Connect with us
Advertisement

Serowe MP’s walking on a tight rope

Two Serowe legislators, Kgotla Autlwetse (Serowe North) and Lesedi Phuthego (Serowe South) are skating on thin ice in their parliamentary race for the incoming 2019 General Elections. The two areas, together with Serowe West under Tshekedi Khama are the heartland of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in the Central District.

Both Tshekedi Khama and Botswana’s fourth president Ian Khama are sons to the BDP’s founding and foremost leader Sir Seretse Khama. The Khama’s emerge from Serowe village while both Sir Seretse and Ian were successive paramount chiefs in the Bangwato area. The incumbent paramount chief, Khama last week officially quit the party after long differences with the current party and country President Mokgweetsi Masisi.

Upon resigning from the party at his second meeting with his subjects at Serowe Showgrounds, the Bangwato chief implored the tribesmen – in what he described as a BDP stronghold area – to also jump ship. Both of the three Serowe BDP candidates were not on sight at the two Khama meetings which he said were Bangwato tribe gatherings. A new party, Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) was formed and the ex-president insisted that he will support it together with other opposition political formations going forward.  

Speaking to Weekend Post this week on the matter, one Serowe North legislator Autlwetse disowned Khama saying he remains unshaken with the party, BDP. “I am a BDP member forever, dully elected in the 2014 General Elections, and also in the last year primary elections in which culminated in me being its candidate for the impending 2019 General Elections and I am unshaken,” he said. Autlwetse shot down the new party, BPF stating that “I don’t know that new party (BPF) and I have no association with it and I don’t even know what it stands for, as well as what it has in store for Serowe or the people of Batswana.”

According to Autlwetse, as such there is no reason for him to dump BDP for BPF and he stressed that it is not even a party for Bangwato as some want to portray or believe. When asked if Khama would not influence other tribesmen, all of which fall under his constituency to also dump the BDP and go for the new political home, or to other opposition parties, the Serowe North legislator said, to his remembrance, Khama did not seem to be suggesting that at the infamous gathering.

“As the party is not for Bangwato, Khama was speaking only his personal views and own position of leaving the BDP. He didn’t say to Bangwato that they should also leave their parties (BDP). That’s how I understood him.” He continued: however, the constitution of the country allows for any new political formation as is the right of association. Conversely, Autlwetse said “I do not think Khama was forcing Bangwato or anyone to join the BPF.”

The one time MP explained that some BDP members who were throwing away their BDP membership cards at the controversial meeting was also in no way linked to surrending their votes (away from BDP) at the polls. “We are not going to use those BDP cards at the polls, but rather that of IEC. So they are as useless,” he said. According to Autlwetse, so he doesn’t think it will hurt his fortunes in the coming elections.

He insisted to this publication: “I was elected by democrats (BDP) and they are the ones who will decide my fate” while adding that “Batswana and not only Bangwato tribe, will decide on the BDP.” In 2014 General Elections, Autlwetse on behalf of BDP, won Serowe North by a whopping wide margin of 9611 against Basego M. Motswakhumo of BCP who only got 576 while Ishmael Selebogo’s UDC pocketed 1067.

When speaking on Ramadeluka Seretse, who is contesting against him as an independent candidate, Autlwetse stressed that he is the only BDP candidate in the area. He added that “therefore anyone who contests riding on the notion that he is a BDP independent candidate will be dishonest and mischievous. BDP does not have an independent candidate.” Another Serowe probable law maker, Lesedi Phuthego, who succeeds Pelonomi Venson Moitoi at Serowe South, said he respects Khama but offers allegiance to only BDP the party and its leader President Masisi.

“BDP made me. The BDP members put me here to represent them. So, I will stand still with them. Only if the same democrats no longer want me they will say so through the polls. I am, still, counting on their support in 2019 elections,” Phuthego declared. Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, in 2014 General Elections,  representing the BDP also garnered a sounding victory of 7833 against Iphemeleng Kgokgothwane of Opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC)’s 1469 and Stephen Mpofu of BCP got 583 while Richard Goaletsa Bagwasi had 1359 as an independent.

The new contender, Phuthego observed that he respects Kgosi Khama as a father figure and paramount chief in Gammangwato territory and would have loved his support. “But he formed his party (BPF) and I have to respect his decision as he fully has that right,” he said. “I will stay here in BDP for as long as the party wants me here. I listen to them. If they mislead me it will also show at the polls.” According to Phuthego, Masisi is the party president and therefore he comes first in the party.

“If someone can say they are not with Masisi at this point, and that they are instead with Khama, then they are not BDP members at heart. It is high time every BDP member take a position.” He added “my campaign posters will even go with a picture of Masisi in Serowe South showing that indeed I stand with the party president and the party.” The Serowe South BDP candidate also emphasised that “every BDP member should be supporting Masisi as an incumbent leader. It doesn’t even mean we have anything against Khama. Khama is only my kgosikgolo and it ends there.”

Phuthego is also aware: “I know probably as a paramount chief, Khama will count for Bangwato or some in the party. It may affect me I know but I pray to the living God that it does not affect me to a larger extent.” Meanwhile, Tshekedi who makes the third of the BDP candidates in Serowe and surrounding villages, could not pick up calls as this publication persistently made several attempts to reach him on the matter.

Tshekedi representing BDP still in 2014 General Elections, was triumphed with a solid margin 5401 beating Edwin K. Seabe representing BCP with a paltry 431 and Rolent B Kambule only attained 948 on behalf of UDC. There is strong speculation that TK faces a serious dilemma on whether to go with his party, BDP and President Masisi or his brother and territory Chief, Khama.  

Continue Reading

News

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.

Continue Reading

News

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.

Continue Reading

News

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.

Continue Reading
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!