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Khama/Masisi dispute “needs” a Presidential Museum

The ongoing feud between the former President Ian Khama and incumbent President Mokgweetsi Masisi needs a presidential museum for documentation to act as a reference point for the future and to see who went off the rails.

This was revealed by members of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi this week in Gaborone during their just ended 3rd session of the14th meeting of the House. When presenting the motion, which eventually was passed, specially elected member of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi, Kgosi Thabo Maruje III of Masunga said that the dispute between Khama and Masisi is largely owing to the deficit of a presidential museum which should define dialogue.

“A presidential museum will define dialogue. Currently there is a hot dialogue in which people have divergent views (between Masisi and Khama). This is largely because we have a deficiency of a process where anytime we can declassify material which is outdated,” Kgosi Maruje observed. To add onto Kgosi Maruje’s sentiment, Tswapong Region's Kgosi Galeakanye Modise said the presidential museum is essential and surely could be providing an answer to the current disagreement between Khama and Masisi.

“But if there is a process that is well packaged, even the dispute between Masisi and Khama that is happening now, that presidential museum could provide an answer,” Kgosi Modise pointed out while stressing that “it could provide clear references for the dispute.” According to Kgosi Maruje, if this nation can undergo through such a crisis, the nation will hold dikgosi accountable in terms of where they were during such current crisis like that of Masisi and Khama.

Kgosi Maruje’s motion read “that this honourable house requests government to set up a presidential museum which will not only house all matters that have been declassified but also be used as a depository for very important moments in the life of a president, and the decisions they made which will boost researchers, media and the nation at large.”

The nature of the Botswana presidential museum

Kgosi Maruje III of Masunga emphasized during the tabling of the motion that he came up with this motion because Botswana is growing, and so what can do to document every error by every president. “We have to start now as the number of president is evidently increasing. This means that for us not to lose history, time has come for us to erect a very big infrastructure, of a presidential museum which I envision it to be a combination of an integrated facility that will include tourism, research, restaurants, and all the things you can imagine,” he stated.

Maruje said he was looking at the history of Botswana, as Botswana is changing it must have a cardinal point, to show how Botswana is changing, and how the events are linking up. He added that: “repositories of papers, historical moments, irreplaceable items, that the president receives as certain gifts, that are very profound, that even when he dies, relatives doesn’t want to do with these things. They can be taken to the museum to be national monuments. Or the government can pay the families so that he can custody of those crucial items.”

Starting with the founding father Sir Seretse Khama; in terms of those who saw him, lived with him, will tell us how he was; those who knew him and have written about him, from the time of Frontline States to the setting of Organisations of African Union (OAU). He added: “even the time of his controversial marriage with an English woman Ruth Williams against his uncles like Tshekedi Khama can be documented in the museum as well as how he, together with Sir Ketumile Masire, started the multi-party democracy in Botswana.”

The specially elected Kgosi also said the Museum will be also like a library in that, the museum will put together the lives of all Botswana presidents; from the 1st President Khama, 2nd Sir Ketumile Masire, and Festus Mogae who was the third, and Ian Khama the fourth as well as the current President Masisi.

According to Maruje, it also has to come out clear which ideologue is every president following, in running the affairs of the country, or his thinking or ideologues, in terms of is it exclusively his or he learned and probably borrowed it from a predecessor. “This things guide a country.” “The other thing is the culture. Culture we live in is dynamic but how are we using our history for the coming or future presidents to refer to? So that they don’t go off the rails in terms of the presidency? It means how a president has been running the country in terms of the relations, the law, the developments and so forth.”  

In addition Botswana is generally poor in keeping records. For example, Maruje asked how they are keeping the records on appointing dikgosi and where, and who are the custodians and are they easily accessible to everyone? Can someone pull a paper to provide evidence in many bogosi disputes that have engulfed this country? He asked rhetorically.

By this time, Maruje said he believes the presidency of Sir Seretse Khama and Sir Ketumile Masire, and the presidency to some part of Festus Mogae, there could be some things that could have been declassified at this point to distinguish between the presidents.
According to Kgosi Maruje, Botswana has historical facts that can be packaged and sold as an intervention of leadership somewhere else.

“We will tell other countries that, this is the package of leadership over the years. Through the medium, we will know who was advising either of the presidents; to see how he was taking his decisions; what was happening; what were their challenges and low moments; when was he happy and under what circumstance; how did all these influence the decisions he takes concerning the affairs of the country and so forth.”

The Specially Elected Kgosi said Botswana today has the 5th president being Mokgweetsi Masisi and this is a blessing indeed because in other countries they have known only one president for decades and others undergoing coup de tat. “If you look at the history of the US, who are on their 45th president, if you look at how their presidencies are well documented, and meaning behind every presidential detail, and even every error committed by every one of them – it’s so beautiful,” he said.

Maruje reminisced about a very profound one president of America: the journey he took leading him to the presidency of US. “Many failures that he encountered for many years. He failed at many things but he never gave up, until that one moment in which he tried again and ultimately became the president. That person is Abraham Lincoln, the 16th US president. You see these it is through such records that are there that guides a nation.” The other thing, Maruje said it is leadership experience of a leader being a leader; how does it guide. We need to go back to leadership experience to see in the event of a crisis, who the president consults, and when, he concluded.

Botswana presidents can be a reference point in good governance

Meanwhile Kgosi Galeakanye Modise of Tswapong region who supports the motion said he believes Botswana if unchecked stands a chance to lose the national historical moments. “We can even guide Africa. So that when they have problems they can refer to Botswana. In terms of good governance and democracy benchmarking they can go to Botswana. You will find a package there, through the presidential museum for all that,” he said.

Kgosi Modise also added that he remembers somewhere students arguing about a presidential/national issue in which they had nowhere to refer to so as to settle their disagreement. When Mogae received the Mo Ibrahim award he didn’t know where to put it because there is no presidential museum for such honours on a president, he said.  

Museum will reveal which president derails from the foundation in which the country was built on

Supporting the motion, Kgosi Tshipe Tshipe of Mahalapye region added that the presidential museum will define clearly the ideologies of all the presidents. “My believe is that they will unearth where Botswana comes from starting with Sir Seretse where democracy will be revealed in light of the fact that it was built from a traditional Tswana kgotla system which truly defines the true essence of Batswana,” he highlighted.

So this documentation, he observed that could assist the researchers and everyone to point out when a president derails from the foundation in which the country was built on. “In terms of which president derailed. Those who come after the current ones, could therefore use the road map to bring the country to rails, of which it was known for. I also like the advisors to the president part, which is very important. We need to know which advisors helped the president at every move. When we derailed who helped to bring the country back.”  

According to Tshipe, history of US shows that during the height of Civil rights activism by Martin Luther King Jr., it took a long time for the US to see a black president thereafter. “But when Barack Obama took power as US president, and when you pay closer attention to what he said, he could see that he adopted Luther’s ideologue. Luther guided Obama. What Luther fought for, to see justice to the blacks, was evident in Obama and what he also frequently spoke of,” he said.

In her answer to the motion, Assistant Minister of local Government and Rural Development Botlogile Tshireletso said the concept of a presidential museum is an accepted norm and standard in the world. In principle, she said “as government we agree with the motion and its intent but the motion’s intent is also covered by the Botswana National Archives and Records Services Act.” He however added that he will also take into consideration issues raised by Kgosi Masunga and seconders of his motion so that the Minister can act and see to it that if there is need for amendments of the Act, to consider their views as there are important.

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Jackdish Shah loses interest in BDP

17th May 2022
Jackdish

As the preparations for the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) congress are about to kick off, reports on the ground suggest that the party’s Deputy Treasurer Jackdish Shah will not defend the position in August as he contemplates relocation.

According to sources, the businessman who joined the BDP Central Committee in 2015 at the 36th Congress held in Mmadinare is ready to leave the party’s politburo. It is said he long made up his mind not to defend the position last year. A prominent businessman, Shah, when he won the position to assist Satar Dada in 2015 was expected to improve the party’s financial vibrancy. By then the party was under the leadership of Ian Khama.

According to close sources, Shah long decided not to contest because he has fallen out of favour with the party leadership. It is said he took the decision after some prominent businessmen who are BDP members and part of football syndicate decided to push him out and they used their proximity to President Mokgweetsi Masisi to badmouth him hence the decision.

“The fight at the Botswana Football Association (BFA) and Botswana Football League (BFL) has left him alone in the desert and some faces there used their close access to the President to isolate him,” said a source. Media reports say, Shah does not see eye to eye with BFA President MacLean Letshwiti who is also Masisi’s buddy hence the decision.

BFL Chairman Nicholas Zackhem is said to be not in good terms with Shah, who at one point Chaired the then Botswana Premier League (BPL). “He is seriously considering quitting because of what is unfolding at the team (Township Rollers) which is slowly not making financial gains and might be relegated and he wants to sell while it is still worth the investment,” said a highly placed source.

Shah is a renowned businessman who runs internet providing company Zebra net, H &G, game farm in Kasane, cattle farm in Ghanzi region and lot of properties in Gaborone. He also has two hotels in USA, his advisors have given him thumbs up on the possible decision of relocating provided he does not sell some of the investments that are doing well.

Asked about whether he will be contesting Shah could not confirm nor deny the reports. It is said for now it is too early as a public decision will have to be taken after the national council meeting and prior to the national congress. “As a BDP Central Committee member he cannot make that announcement now,” a BDP source said.

BDP is expected to assemble for the National Council during the July holidays while the National Congress is billed for August. It is then that the party will elect a new CC members. The last time BDP held elective congress was at Kang in 2019. The party is yet to issue writ.

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Govt ignores own agreements to improve public service

17th May 2022
Govt

The government has failed to implement some commitments and agreements that it had entered into with unions to improve conditions of public servants.

Three years after the government and public made commitments aimed at improving conditions of work and services it has emerged that the government has ignored and failed to implement all commitments on conditions of service emanating from the 2019 round of negotiations.

In its position paper that saw public service salaries being increased by 5%, the government the government has also signalled its intention to renege on some of the commitments it had made.
“Government aspires to look into all outstanding issues contained in the Labour Agreement signed between the Employer and recognised Trade Union on the 27th August 2019 and that it be reviewed, revised and delinked by both Parties with a view to agree on those whose implementation that can be realistically executed during the financial years 2022/23, 2023/24 and 2024/25 respectively,” the government said.

Furthermore, in addition to reviewing, revising and de-linking of the outstanding issues contained in the Collective Labour Agreement alluded to above and taking on a progressive proposal, government desires to review revise, develop and implement human resource policies as listed below during the financial year 2022/23,2023/24,2024/25

They include selection and appointment policy, learning and development policy, transfer guidelines, conditions of service, permanent and pensionable, temporary and part time, Foreign Service, expatriate and disciplinary procedures.

In their proposal paper, the unions which had proposed an 11 percent salary increase but eventually settled for 5% percent indicated that the government has not, and without explanation, acted on some of the key commitments from the 2019/2020 and 2021/22 round of negotiations.  The essential elements of these commitments include among others the remuneration Policy for the Public Service.

The paper states that a Remuneration Policy will be developed to inform decision making on remuneration in the Public Service. It is envisaged that consultations between the government and relevant key stakeholders on the policy was to start on 1st September 2019, and the development of the policy should be concluded by 30th June 2020.

The public sector unions said the Remuneration Policy is yet to be developed. The Cooperating Unions suggested that the process should commence without delay and that it should be as participatory as it was originally conceived. Another agreement relate to Medical Aid Contribution for employees on salary Grades A and B.

The employer contribution towards medical aid for employees on salary Grades A and B will be increased from 50% to 80% for the Standard Option of the Botswana Public
“Officers’ Medical Aid Scheme effective 1st October 2019; the cooperating unions insist that, in fulfilling this commitment, there should be no discrimination between those on the high benefit and those on the medium benefit plan,” the unions proposal paper says.

Another agreement involves the standardisation of gratuities across the Public Service. “Gratuities for all employees on fixed term contracts of 12 months but not exceeding 5 years, including former Industrial class employees be standardized at 30% across the Public Service in order to remove the existing inequalities and secure long-term financial security for Public Service Employees at lower grades with immediate effect,” the paper states.

The other agreement signed by the public sector unions and the government was the development of fan-shaped Salary Structure. The paper says the Public Service will adopt a best practice fan-shaped and overlapping structure, with modification to suit the Botswana context. The Parties (government and unions) to this agreement will jointly agree on the ranges of salary grades to allow for employees’ progression without a promotion to the available position on the next management level.

“The fan-shaped structure is envisaged to be in place by 1st June 2020, to enable factoring into the budgetary cycle for the financial year 2021/22,” the unions’ proposal paper states. It says the following steps are critical, capacity building of key stakeholders (September – December 2019), commission remuneration market survey (3 months from September to November 2019), design of the fan-shaped structure (2 to 3 months from January to March2020) and consultations with all key stakeholders (March to April 2020).

The unions and government had also signed an agreement on performance management and development: A rigorous performance management and reward system based on a 5-point rating system will be adopted as an integral part of the operationalization of the new Remuneration System.

Performance Management and Development (PMD) will be used to reward workers based on performance. The review of the Performance Management System was to be undertaken in order to close the gaps identified by PEMANDU and other previous reports on PMS between 1st September 2019 and 30th June 2020 as follows; internal process to update and revise the current Performance Management System by January 2020.

A job evaluation exercise in the Public Service will also be undertaken to among others establish internal equity, and will also cover the grading of all supervisory positions within the Public Service.
Another agreement included overtime Management. The Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) was to facilitate the conclusion of consultations on management of overtime, including consideration of the Overtime Management Task Team’s report on the same by 30th November 2019.

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Health Expert rejects ‘death rates’ links to low population growth

17th May 2022
Health-Expert

A public health expert, Dr Edward Maganu who is also the former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health has said that unlike many who are expressing shock at the population census growth decline results, he is not, because the 2022 results represents his expectations.

He rushed to dismiss the position by Statistics Botswana in which thy partly attributes the low growth rates to mortality rates for the past ten years. “I don’t think there is any undercounting. I also don’t think death rates have much to do with it since the excessive deaths from HIV/AIDS have been controlled by ARVs and our life expectancy isn’t lower than it was in the 1990s,” he said in an interview with this publication post the release of the results.

Preliminary results released by Statistics Botswana this week indicated that Botswana’s population is now estimated to be 2,346,179 – a figure that the state owned data agency expressed worry over saying it’s below their projected growth. The general decline in the population growth rate is attributed to ‘fertility’ and ‘mortality’ rates that the country registered on the past ten years since the last census in 2011.

Maganu explained that with an enlightened or educated society and the country’s total fertility rate, there was no way the country’s population census was going to match the previous growth rates.
“The results of the census make sense and is exactly what I expected. Our Total Fertility Rate ( the average number of children born to a woman) is now around 2.

This is what happens as society develops and educates its women. The enlightened women don’t want to bear many children, they want to work and earn a living, have free time, and give their few children good care. So, there is no under- counting. Census procedures are standard so that results are comparable between countries.

That is why the UN is involved through UNFPA, the UN Agency responsible for population matters,” said Maganu who is also the former adviser to the World Health Organisation. Maganu ruled out undercounting concerns, “I see a lot of Batswana are worried about the census results. Above is what I have always stated.”

Given the disadvantages that accompany low population for countries, some have suggested that perhaps a time has come for the government to consider population growth policies or incentives, suggestions Maganu deems ineffective.

“It has never worked anywhere. The number of children born to a woman are a very private decision of the woman and the husband in an enlightened society. And as I indicated, the more the women of a society get educated, the higher the tendency to have fewer children. All developed countries have a problem of zero population growth or even negative growth.

The replacement level is regarded as 2 children per woman; once the fertility level falls below that, then the population stops growing. That’s why developed countries are depending so much on immigration,” he said.

According to him, a lot of developing countries that are educating their women are heading there, including ourselves-Botswana. “Countries that have had a policy of encouraging women to have more children have failed dismally. A good example is some countries of Eastern Europe (Romania is a good example) that wanted to grow their populations by rewarding women who had more children. It didn’t work. The number of children is a very private matter,” said Maganu

For those who may be worried about the impact of problems associated with low growth rate, Maganu said: “The challenge is to develop society so that it can take care of its dependency ratio, the children and the aged. In developed countries the ratio of people over 60 years is now more than 20%, ours is still less than 10%.”

The preliminary results show that Mogoditshane with (88,098) is now the biggest village in the country with Maun coming second (85,293) and Molepolole at third position with 74,719. Population growth is associated with many economic advantages because more people leads to greater human capital, higher economic growth, economies of scale, the efficiency of higher population density and the improved demographic structure of society, among many others.

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