Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA), has this week emerged victorious in a case in which its former employee, Primrose Solomon was suing for unfair dismissal and praying for reinstatement or compensation.
When delivering the verdict on Tuesday this week, Industrial Court Judge, Isaac Bahuma resolved that Solomon’s dismissal was procedurally fair. “This case is about applicant’s claim for reinstatement and compensation based on her contention that the dismissal was unfair. The Court has made a finding that the respondent has proved on a balance of probabilities that applicant misconducted herself in handling the URB application,” reads the judgement. “The Court also found that the disciplinary process proceeding the applicant’s dismissal was fair. Consequently the applicant’s claim has to fail and Court so finds.”
Solomon, who was Portfolio Executive in Structured Finance Department at CEDA was dismissed from the organisation on the 26th of February 2018, owing to her handling of an application for short term finance by United Refineries Botswana (Pty) Ltd, a company co-owned by former Tati East Member of Parliament, Samson Guma.
The court heard that on the 14th of November 2017, James Moribame, who is Head of Structured Finance of which Solomon was under, received an application from URB (Pty) Ltd, for a short term facility of P9.2 million as well as restructuring of their interest in the non-performing loans.
The application was handed to Solomon for appraisal of which she raised red flags among others; URB had a credit facility of P30 million which they were failing to service; URB was trading at a gross loss, the cost of raw materials exceeded market price; URB had no audited accounts since inception; URB had violated its share agreement with CEDA by diluting the latter’s shares; URB was not tax compliant; URB was technically insolvent and was facing closure by FNBB (P25 million) and BDC (P15 837 868.62).
Despite the red flags, Moribame gave Solomon a go ahead to appraise the application with the view of recommending funding, but the latter could not do as requested within the stipulated time [5 days for short-term finance]. This resulted in Moribame, out of exasperation instructing Solomon to hand over the task to another colleague, Aobakwe Mokgethi who then delivered the task the same day.
After completion of appraisal of URB application, Mokgethi sent the appraisal to Management Committee for consideration. The document was copied to Solomon, who in turn sent an email detailing the red flags which were ‘ignored by her colleague’ during appraisal. The application however did not succeed because URB had reached CEDA threshold of P30 million and also that then Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Vincent Seretse refused to give a waiver.
On the 19th of December 2017, Moribame generated a report in which he accused Solomon of having promised on different occasions to submit the report, but failing to do so, resulting in him giving wrong information to management that the report was ready when it was not. The report resulted in Solomon being charged, subsequently appearing before the disciplinary hearing, which concluded on her dismissal on the 26 of February 2018.
Solomon, considered the dismissal unfair, and approached Industrial Court to seek relief. In seeking the relief, Solomon said the dismissal was not merely a result of how she handled the URB issue, but because of previous issues in which CEDA CEO had given her an ultimatum to either resign or face disciplinary action.
Solomon had accused Thamane of having acted negligently by failing to bring to the attention an application to management for consideration. Thamane, according to Solomon, was so incensed by the accusation, a justification which Solomon contended that it led to her expulsion and that the URB issue was the scapegoat.
The court however, arrived to the conclusion that there was no evidence to prove the link between what had happened earlier to the URB disciplinary action, which the court concluded it was fair and procedural, therefore upholding CEDA’s decision to dismiss Solomon from work. According to the evidence, given by CEDA Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Thabo Thamane, and other CEDA senior executives who were subpoenaed by the court, Solomon was dismissed for misconduct relating to handing of URB matter, of which the court agreed.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.