The 2 Infantry Brigade Commander in Francistown, Brigadier Olekane Mabengane, has retired from active service after over 30 years in the army.
While BDF protocol officers maintain that the commander leaves under cordial circumstances, information reaching The Sunday Standard indicates that the commander was pushed. Reliable sources have revealed that while Brigadier Mabengane thought that he still had two more years to go before reaching retirement age, he was surprised when his superiors informed him last week that it was time for him to lay down his rifle.
The army officers who spoke on condition of anonymity said that Mabengane was surprised to find a letter from his superiors on his desk on Monday informing him that he had reached retirement age and was, therefore, expected to have vacated his office by Friday this week. The sources also revealed that the commander then hastily contacted his superiors to inform them that he could not have reached his retirement age as his Omang indicated that he is 53 years old. However, BDF records indicate that Mabengane had reached his retirement age of 55, and his superiors refused to budge, instructing him to have vacated his office by Friday.
On Friday, after incessant requests for information by Sunday Standard reporters, BDF protocol officers dispatched a memo signed by Brigadier Mabengane, dated 28 February, indicating that the commander “will be retiring from active service on the 3rd of March 2008 after 31 years 8 months and 22 days”. In the memo Mabengane goes on to pass his sincere gratitude for the support bestowed upon him during the period of his command. Information reaching The Sunday Standard also indicates that Mabengane’s replacement, a Brigadier Motsumi, has already taken up the reigns and by Friday he was already holding staff meetings.
Meanwhile, a colonel has been appointed to Motsumi’s place in the interim. Mabengane was not available for comment and BDF protocol officers refused to comment on the matter.