The interim leader of newly formed political party, Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF), Biggie Butale has made revelations that they are aware of a conspiracy by the ruling party to collude with Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to tamper with the voters roll in order to influence the 2019 general elections outcome.
Butale who left the ruling party amid protracted acrimonious relationship with Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) leader Mokgweetsi Masisi, said they can authoritatively reveal that such plans have been put in place by the ruling party because of their fear of losing elections. “We have credible intelligence, that some people have been approached at the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to fiddle with the electoral roll especially during the transfers’ period. For now I do not know which constituencies are being targeted; and how many people are going to be moved around,” Butale told WeekendPost on Thursday.
“You all know that a senior BDP official did register people with IEC in their absence. He was sending the people’s names and ID numbers and people were registered in their absence.” Butale said if there is already a case which point out that BDP officials interfered with the IEC registration, nobody should have confidence that the 2019 general elections will be free and fair. “We are watching and we will not accept any kind of rigging. We know what they are up to. We hope they will not alter the voters roll in any way that will be prejudicial to any political party. We will not accept that,” said Butale.
RELATIONSHIP WITH THE MOTSEPES
The have been reports that the newly formed BPF is being backed financially by rich individuals such as South African billionaire, Patrice Motsepe. Motsepe, who is close to the Khama family has however denied his involvement in Botswana politics after being accused of interfering with Botswana’s politics with the intention of effecting regime changed.
“For now they [Motsepes] are not funding us. But I always see people implying that if they did fund us, it is illegal or it is immoral. We will source funds everywhere,” said Butale. “Talking about political funding, a lot of business in Gaborone are being intimidated so that they do not fund us. But we will source funding from wherever. It does not mean this will strangle us.”
GUMA WILL JOIN THE PARTY
The Tati West legislator also revealed to this publication that the self-exiled Tati East legislator, Samson Moyo Guma will join the BPF in near future. “Guma Moyo is still with us, though he has not communicated when he is going to be back in the country,” assured Butale. Guma fled the country in March this year, alleging that he had been tipped by security sources that his life was in danger. He has reportedly been staying in South Africa. The outspoken legislator is believed to have been working behind the scenes in ensuring that the party found its feet.
BPF, just like any other political formation has the responsibility of revealing to potential voters what they stand for. Although BPF split from BDP, Butale believes ideologically, the party differs with the ruling party. “We stand for social justice. We believe in equal opportunities for all citizens. Equal opportunities in terms of distribution of wealth.”
MASISI LEADERSHIP SPLIT THE BDP
The former junior minister in both President Lt Gen Ian Khama administration and Masisi’s, believes the latter acted in a manner that led to the split of the ruling party. Butale said Masisi failed to ensure fairness and acted in a manner that promoted favouritism, corruption and regionalism.
“If Masisi had fought corruption genuinely, without amassing farms and other properties for himself overnight ever since he became president. If he had made appointment to senior positions on merit; not on where somebody comes from; if he had not been appointing old people to ambassadorial positions. If he had been running the party effectively. If he was not supporting gays, if he was not removing Religious Education from the syllabus, they would have been no need to form a new party,” said Butale.
“A lot of things happened. We have been thrown into a chaotic dispensation by the current president. I think he [Masisi] is grossly incompetent, and he must go, as soon as yesterday.” Butale who lost Tati West in the party primary elections believes BDP voters roll was fiddled with in the run-up to the elections, and that those who were targeted were made to lose elections.
He noted that when Tsholetsa House postponed elections amid reports of meddling with the voters roll, the conspirators used that opportunity to tamper with the voters roll, therefore interfering with the outcome of elections in various constituencies. Butale lost his constituency to Simon Mavange, the party Youth Wing leader believed to be Masisi’s favourite.
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.
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.
Gabane-Mmankgodi Member of Parliament Kagiso Mmusi, who is also the Minister of Justice looks set to retain his place as ruling party, Botswana democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary candidate for the constituency after his team triumphed at the party’s branch congress held recently.
Mmusi’s team, as expected sailed through by claiming all executive positions of chairperson, secretary, treasurer, vice chairman, and vice treasurer.
Despite reports doing rounds that Mmusi’s team was defeated, the victorious chairperson of the Women Wing branch, Pinkie Mmusi confirmed that they stand with the area Member of Parliament.
For the position of branch chairperson, Baby Chalengwa defeated Tshepo Thobega with 51 votes to 44 votes. On the other hand the branch chairperson, Chalegwa also confirmed their solidarity with the area Member of Parliament.
The anti-Mmusi’s camp has been working hard to prepare for his dethronement in the run-up to the 2024 general election, but it appears the Minister of Justice is holding his ground and will be a tough opponent to dispose at the party primary elections.
Since Minister Mmusi’s name is regularly linked with the Vice Presidency for the future, some within the party use this against him to label him as a power hungry politician. However, Mmusi’s supporters have pointed out that the MP has never spoken on the subject and is only focused on delivering as a legislator and Minister.