Mmegi Blogs :: Sedition, Slaughtered Elephants and Defeated Ministers
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Friday 21 September 2018, 15:09 pm.
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Sedition, Slaughtered Elephants and Defeated Ministers

After four torrid years which soiled the government’s reputation abroad, it finally gave in and dropped its sedition case against Outsa Mokone, sedition being conduct or speech which incites people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch.
By Sandy Grant Mon 10 Sep 2018, 13:59 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Blogs :: Sedition, Slaughtered Elephants and Defeated Ministers








The incident, actual or supposed – will we ever know? – which Mokone reported was that the president had been involved in an accident when driving alone at night. For a long time, I have been trying to work out which element of this story is the one, which landed Mokone in the soup? Was it the suggestion that the president was driving, was driving alone, was driving at night or that he was involved in an accident? Or was it a combination of all of them? Certainly, all this could have nothing to do with State or its overthrow.

So, the concern must have been over the monarch. The lack of balance in a case of this sort puzzles me. Why does one party have to prove that it had reason to believe the veracity of the report whilst there is no obligation on the part of the other to demonstrate why the report could not possibly have been true. i.e the person involved was out of the country. Or perhaps denied that it was true! Maybe someone will explain. I imagine that there was a positive battery of charges that could have been brought by the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP). But sedition! For what Trump would have automatically dismissed as fake news! But in what way did the DPP believe that a report of this kind, seemingly routine, would constitute ‘inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch’.

To the country’s DPP it made legal sense. But it’s hard to believe that anyone else would have agreed. So, the case was miserably dragged on and on. Now would some caring MP please ask the Minister to tell the National Assembly how much the case cost the government and country and why it yet again threw so much public money down the drain. And for what?

Next. The outcome of Bulela Ditswe has given the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) a monumental headache. Ten Ministers simply dumped. Remarkable. But what needs to concern the BDP in the long term is not so much the result but the process, which made such an outcome possible. Anthony Morima in the Voice (August 31) suggested that in more mature democracies, ministers on losing, would hand in their resignations. But on losing what? I much doubt that political parties in any country using

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the Westminster constituency system have candidate selection procedures, which would allow such an outcome to happen. Ministers can lose a general election like any other candidate but would only resign when in office in exceptional circumstances. 

It follows that the BDP’s chosen method for chosing its candidates has compounded its problems and needs to be rethought. But Morima also suggested that some (all?) of those 10 ministers might now take their last chance to ‘enter into corrupt deals, corrupt business people may approach them’. That’s quite a comment, which comes near to suggesting that these ‘opportunities’ are routinely available and often enjoyed.

Bulela Ditswe threw up another contentious development that was reported but without its implications being examined. In general, the Kgotla has long been kept free of electoral campaigning. By report, the kgosi kgolo of the Bangwato, ignored this norm and made maximum use of his position and opportunity to campaign in Dikgotla on behalf of his preferred candidates. Most certainly this precedent has opened the door for other traditional leaders to follow his lead and make Dikgotla the centre stage for future electoral campaigning. Others will be better able to say what such a fundamental change will have on the life of just about every community in the country.

And lastly - the sad slaughter of so many elephants was followed by a depressing bout of blame and denial.

Personalising the problem was also unhelpful. I have no doubt that these elephants were indeed killed by poachers, but I do doubt that the removal of the Wildlife Department’s weaponry was a factor. Why was it so easy for heavily armed poachers to drive two or three vehicles into the very centre of the country, slaughter the elephants and then return, presumably to Namibia, without the BDF, the Wildlife people, with or without weaponry, or the DIS being any the wiser? Presumably the government works closely with the Namibian government to meet the poaching threat.

So what happened? At the time, the removal of the Wildlife’s weaponry seemed a sensible, certainly understandable, decision because the armed Botswana Defence Force (BDF) not least was committing much of its time to anti-poaching operations. Did the Guardian’s Third Eye get it right when suggesting that there is something very wrong when six BDF brigades were at the airport to see President Masisi off to China. 

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