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Breaking barriers

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*Young UDC Councillor makes history in Marapong

The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) suffered a crushing defeat in the just ended general elections. 

While the coalition movement licks its wounds and comes to terms with its disappointment- including UDC leader, Duma Boko losing his parliamentary seat – there are, however, some notable success stories to lift the blues.

One such triumph is Marapong ward’s new councillor, 26-year-old Gofaone Mabutho.

It is the first time since Independence that an opposition councillor has triumphed in the village, located in Shashe West constituency some 70km north of Francistown.

Mabutho secured victory by an impressive margin of 150 votes, garnering 675 votes while Botswana Democratic Party and Alliance for Progressivesmanaged 525 and 480 respectively.

Speaking to The Voice on Monday, five days after her historic feat, Mabutho appeared calm and composed.

She revealed her political journey started in 2014 as part of MothaleemangMoalosi’s campaign team – a campaign that was doomed to failure.

“Moalsois was contesting the constituency under the Botswana Congress Party ticket. In the same year I was Secretary General (SG) of team ‘Tshelathupa’ and we successfully helped TumisoRakgare to win the BCP Youth League elections.” 

Following BCP’s dismal performance in the 2014 general elections, Mabutho focused her energies on building structures for the party as the SG for Francistown South, also doubling as the BCPYL Treasurer.

Her political path took an unexpected turn at the start of 2019.

“Early this year BCP members approached me and asked my to stand in Marobela. It was not an easy decision because some in the Francistown South constituency had hoped I’d stay and maybe stand in 2024,” explainedMabutho.

“In the end I decided to stand in my home village and help build the party there – and,as they say, the rest is history!” grinnedMabutho, glancing apologetically at her phone for the umpteenth time. 

The young woman’s cellphone has been blurring non-stop since the start of the interview as people from all walks of life called to congratulate her.

“It is a sweet victory made even more special by the fact that it’s history made by a woman!” she added proudly.Looking to the future, Mabutho said she intends to ‘hit the ground running’ in addressing the challenges faced by her constituents.

“The first challenge is lack of water. The situation in Marapong needs urgent attention. People have suffered for far too long and no one has come up with solutions. I’ll be the voice that will remind the current government of the plight of our people,” she declared, her hunger to bring about change reflected in her clenched fists.

Mabutho noted that her ward includes a number of remote areas, including Mmapatse, Mosu and Shoorojena cattle posts, whose residents all use the small clinic in Marapong.

“The clinic doesn’t have a maternity ward, and mothers in labour have to travel as far as Francistown or Tutume to deliver. This is unacceptable because Marapong is such a big ward deserving of a better health facility,” charged Mabutho, displaying the fire and passion that saw her make history.

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Magosi wants me to lie about Isaac Kgosi- Butterfly

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Troubled Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) agent Wilheminah Mphoeng Maswabi this week revealed damning allegations against her boss, Peter Magosi as she continues to fight for her freedom in her ongoing espionage case.

Maswabi, codenamed ‘Butterfly’, who is currently in state custody said in her affidavit that Magosi has been pestering her to lie about Kgosi in exchange for her freedom.

“On the day I was arraigned, 18 October 2019, and on several occasions before Peter Magosi who is the DG of the DIS repeatedly asked me questions about Mr Kgosi’s previous dealings at the DIS and said if I told him the truth and assist in discovering Mr Kgosi’s criminal wrong doing he will protect me,” her affidavit reads in part.

Maswabi further claims; “I have consistently told Mr Magosi that I am not aware of any of Mr Kgosi’s criminal activities or wrong doings. He went on to say that if I told him the truth regarding Mr Kgosi’s criminal activities he will be able to save me within 14 days, if I don’t he won’t be able to and I will lanquish in jail.”

“I therefore regard my remand as an attempt to break me in order to provide damning evidence against Mr Kgosi, which evidence I do not have. I am not about to start lying as requested by Mr Magosi,” Maswabi further says..

Through her lawyers, Maswabi- codenamed ‘Butterfly’ has filed an urgent bail application which is expected to be heard early next week before Justice Michael Mothobi of the Gaborone High Court.

This time around the defence is adamant that they have sufficient evidence to convince the court to grant Butterfly bail.

She was recently denied bail by High Court Judge, Christopher Gabanagae .

In the fresh court application, Maswabi says “I was denied bail on the basis of evidence presented by the state, which has since turned out to be false and fabricated. The companies in South Africa that I am alleged to be involved with do not exist.”

Maswabi further says “the bank accounts in the South African banks said to be holding staggering amounts of money which I am alleged to be a signatory of do not exist. My attorneys of record and in particular Mr Uyapo Ndadi has at my instance, investigated the genuineness of the allegations made by the state in the affidavit deposed by Jako Hubona in opposing my bail application before justice Gabanagae and it has turned out that the allegations were deliberately fabricated.”

“In short justice Gabanagae denied me bail relying on false evidence manufactured by the state, which evidence is malicious and defamatory.”
“To set the record straight I submit that I do not have any offshore accounts in my name. I do not have the sum of USD 33 00 000,00. Neither do I have financial interest in any company or person with an offshore account,” Maswabi states in her fresh affidavit.

She further denies having a love relation with her former spy boss, Isaac Kgosi. “I wish to state that I have never been romantically involved with Mr. Kgosi and the allegation that I shared a room with him while on an official work trip is a lie aimed at satisfying a malicious and false narrative.”

The Voice is also in possession of an affidavit made by the Managing Director of ABSA bank is south Africa, one Winston Monale, dated 11 November 2019, in which Monale says: “ ABSA has no record of any account with designated number *.it does not appear to be an Absa generated document.”

We are also in possession of an affidavit made by former President, Ian Khama, in which he claims he has never instructed Bank of Botswana on June 9 2008 or on any other date to open any special unit account.

“I expect that in any banking environment or in any financial institution instruction of the nature alleged by Hubona must be recorded for, among many reasons, audit evidence. It would therefore be very easy for the state to obtain evidence of such instruction and disclose it to the court. The reason the state is unable to adduce such evidence is because the allegation that I instructed bank of Botswana to open special unit accounts is completely false,” Khama says in court papers.

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The ‘Butterfly’ effect.

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Disgraced former Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) agent, Wilheminah Mphoeng Maswabi, codenamed ‘Butterfly’, appeared briefly under heavily armed police escort at Broadhurst Magistrates Court today (Thursday).
Curious onlookers filled the court premises as they scrambled to take a glimpse of the woman whose popularity sharply rose in recent weeks when she was arraigned before court with espionage charges and evidence which included a whopping US$390 million in her personal bank accounts.
Her mother, family members and other relatives were spotted in court where they had gone to offer her moral support when she briefly appeared for mention this week. She will be back in court on November 27th.  

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Jealous man butchers ‘love-rival’, hangs girlfriend, kills himself

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A white tent pitched in a family’s small, immaculately swept backyard rustles in the strong wind.

Five men sat hunched under the shaking shelter, brought together by a terrible tragedy.

Four days earlier (Thursday 24 October), their daughter, 22-year-old GaoneNgake was brutally murdered by her jealous boyfriend at Mphane farm on the outskirts of Borolong.

Ngake, the mother of a 20-month-old albino daughter, was beaten to within an inch of her life. Terrified but helpless, she did not have the strength to resist when her lover of just two months, Kgopolo Matsela, 31, tied a wire around her neck.

He forced her to climb a stepladder and hanged her from the roof of the room they shared.

Satisfied that Ngake was dead, Matsela then hanged himself.

KILLER: Kgopolo

It was the third and final life he took that day.

Meters away, in an adjacent bedroom within the farmhouse where the couple worked, lies the dead body of 25-year-old Oaitse Bugalo Morotsi.

The young farm hand, a distant cousin to Matsela, was tortured and killed by his older relative, hacked with a pickaxe and repeatedly beaten with an iron rod.

It appears Matsela’s deadly rage, fuelled by alcohol, was sparked by his paranoia that Morotsi and Ngake were sleeping together.

Attempting to make sense of the devastation, Ngake’s aunt, Toy Fulukani revealed a fight ensued on Wednesday night when her niece and Matsela returned home from a bar.

“The neighbours heard the quarrel. The following day our daughter was found hanging with a bruised left cheek like she was beaten with a hammer,” narrated Fulukani, sat huddled under the white tent as her family listen intently on.

NARRATING: Ngake’s aunt, Fulukani

“The crime scene was horrible. Gaone’s braids were all over the place, which shows they were removed when she fought for her life. My niece was a kind, respectful and quiet girl. She loved her daughter very much,” she continued, gesturing sadly at the toddler sat shyly on an elder’s lap.

Deeper in the village, less than 500m from the crime scene, and another white tent provides shade to a mourning family.

Their grief is mixed with shame and horror.

The dead killer’s mum, Gaborone Matselawas at a loss to explain her son’s actions.

“He was a quiet person, who kept to himself. You could never imagine he was capable of such evil. What happened is very painful,” said Gaborone, sniffing backtears as The Voice left the tormented lady to grieve in peace.

The family then summon a nervous-looking youth, 22-year-old TumeloKetshabile.

A close friend of Matsela’s, Ketshabilegives a startling insight into what transpired on the fateful day.

“Kgopolo (Matsela) called me in the morning to pump his engine. When I arrived, I found Bugalo (Morotsi) badly hurt. He could not sit up. His waist was broken and his neck bent.

STUNNED: Ketshabile found the dead bodies

“He could hardly move and weakly asked me for a glass of water. I got it for him but it failed to pass his throat. Gaone was sitting there with a bruised face. I took the engine and left,” narratedKetshabile, adding he did not think the situation was serious enough to warrant calling the police.

It is a decision that will haunt the young man forever.

“I went back to the farm at around 12 to return the engine. There were some kids playing in the yard and they said Kgopolo told them I should come back later because the boss was there.

“About four hours later I instructed the kids to go and check if the boss was still there. They came back screaming that they found people hanging,” whispered Ketshabile.

“Gaone and Kgopolo were hanging beside each other in the house in the room they shared. There was a stepladder next to them, I think he used it to makeGaone climb.

“I rushed to Babusi’s room where I found his body next to a pickaxe, pieces of planks and iron rods which Kgopolo must have used to kill him,” ended Ketshabile, his face pale with regret as he addsMatsela recently revealed his suspicion that Morotsi was in love with his girlfriend.

A short distance away isMorotsi’s family home.

There is no white tent here. Instead, mourners are gathered in the shade of an overgrown Mopane tree.

The murdered man’s father, Clement Julias has the same lost look in his eye as Matsela’s mum and Ngake’s aunt.

“I was called to the farm only to find my son dead. I feel so much pain and there is nothing I can do. I cannot put the blame on anyone because the people who know what happened are dead!” exclaimed Julias.

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