Friday, February 19, 2010

Louis Nchindo-R.I.P.

I hesitate to write this post but I feel many people who read my blog don't live in Botswana and don't know what is occupying our daily conversations as of late. In Botswana we've been dropped into the middle of a real-life novel; one with twists and turns and intrigues of the most devious kind.

Louis Nchindo was the managing director of Debswana, the 50-50 partnership between diamond giant DeBeers and the government of Botswana. Nchindo was to face 36 charges of corruption in a case set to begin in April. Many of the charges stemmed from the time he was the head of Debswana while others involve a land deal; the land deal mishaps also have his son's name on the charge sheet. A few weeks ago, it came out in the press that our second president, President Masire, received loans from Debeers while Nchindo was at the helm and that the ruling party, Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) had also received money from the diamond miners.

Shortly after this our third president, President Mogae, went public with revelations that Nchindo threatened to reveal secrets about him, including details about his girlfriend, if the corruption charges were not dropped. President Mogae did not report this alleged attempt at blackmailing to the police but apparently told Nchindo that no charges would be dropped.

Last week everything came to the dramatic climax when Nchindo's family reported him missing. By Thursday morning rumours were being passed through cellphones and on the internet that Nchindo was found dead in the bush, his body half eaten by animals. Even on Friday, police in the country refused to admit that Nchindo was dead though international sources were reporting that fact. In the end, the facts were Nchindo was found in the bush dead. His body eaten by animals, only his torso intact. Quick-quick the body was apparently identified by forensic scientists to be Nchindo's, and he was cremated.

Here are the three obvious options:
1. He could take no more and committed suicide.
Unlikely given his abundant resources and legendary arrogance.
2. Someone killed him.
He had a lot of information on a lot of powerful people and a court case could get very messy.
3. The dead person is not Nchindo and Nchindo has skipped the country.
At least in the Facebook groups and conversations I've been part of this is the most widely held belief among Batswana.

So that's where we are. But, too, this is Botswana. What do I think? In a few weeks people will forget all about it and the case will disappear. Budding Batswana novelists should take notes; I see a blockbuster in the making.


bonita said...

mmmm script for one of the CSI 'grams in the making. Ohhh the intrigue, the twists, the seemyness.

You know in some way it shows that Botswana is catching up with the rest of the world's politicians and wheeler dealers.

Oh and I pick door #3.

Elspeth Futcher said...

I go with option #3. Truth is stranger than fiction...

Maxine said...

Whoa! Lauri, get writing I say. The way you summarise it is intriguing. Novel first, then the blockbuster screenplay.

Lauri said...

Maxine- the real life story is still playing out but we'll see....

Bonita- I think you may be right. Our shine is certianly wearing off.

Anonymous said...

Where is Mma Ramotswe when you need her??

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Unknown said...

I go with no.3