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An Eye for What?

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Sunday. Almost noon in Gaborone. From the pulpit, Pastor Godwill’s beady eyes follow his most-trusted foot soldiers lug bags of tithes behind a curtain where the money counting takes place.

With such a generous flock, he will move the church out of the tent into a proper building before Easter.

He will buy a house, then a jet. He raises his hands and sways to the rhythm of the closing hymn.

The church goers dissect the homily and sing the pastor’s praises as they file into the sunlight: “Oh, God! Daddy was on point today.” “May he stay blessed.” “Halleluja, Pastor.” “Amen, Pastor.”

No one notices a young man who has been skulking around the parking lot. He sidles up to a gleaming, new, black SUV.

Big lettering on the side proclaims ‘The Church of New Life’.

It belongs to the pastor—a Christmas gift from a recently-born again member.

He peers inside. Bibles, prayer books. More Bibles. The big money briefcase is not there.

He continues to pad, cat-like, around the bumper-to-bonnet filled parking lot. In another car he spies a woman’s handbag lodged under the driver’s seat. A purse peeps out.

The young man steals a quick look around him but sees someone approaching, so he moves on to another car.

He tests the driver’s door. It is locked, but the cellphone in the storage compartment tempts him, and his time is running out.

He picks up a brick and hurls it at window, shattering the glass.

As the alarm rings, he slides his arm inside and pulls out the cellphone.

Weaving between the cars, he makes for the main gate. Someone shouts. “Legodu!” Again. “Legoooodu!” Louder the second time.
It’s like a siren screaming. The able-bodied give chase. Men, women and children emerge from their makeshift shops, from houses to join in.

“Legodu!”Dogs bark the word. Cats meow the word. Cows moo it. Goats bleat it.

The whole neighbourhood emerges to bear witness.

The young man flies towards the main road. If he can cross the highway, he will melt into the bush and then he will be out of reach, but cars and trucks speed up and down the road. He cannot get across, so he off-loads his loot.

But it is too late for him. A man with biceps the size of the thief’s calves grabs him by his waistband and slams him to pavement. The swelling crowd, cheers.

A slap, a kick, a pinch. Another man fetches a sjambok from his boot.

It whistles as it slices the air, cracks as it lands on the thieves back. Once. Twice. Again. Once more.

A woman who was walking to the Kombi stop cannot resist.

She tucks her Bible into her bag and tugs off her stilettoes. She whacks the thief. Punctuates her words with blow: “You.” Rap. “Little.” Rap. “Bastard.” Rap! Rap! Rap! “That’s for the one who stole my purse.” She stands back and gives way for a man to land his punch.

The cheers grow louder.

A woman driving past slows down to see what is happening. She cannot bear to watch.

She pulls off the road to speak into her phone. “They are going to beat him to death,” she reports.

“Please hurry.” Tears roll down her face.

By the time the police arrive, the young man is soaked in a red sea.

The men in blue-grey uniforms leap from their vehicle.

One of them charges through the crowd that refuses to part.

When he finally reaches the young man, it is to confirm that his life has been stolen.

And still, the crowd cheers.

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SADC Executive Secretary disturbed by obstacles in movement of goods

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The Executive Secretary of SADC, Dr Stegomena Lawrence Tax, has cautioned member states that any lack of cooperation among then during the COVID19 era has potential to reverse the gains made in the last decades.

Addressing a virtual SADC Council of Ministers meeting this week, Lawrence Tax said that the regional ministers approved Guidelines on Harmonization and Facilitation of Movement of Essential Goods and Services across borders early April. 

She said that whilst the guidelines have played a critical role in facilitation of movement of essential goods, there are notable obstacles that have been noted by the Secretariat.

The obstacles include non-compliance/non recognition of regional legal frameworks; uncoordinated operations at the port of entry among border agencies; lack of harmonization and synchronization of policies and procedures among, and between member states; unilateral decisions outside agreed framework; as well as different approaches to deal with epidemiological challenges,” she said. 

She added that; “all these are resulting in increased cost of doing business, and negatively affecting the implementation of national and regional programmes”.

She advised that there is need to have measures, and coordinated approach in place since the region is in a post lockdown period since the transportation of non-essential goods and services will be resuming.

Lawrence Tax added that COVID19 is a global pandemic and that the SADC regional approach should expand to COMESA-EAC-SADC tripartite and eventually to other continental blocs.

“The Secretariat is already working with COMESA and EAC, specifically, in terms of harmonizing and synchronizing regulations and procedures for movement of goods and services under the Tripartite arrangement. We need to move in unison and avoid unilateral decisions, specifically with regards to cross border movement of goods and services,” she said.

According to the Executive Secretary, the regional office has already conducted a socio-economic impact analysis of COVID19 on the region and the results have shown that the pandemic will impact negatively across many socio and economic sectors.

“The decline in the global economy is projected to lead to a decline in commodity prices, increase in debt and significant contraction of the SADC economies in 2020. This will reverse the gains on industrial development and trade that the region has made in the last couple of years,” Lawrence Tax said.

On the flip side,  the region’s International Cooperating Partners have made pledges to mitigate the impact of COVID19 pandemic on its economy. 

“To date, the Secretariat has secured Euro 7.3 million from the German Government; Euro3.6million from European Union, Euro 190,000.00 under the GIZ/Africa Union Commission, whereas the African Development Bank (AfDB)  has considered a support UA 7 million. Engagements with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) are also at an advanced stage,” the Executive Secretary said.

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Guma Moyo returns

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*Controversial politician headed for BPF *BURS owes me P6 million and I am waiting for reimbursement- Moyo

Self-exiled former legislator, Guma Moyo, is reportedly headed back home from South Africa to rejoin local politics after applying for Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) membership.

The flamboyant businessman and former Member of Parliament for Tati-East has been missing in action after he left the country under a dark cloud of controversy claiming that he was fearing for his life.

It also turned out during his sojourn in South Africa that Moyo had also been under the taxman’s radar, with allegations of tax evasion further fueling the confusion over his decision to flee.

The outspoken politician fell off with his party, Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in a factional war that saw him lead a campaign that endorsed Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi against President Mokgweetsi Masisi for the party presidency.

Although he was expected to support Venson Moitoi, Moyo did not attend the Kang Congress leading to his dismissal from the party.

In an interview with The Voice this week, Moyo confirmed having applied for the BPF membership.

“I have applied for BPF membership. They are my friends and I think that’s where I am welcome.”

He dismissed allegations that he was joining BPF to challenge Biggie Butale for the party presidency.

“They have a leader and I am not joining to lead but to be part of the collective of the party. I believe in them.”

When asked how he was going to work with the party patron, former President Ian Khama, who he didn’t have a good working relationship during his tenure as President, Moyo said, “My relationship with Khama is unquestionable, politics or no politics we are inseparable…Yes we had differences at some point but he apologised for having been misled by some government officials to take decisions that he took and I accepted the apology. That chapter is closed. ” he added.

In May 2015, Moyo says he had the shock of his life when he learnt from one of the banks that they had been instructed to freeze his accounts on graft allegations.

Investigators in the matter questioned the over P25 million which was paid into Moyo’s business account and they suspected that the invoices that Moyo produced had been fabricated.

Before that, the then President Khama hasd launched a scathing attack on Moyo, saying he did not have the interests of the electorates at heart after he was dropped from cabinet.

He said Moyo was only looking for power and self enrichment.

Moyo mentioned that despite having been fired by the BDP, he was grateful to the party for making him what he is today. “I have accepted the move and will not go back.”

BPF Secretary General, Roseline Panzirah Matshome confirmed having received Moyo’s application.

Meanwhile, Moyo has made shocking remarks that Botswana Unified Revenue Service owes him P6 million after he was initially alleged to be owing the tax collector.

The politician who is on self imposed exile in South Africa, says he is waiting for BURS to reimburse him.

“My accounts were frozen and after an audit was done it transpired that it was actually them that owed me, they must refund me,” he said and added: “Let’s not discuss it further because it is politics and it will catch up with them.”

However the BURS General Manager of Communications, Mable Bolele declined to comment on the allegations.

“We are unable to assist you since we do not discuss individual taxpayer issues with the third party as guided by Income Tax Act, Secrecy- under Section 5 Sub-section 1.”

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