Botswana soldiers this week shot and killed a suspected rhino poacher during a gunfight in the vast Okavango Delta, where poaching has reached unprecedented levels. The southern African nation's anti-poaching unit has killed 19 suspects since 2019, as the government employs a shoot-to-kill policy.
Botswana’s military said a rhino poaching suspect was killed Wednesday during an exchange of fire in the thickets of the Okavango Delta.
Botswana Defense Force’s Major Mabikwa Mabikwa said poachers are using sophisticated weapons of war and communication equipment. He says the army is up to the challenge.
President Mokgweetsi Masisi recently said the military will not hesitate to shoot poachers.
“Poachers are sufficiently radicalized to kill, so they are dangerous," said Masisi. "We put an army in place to defend this country, so any intruder is an enemy. And unfortunately, as with any war, there are casualties.”
The army says it has killed 19 suspected rhinoceros poachers since last year, while one soldier lost his life during an exchange in April.
Poachers mostly target rhino, with 56 of the endangered animals killed in the past two years.
The government recently decided to dehorn all the rhinos and relocate them to secure, private locations.
Department of Wildlife and National Parks principal veterinary officer Mmadi Reuben said in addition to dehorning, anti-poaching efforts would be intensified.
“We expect to see the results. It (dehorning) is meant to disincentive," said Reuben. "This does not in any way replace our anti-poaching strategies that we put in place. In fact, we up our anti-poaching operations and augment them further to ensure that any perpetrators that come in, they are brought to book.”
The Okavango Delta is wet and challenging to navigate, with some areas inaccessible by road. Most poachers cross over from neighboring countries.
Despite a statement from the the Botswana government that President Cyril Ramaphosa had sent Intelligence Minister Ayanda Dlodlo as his envoy to Gaborone, News24 has learnt that the trip has been called off.
The Botswana government said in a statement on Monday that President Mokgweetsi Masisi would meet with Dlodlo on Tuesday afternoon. The statement was further posted on Masisi's official Twitter page.
However, prior to the confirmation by the Botswana government, Ramaphosa's spokesperson Khusela Diko denied that an envoy had been appointed.
"The president has not and has no intention of appointing an envoy to Botswana in relation to the cases involving Bridgette Radebe," she said.
Diko said no minister had been tasked to deal with the matter.
News24 understands the trip was called off after we posed questions to the presidency.
The now cancelled meeting comes as the Botswana government had approached AfriForum to assist it in tracing millions of Pula allegedly laundered from the country.
Botswana's Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), advocate Stephen Tiroyakgosi, last Tuesday bemoaned the lack of response from South Africa's Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) after its request for mutual legal assistance in the matter.
Motsepe-Radebe is implicated in allegations of money laundering.
Last week the Botswana government announced it had enlisted the services of AfriForum's Gerrie Nel to get the Department of International Relations and Cooperation to respond to its request made last September.
The move by Gabarone is expected to cause diplomatic tensions between it and Pretoria.
Speaking to City Press, Motsepe-Radebe had challenged the Botswana government to "produce evidence that such a large amount of money left the country in the first place and how and if the Reserve Bank of Botswana has no records of that".
She also bemoaned the fact that the names of her relatives – Ramaphosa is her brother-in-law and Patrice Motsepe is her brother – come up whenever the case is mentioned.
Motsepe-Radebe has denied the accusations.
She further stated that she would "welcome the South African government assisting the Botswana government with its request for mutual legal assistance … These allegations are harmful to my reputation and to all the other citizens that have been referenced in the affidavit".
Late last year, she was named as a co-signatory in two South African bank accounts holding more than $10 billion (R170 billion) allegedly stolen from the Botswana government.
Nel further told the media that: "Money originating from the Bank of Botswana was illegally laundered through various international accounts and pertinent to this particular account, $48 billion found its way to bank accounts in South Africa."
When Manchester City footballer Raheem Sterling challenged English football to do more when it came to tackling systemic racism in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, Chelsea manager Frank Lampard questioned his analysis of the problem.
For Lampard, his success in coaching was simply down to hard graft. But my research shows that hard work and effort are not the determining factors when it comes to the lack of black managers in the top echelons of the game.
In general, English football’s response to Black Lives Matter has been impressive. Professional footballers in England were allowed to demonstrate their support for the movement by taking a knee before matches. And the Premier League allowed its clubs to replace players’ names with “black lives matter” on match day shirts.
But Sterling was right to say that that football’s governing bodies must now move beyond symbolic gestures. They need to implement meaningful change to tackle inequalities in the English game – especially in relation to black under-representation in coaching and managing. The fact is there are no black managers in the Premier League and they account for less than 1% of senior coaches – despite making up around 30% of players.
Sterling gave Stephen Gerrard and Frank Lampard as the latest examples in a long list of white ex-England players who started their managerial careers at the top flight. He pointed out the contrast to similarly decorated black former England international, Sol Campbell, who started his managerial career at League Two’s Macclesfield Town – as did another black ex-England international, Paul Ince.
Lampard subsequently accused Sterling of making a “very casual” comparison, adding:
I think he got it, from my point of view, slightly wrong…Those opportunities have to be equal for everybody, I think we all agree on that…But, within that, then there are the details of how hard you worked.
But Lampard is wrong. Research has shown that this kind of “double talk” – often by seemingly progressive white people – serves to show their support for the cause in a general way, while simultaneously and politely silencing and discrediting a person’s experience of racial injustice.
Lampard’s point that his opportunity to manage was exclusively the result of his own hard work and effort indicates a lack of self-awareness. It reinforces the widely held but inaccurate belief that football is meritocratic.
Most importantly, it dismisses the existence of structural and systematic processes of racial inequality within the game and infers that this situation is the result of a lack of effort on the part of black players. This chimes with wider stereotypes of black athletes as naturally talented but lazy. It also overlooks the role of social networks (not the Twitter or Facebook kind) within the process of securing management work.
Old boys’ network
My research on the post-career experiences of 16 black footballers examined the place of social networking in securing coaching and management work in English football. Social networks are the connections established with family and peers, coaches and managers. Put simply, it’s who you know.
Social networks are arguably the most decisive aspect in securing work and trump qualifications and “effort”. Players with good networks get advance warning of new jobs and help securing important introductions. They provide coaching hopefuls with important referees who can vouch for, support and endorse their candidacy. If a player is not part of the right network, it’s unlikely that they will get an interview, let alone a job.
My research also showed that while, in general, friendship groups in professional football were multi-racial, intimate friendships – upon which social networks were largely formed – mostly consisted of people who were from the same race or region. One of the participants in the research, ex-player, Simon (not his real name) explained that with very few black people in positions power, the “black” social networks players belong to are frequently unhelpful for securing coaching work.
Lampard’s route into management is a useful illustration. Lampard was born into a footballing family. His dad, Frank Snr, was assistant manager at West Ham, his cousin is Jamie Redknapp (another former England international) while his uncle is the hugely influential ex-manager Harry Redknapp. In fact, Redknapp once explained how he was instrumental in getting his nephew his first job in management:
…I rung Mel Morris (Derby County Chairman), he’s got a house up the road from me…He said Frank had no experience…I said he wants to be a manager, please meet him. The next day he met him in London, they had a meeting at 7 o'clock, half past eight he rung me and said he’d blown him away. I’ve given him the job. And that was it.
Once appointed, Lampard recruited his close friend, ex-Chelsea player Jody Morris, to be his assistant manager – Morris had no prior experience of coaching adults.
The Rooney Rule (where a black, Asian or minority ethnic candidate must be included in job interviews) has been offered as a route to tackle black under-representation by the Football Association. But with little jurisdiction over internal recruitment processes within individual clubs, it is unlikely it will ever be implemented in any meaningful way, or even be enforceable.
Professional football disagrees with racism in a general sense. But some within its white membership remain reluctant to fully acknowledge the existence of systematic racism and – in particular – how it has influenced their own careers.
In response to Sterling, Lampard – clearly a talented manager – could have easily responded that football still does not work for all people in the same way. This would have been an impressive display of self-awareness and anti-racism. Without a genuine acknowledgement of this reality – from all in football – it is hard to see how systemic racial inequalities within the game can be addressed.
Angolan prosecutors on Tuesday sought a seven-year jail sentence for the son of former president Jose Eduardo dos Santos for allegedly embezzling $500 million from state coffers.
Jose Filomeno dos Santos, 42, was summoned before Angola's Supreme Court in December over allegations he tried to steal as much as $1.5 billion (1.3 euros) from the sovereign wealth fund, which he oversaw from 2013 to 2018.
Nicknamed "Zenu", he was charged with pilfering $500 million (445 million euros) from the fund -- alongside the former governor of the national bank of Angola (BNA), Valter Filipe da Silva, and two others.
The funds were alleged transferred to the funds to a Swiss bank during the dos Santos presidency.
All four have denied the accusations.
Deputy attorney-general Pascoal Joaquim asked judges to sentence Zenu and one collaborator to seven years in prison and hand the other two a 10-year sentence.
"Since the beginning, the defendants have always had the intention to bypass the Angolan state," Joaquim told the court in the capital Luanda.
Zenu is the first member of the former presidential family to be prosecuted as part an anti-corruption campaign lead by President Joao Lourenco, who came to power in 2017.
His predecessor led Angola for 38 years, leaving a legacy of poverty and nepotism in a country still recovering from a 1975-2002 civil war.
Zenu was appointed head of the $5 billion fund in 2013, 34 years into his father's reign.
His half-sister Isabel dos Santos was ousted from her position as chair of the state oil giant Sonangol in November 2017.
Cited by Forbes magazine as the richest woman in Africa, she is accused of diverting billions of dollars from state companies during the dos Santos presidency -- allegations she has vehemently denied.
In December a court in Luanda issued a "preventative" order to freeze her business assets as part of the investigation.
Earlier on Tuesday, Lourenco reiterated his intention to combat graft.
"Over the past two years we have done a lot and the evidence is there," the president told members of his ruling People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) party.
"The authors are paying for the crimes they committed, which is different to what has been done... since independence."