Several times this year, the news headlines must have left you scratching your head. What the heck! From dope in the gym of an Olympic athlete, to Donald Trump calling Africans sh**holes, 2018 has been quite a year. Staff Writer, MBONGENI MGUNI, samples some of the WTH moments this year
Sex doll frenzy!
The first clue that 2018 would be a crazy year, came early in January when social media exploded with rumours that unnamed wealthy elites had imported expensive, state of the art, lifelike sex dolls. The fairer sex’ days of relevance were numbered, social media claimed, as the dolls would inevitably filter down to the poorer men, perhaps as second or third hand items from the elite boys. As fake as the stories turned out to be, the silver lining is that they turned many people into overnight lawyers scrutinising Section 178 of the Penal Code and debating its relevance.
Donald Trump, never fearful of angering the world at once and eager to kick his crazy train into high gear early in the year, decided it was a great idea to call African countries sh**holes. US ambassadors were summoned, Botswana wrote a strongly worded riposte and the White House issued its customary denial, while Trump moved on, unaffected, to aim his guns at a new target.
Golden boot’s darkest hour
Malepa Bolelang, the former Zebras striker who dribbled past countless defenders and hauled the Premier League trophy across Dibete for the first time in history, in 2007, will never forget 2018. The bustling striker had to have his right foot amputated after a freak accident in which a female reveller allegedly threw a tantrum and drove into a crowd of people at an entertainment spot. The man who pumped in 25 goals in the 2005/06 season to be crowned golden boot, says this particular WTH moment will not dictate his life.
BK takes gloves off
In all his previous appearances in the P250 million National Petroleum Fund money laundering case, beleaguered asset manager, Bakang ‘BK’ Seretse had kept hinting his finger was on the pin of a truth grenade. In March, he let rip, his lawyers alleging that the country’s most prominent politicians and leaders had all benefited from the racket. The national response? WTH!
The curious case of Lerala Mine
Imagine you’re an employee of Lerala Mine. The mine closes suddenly one morning. You find out it was run by WhatsApp group from Australia; that the owner is facing serious criminal charges. But there’s good news. There’ll be an auction to resuscitate the mine. The auction happens, someone wins the right to buy. They fail to pay. The second highest bidder wants the price reduced, because he now holds all the cards. That deal fails too. Long story short, you’re back to square one.
De Beers back-pedals hard
In August, De Beers announced it would start manufacturing synthetic diamonds. Shocked? Having
Chasing Chase’s shadows
In September, renowned elephant expert, Mike Chase rocked Botswana by telling the BBC that 87 elephants had been poached in the space of months in north-western Botswana.
Chase threw more fuel on the fire by stating that the possible cause of the alleged poaching was the “disarmament of wildlife officers” by President Mokgweetsi Masisi. A national storm erupted and Masisi returning from a two-week China trip, took the bull (elephant?) by the horns, instituting an investigation and re-checking the figures.
The international outrage dimmed as Masisi’s administration challenged the numbers, poked holes in the “disarmament” theory and reassured on the commitment to fight poaching. Chase’s final report is due in March or April. Stay tuned for another possible WTH!
Tired of killing
The Public Accounts Committee, in its traditional October sittings, experienced its own WTH moment when the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security appeared before it. Permanent Secretary, Segakweng Tsiane revealed that prison officers were getting tired of carrying out hanging duties. The Botswana Prison Service still has not recruited an official hangman, meaning ordinary prison officers take turns to perform the grisly deed. Talk about hazards of the job.
Top sprinter, Lydia Jele is in a difficult situation after being found guilty of doping by international bodies in October. That is not the WTH. What is, however, are the details revealed by the international investigators, who allege that Jele’s husband confessed to injections in local gyms to get muscles. The husband said Jele must have used a water bottle in which he had kept his own dope, a claim dismissed by the investigators. Oh dear.
Hold on Comrade
The Russians and Botswana are tussling and this time it’s not about BCL Mine. Both want the coveted chairmanship of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and none is willing to back down. The Russians, however, have made an offer albeit one difficult to understand.
They say they will back down if Botswana agrees to move its embassy from Stockholm, Sweden to Moscow. OK?