All the 174 Central District Council (CDC) councilors have unanimously agreed to seek audience with both President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi and Minister of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) France Van der Westhuizen over unconsidered salaries and allowances proposal that were implemented early this year.
The councilors argue that in the commission appointed by President Masisi mandated to review salaries of senior government officials and politicians, their proposals were never given consideration. In fact it said they were promised that government will implement their demands between May and June this year. However, to this date, government has not lived up to its promise hence the decision to face Masisi and minister to understand what is delaying implementation of their recommendations.
Already the councilors have agreed on June 25th as date to convene an all-party caucus with a view of compiling their grievances to be communicated to the Minister before meeting Masisi. The councilors have already elected a five men delegation headed by council Chairman Peter Williams that would discharge what councilors recommended to the government. The councilors’ grievances are that they proposed that they be given 75 percent of what the MPs get but they were surprised to learn that nothing they prescribed has been considered.
“The agreement was we get 75 percent of everything MPs get but it appears our suggestions were never deliberated on by the commission or the president hence it remain the same if not worsened. A Ward allowance is the only thing that has been improved because at first it was P4000 but now it’s P4800,” said one council member.
According to councilors their subsistence allowance (night-out) which was P217.33 has been reduced to become only P217.00 and this irk them as they expected something better. “Sitting allowance is another thing that improved but not anywhere near the suggested 75% of what the MPs get. It was from P217.33 and now it is P250,” added the councilor who preferred to be masked. The CDC chairman Williams, a source says, he tried to lobby other councils but all declined to join the crusade.
“We have tried to mobilise other councils but they were not interested and if they do so there is nothing we can do but continue with the struggle because at the end of the day it is us who suffers,” added the source on Thursday afternoon. The councilors lament that there is no one representing their interest in parliament despite having a platform to advance councilors complaints as some of them were once councilors.
“These people should understand that we are on the ground when something happens we are expected to help the community but how can we do so with a low budget. Again our dignity is at stake here and people judge you with your pocket hence we say government should really look into this matter,” said a councilor in one of the central district ward.
On the other hand MPs are smiling all the way to the bank as they got 4 percent salary hike and as well as another 11 percent increase resulting from delinking members of the National Assembly from the public service structure. Again MPs’ constituency allowance has been increased by 50 percent while fixed allowances communication and hospitality allowances by 10 percent. Sitting allowance has been increased to P450.00 per day.
The Commission was mandated to inquire into salaries, Conditions of Service and Other Entitlement of the President, Vice President, the Speaker, Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Speaker, Assistant Ministers, Leader of Opposition, Members of Parliament, the Chief Justice, President of the Court of Appeal, Justices of Appeal, Judges of the High Court, Chairman of Ntlo ya Dikgosi, Members of Ntlo ya Dikgosi, Chairpersons of District Councils, Mayors, their Deputies, Chairpersons of Sub-Councils and their Deputies and Councilors. The president also appointed three Secretaries to the Commission; Tebogo Tomango, Lesedi Gaolaolwe, as well as Olesitse Masimega, who was the Head of the Secretaries to the Commission.
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.