorobe.

How many men would have been required, I wondered, to pick up an elephant, either large or small, and dump it in to the back of truck?

Somewhere along the way, however, the still sedated elephant contrived to fall off the truck taking with it the three unnamed ‘volunteers’ who just happened to be sitting with it. 

The three were treated for minor injuries whilst the elephant was presumably deemed to be injury free.

What happened next is unclear. Either the elephant got its wits together and quickly disappeared into the bush, or the three with minor injuries managed on their own to lift the animal up again and put it back where it belonged.

I have to presume that the unidentified injured three carried out this job because, as we all know, the job of a Government driver is to drive, nothing more. So he presumably stood by and watched the three struggling with that huge dead weight.

In the upshot, I am not sure who, apart from the elephant, emerges from this story with much credit.

There was no indication in this report that the elephant had caused any damage so why was the MP for Maun so insistent that it be killed and why was the assembled crowd so incensed, rather than intrigued, by its appearance? In the end, I would award full marks to both the Wildlife team and to the elephant and only a very few to the ‘uncontrollable crowd’ and MP.

Now, with apologies for reverting to an earlier story, I cannot resist further comment. As this story was reported, three journalists were detained by security agents in Mosu and threatened with death.

They reported the case to the Letlhakane police, invoked the services of Attorney Dick Bayford  and waited for the police to conclude their investigations.  

From memory, the DIS Act, if

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I may call it that, specifically stated that the identity of its agents must never be known and that even wives of those employed by the DIS must never be told where their husbands worked or what they did.

It would therefore seem that, like everyone else, the police will be debarred from knowing the identities of those agents who were the subject of the complaint. If this is correct, I am going to assume, therefore, that the police will be unable to verify that the three journalists were ever detained and threatened by anybody.

Fortunately Dr Ramsay has confirmed that the three had indeed been detained ‘for trespass’. But detained by whom? In sum, a fascinating legal situation. 

Given this context, I am going to take issue with the statement made by the Secretary General, Victor Baatweng  of the Botswana Media and Allied Workers Union (BOMAWU) who ‘called on journalists not to fear anyone but report fairly and professionally as they have always done’.

(The internet Guardian dated March 20) In contrast, I believe that journalists have everything to fear and should never assume that their vocation to report fairly and professionally will be viewed in the same way by governments whose own vocation may be to stifle and trim that right.  But now a shift of subject from the frightening to the admirable. 

Firstly, congratulations to Amantle Montsho who needed only two comeback races to qualify for the London World Championships in August. 

And then I draw attention to the extraordinary, wonderful partnership with India which the Sunday Standard reports, has resulted in the construction of a new 150 bed Indus Healthcare Academic Hospital in Francistown.

The SS also reported that, ‘ Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital in New Delhi also conducted a Cataract Blindness Campaign at the Sekgoma Memorial Hospital in Serowe where more than 500 sight restoration surgeries were performed between, November 7 and 18, 2016.

India’s’ Tertiary Clinical Services in partnership with the Government of Botswana, covering eight largest hospitals under the Ministry of Health with over 50,000 medical procedures having been performed annually since 2014 as part of the partnership between the two countries. But now that really is genuine development!

Well done India and well done the Min of Health which rightly opted for the real thing instead of the usual quick fiddle.



Etcetera II

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Selefu

Another EVM for dustbin!

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