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A ticking time bomb!

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Tension rising in Monarch over illegally parked trucks

Tension is simmering between Monarch residents and the owner of over 20 trucks parked at Engen Filling Station in Francistown.

A recent near fatal car accident has stoked a fire that threatens to consume one of the city’s populous locations.

The owner of the imposing fleet, Joseph Machinya of Machinya Trucking, was given 21 days to remove his trucks, trailers and all other machinery from the roadside.

He has until today (Thursday 13 February) to comply with the Land Tribunal order or face seeing his vehicles forcibly removed.

However, the young entrepreneur revealed he intends to appeal to the High Court.

“We’ve been given eight weeks to appeal the order, and we are going to appeal,” Machinya told The Voice, before arranging to meet up for an in-depth interview on Friday.

According to Francistown City Council Town Clerk, Lopang Pule, Machinya was also ordered to restore the site to its original state.

“He has to rehabilitate the soil, because a lot of oil has seeped through the ground,” explained Pule.

The Town Clerk, who acknowledged there are similar cases dotted around the city, said Machinya was served with an enforcement notice last year but did not comply and instead chose to appeal the notice.

“He was taken to the Land Tribunal which ruled in favour of the council. It has to be clear that what he’s doing is an illegal undertaking. He has to remove the trucks or face forcible removal at his own cost.”

The newly elected Monarch North Councillor, Gopolang Scara Almando told The Voice residents have long complained about the trucks that hug the entire shoulder of the road around the filling station.

“The area has become a danger to motorists whose view is blocked by the imposing trucks,” stressed Almando, who admitted tempers in the location were becoming increasingly heated.

A COMMON SIGHT: A recent accident

“There’s word on the streets that some people are threatening to set the trucks on fire if they’re not moved! The community is angry and will express their anger by destroying those trucks. This is a ticking time bomb,” he warned.

“At least five motor vehicle accidents have been reported thus far. We’ve never had accidents at the filling station before, it’s simply because motorists’ views are seriously compromised,” added Almando, who called for calm in Monarch.

“We are not a violent society. I urge young people to exercise restraint until the city leadership visits the area!”

Echoing the councillor’s pleas for restraint, Pule urged residents to let the law take its course.

“Look he [Machinya] can still appeal to the High Court, because one of the reasons he gave was that he’s a young businessman with no land to park his many trucks. This is a matter we’re dealing with. It would be unfortunate should residents of Monarch decide to go the violent route; we should do everything within the confines of the law!” the Town Clerk reiterated.

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Sangomas’ fatal battle

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Trio implicated in rival’s fiery death

Three traditional doctors in Serowe will have their spiritual powers put to the test as they race against time to escape a possible death penalty for the gruesome murder of a rival medicine man on 19th February.

The trio of Keitumetse Dudu Seakane, 34, Phaphane Jack, 27, and Gladys Dintwa, 52, is accused of burning Mhanje Raplanka alive at his home in Itsokwane Farms, just a few kilometers from Moiyabana.

The three sangomas, who were granted bail by Serowe Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 19th March, appeared again for mention this Monday.

Speaking to The Voice, No. 2 District Officer Commanding, Paul Oketsang, confirmed the trio has been charged with the 67-year-old Raplanka’s murder.

However, the top cop would not go into detail as the matter is sensitive and still under investigation.

In an exclusive, emotional interview with this publication, a family spokesperson revealed they received a call at midnight on February 19th from concerned neighbours at the usually quite lands.

“They said people were killing our father and we should rush as quickly as possible to fetch him as he needed medical attention,” narrated the source, who pleaded to remain anonymous as he still has to give evidence in court.

The spokesperson is convinced the mastermind behind the cold-blooded murder was Gladys, the deceased’s niece.

“From what we learnt after the old man’s death, Gladys, who’s a traditional doctor, had once asked her uncle to pass on his shrine to her, a request he flatly rejected.”

According to the source, the holy shrine in the middle of the elderly man’s farm has long been a source of envy for Gladys, who desperately needed it to fortify herself.

Narrating his version of events from the fateful night, the family member claimed the trio drove together in a Honda Fit owned by Jack, parking close to the corrugated mud hut where an unsuspecting Raplanka lay sleeping.

“Gladys remained behind in the car, while Keitumetse and Phaphane proceeded to the house. They took a bath at the gate before entering the yard,” The Voice was told.

Suspects

The two sangomas allegedly doused the house in petrol before setting it on fire.

“From what we heard, the old man somehow managed to break through the door before he was completely consumed by fire. But they knocked him down with a log and poured more petrol on his burning body,” said the source, who remained remarkably calm considering his gory narrative.

Convinced Raplanka was dead, the two men reportedly returned to the car and fled the scene.

“Miraculously, he managed to extinguish the fire and staggered to the next yard, about a kilometre away, where he narrated his ordeal and named his attackers. It was the neighbours who alerted us and the police,” continued the family insider.

According to the source, a police van arrived an hour later to pick the badly burnt old man, who unfortunately died on the way to the hospital, a few kilometers from Moiyabana.

The suspects were arrested around noon the next day.

They are due back in court for mention on 2nd June.

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Botswana confirms four (4) cases of Covid-19

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  1. As noted yesterday Botswana has confirmed 3 cases of Covid-19. We now report a fourth Covid-19 case, this case is of a 79 old lady from Ramotswa who unfortunately demised on the 25th March, 2020 and was buried over the weekend on the 28th March 2020. She had travelled to Motswedi, South Africa on the 14 March 2020 and returned the following day on the 15th March 2020.

She started showing symptoms on the 21 March 2020 and later developed fever. It was noted that she had a significant other, comorbidities. On return from Motswedi she was kept on home quarantine from where she was brought to Bamalete Lutheran Hospital.

She was seen in Accident and Emergency and put under mandatory quarantine where she died on the 25 March 2020, and burial conducted with the necessary precautions of someone suspected to have highly an infectious disease.

Contact tracing is currently underway and so far 14 have been identified, quarantined and tested for Covid-19. Results are awaited.
Regarding the previous 3 cases we would like the Nation to note the following:

  1. The first case is a 47-year-old male, Motswana who came from Basingstoke, travelled to the United Kingdom on the 29th February 2020 and returned on the 21st March 2020. At the time of arrival the patient was asymptomatic.

The patient developed a fever (>38°C), coughing and running shortness of breath, the patient was swabbed on the 28th March 2020. The patient was tested at the National Health Laboratory (NHL) and also referred to National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) in South Africa.

  1. The second case is a 40-year-old female Motswana who travelled with her husband to Thailand on the 10th March 2020 and returned to Botswana on 20th March 2020 through Dubai, and through OR Tambo and SSKI.

The lady developed sore throat, was coughing and had a headache.

She was swabbed on the 27th March 2020. The patient was tested at the National Health Laboratory (NHL) and also referred to National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) in South Africa.

  1. The third case is a 42-year-old male Motswana who travelled with his wife to Thailand on the 10th March 2020 and returned to Botswana on 20th March 2020 through Dubai, and through OR Tambo and SSKI.

The male was coughing with a temperature of 37.8°C. He was swabbed on the 27th March 2020. The patient was tested at the National Health Laboratory (NHL) and also referred to National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) in South Africa.

As we face this challenge I call upon you my Countryman to stand together in unity as we fight this scourge. We together shall prevail. We have done this before and we shall do it again.

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