President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has finally found a relief from the threatening motion of no confidence against him after he approved the increment of Members of Parliament (MPs), a gesture which left them all in smiles this week.
In a week full of startling revelations, MPs across political divide unanimously agreed to increase their own salaries by 15 percent, a development which has attracted mixed feelings from the public. For the first time, a rare occasion parliament witnessed the essence of collaboration amongst MPs as they debated and threw points as to why they need to have their salaries hiked.
Masisi had proposed a total of 15 percent adjustment for legislators (4 percent salary hike) while 11 percent was a result of de-linking legislators from the public service. The constituency allowance is also proposed to be increased at 50 percent, while former legislators will get 20 percent of living allowance. Despite disapproval from some sections of the public, MPs threw aside their partisanship to join hands in defending their decision. With an emphatic victory in Kang, and 15 percent salary increment for MPs and other benefits, Masisi knew he had won the day.
The same week, President Masisi flew abroad for a two day trip for the first time since 16 January 2019. Masisi had been weary of travelling abroad after being warned that, about 12 MPs from the ruling party were planning to collude with opposition MPs to pass a motion of no confidence against in parliament. Owing to the threat that President Masisi faced from hostile MPs from rival faction, Ministry of International Cooperation cancelled planned abroad trips.
The first attempt to remove Masisi from power was made in July 2018, when Leader of the Opposition Duma Boko, supposedly working with the disgruntled ruling party MPs, moved on urgency, a motion seeking to pass no confidence against government of the day. The motion however did not garner enough support as majority of the BDP MPs voted against the motion, while Alliance for Progressives (AP) MPs abstained from voting the motion.
While Masisi had survived the motion, reports indicated that as polarity within the party in the run up to Kang Congress intensified, rivals were planning to bring back the motion, through opposition benches as it was the case in the first motion. The plan even forced Masisi to regularly attend parliament in the run up to Kang Congress, with observed indicating that the plan was to intimidate BDP rival MPs, therefore disrupting their best laid plans.
This publication earlier reported that the 12 MPs allegedly to be aligned to then party presidential candidate, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi had planned to resign from the BDP in order to collapse Masisi’s government. According to insiders, the rebellious MPs had planned to execute their plan when Masisi was away on international trips. The plan became futile after Masisi cancelled international trips, with majority of them developing cold feet.
With Masisi having secured his candidacy as BDP president in Kang last weekend, observers indicate that there is huge possibility of having a snap election, a development which will be the first of its kind since independence. The constitution of Botswana empowers a sitting to dissolve parliament at any time. According to section 90 (3); whenever parliament is dissolved, a general election of the elected members of the assembly shall be held within 60 days of the date of the dissolution and a session of parliament shall be appointed to commence within 30 days of the date of that general elections.
IEC is scheduled to complete its final registration on the 28th of April 2019, a date which may allow Masisi to dissolve parliament subsequent to conclusion of the process. Reports indicate that Masisi is yearning to get a fresh mandate from the general populace owing to instability which has threatened his transitional term. However, Masisi victory in Kang have seen new development, with some MPs reportedly expressing their desire to close ranks with him.
Minister of Health Dr Edwin Dikoloti says Africa member states call on World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure equitable resource allocation for 2024-2025. Dr Dikoloti was speaking this week at the WHO Executive Board Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.
He said countries agreed that there is need to address the budget and funding imbalances by increasing the programme budget share of countries and regions to 75% for the next year.
“The proposed budget for 2024-2025 marks an important milestone as it is the first in Programme Budget in which country offices will be allocated more than half of the total budget for the biennium. We highly welcome this approach which will enable the organization to deliver on its mandate while fulfilling the expectations for transparency, efficiency and accountability.”
The Botswana Health Minister commended member states on the extension of the General Programme of Work (GPD 13) and the Secretariat work to monitor the progress towards the triple billion targets, and the health-related SDGs.
“We welcome the Director’s general proposed five priorities which have crystalized into the “five Ps” that are aligned with the GPW 13 extension. Impact can only be achieved through close coordination with, and support to national health authorities. As such, the strengthening of country offices is instrumental, with particular focus on strengthening national health systems and on promoting more equitable access to health services.”
According to Dr Dikoloti, the majority of countries with UHC index that is below the global median are in the WHO Africa region. “For that, we call on the WHO to enhance capacity at the regional and national levels in order to accelerate progress. Currently, the regional office needs both technical and financial support in order to effectively address and support country needs.”
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Lemogang Kwape says Botswana has not taken any position regarding the killing of a renowned human rights lawyer, Thulani Maseko, who was gunned down at his house in Mbabane, Eswatini.
In a brief interview with WeekendPost, Dr Kwape said Botswana has not yet taken any position regarding his death. He said the purported incident should be thoroughly probed before Botswana can form an opinion based on the findings of the inquiries.
“Botswana generally condemns any killing of human life by all means,” says Dr. Kwape. He wouldn’t want to be dragged on whether Botswana will support the suspension of Eswatini from SADC.
“We will be guided by SADC organ Troika if they can be an emergency meeting. I am not sure when the meeting will be called by Namibian president,“ he said.
However, the Namibian president Hage Geingob notes with deep concern reports coming out of Eswatini about the killing of Mr. Maseko. In a statement, he called upon the “Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini to ensure that the killing of Maseko is swiftly, transparently and comprehensively investigated, and that any or all persons suspected of committing this heinous crime are brought to justice.”
Maseko was chairperson of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum which was established as a coalition of non-State actors to advocate for a process of national political dialogue aimed at resolving the security and political challenges confronting the Kingdom.
“SADC expresses its deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. Maseko, his friends, colleagues, and to the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini for the loss of Mr. Maseko. In this context, SADC further calls upon the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini to remain calm, exercise due care and consideration whilst the appropriate structures conduct the investigations and bring the matter to completion,” the statement says.
Geingob reiterated the need for peaceful resolution of the political and security challenges affecting the country.
Meanwhile political activists are calling on SADC to suspend Eswatini from the block including the African Union as well.
State prosecutor, Seeletso Ookeditse revealed before the Broadhurst Magistrate Jobbie Moilatshimo that the third accused involved in the murder of Barulaganye Aston, has interfered with the State witnesses again.
The second and third accused (Lefty Kosie and Outlwile Aston) were previously accused of interference when they were caught in possession of cellphones in prison. They were further accused of planning to kill the deceased’s brother, who is currently the guardian to the children of the deceased.
Ookeditse indicated that Outlwile had earlier went to challenge the magistrate’s decision of denying him bail at the High Court before Judge Michael Motlhabi.
“The third accused approached the High Court and made a bail application, which was dismissed on the same day,” Ookeditse said.
However, even after the High Court verdict on their bail application, the duo (Kosie and Aston) has once again applied for bail this week.
Ookeditse plead with the court to stop the accused from abusing the court process.
“Yesterday, Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) received papers of his bail application filed before the Broadhurst Magistrates Court. However, the papers do not speak to changed circumstances, therefore this back and forth about bail must be put to a stop,” said the State prosecutor.
While giving evidence before court, the Investigations Officer, Detective Inspector Quite Zhalamonto, said his investigations have proved that there is interference continuing regarding the accused trio.
He told the court that on the 12th of January 2023, he received a report from Thato Aston, who is the son of the accused and the deceased. The son had alleged to the Investigation Officer that he received a call from one Phillip Molwantwa.
According to Zhalamonto, Thato revealed that Molwatwa indicated that he was from prison on a visit to the Outlwile Aston and went on to ask where he was staying and where his siblings (Aston’s children) are staying.
“Thato revealed that Phillip went on to ask if he or his siblings saw their father murdering their mother, and he was referring to the crime scene. Thato told me that he, however, refused to answer the questions as he was afraid especially because he was asked about where him and his siblings stay,” said Zhalamonto.
Zhalamonto alluded to the court that he then went to Orange to confirm the communication between Thato and Molwantwa where he found the case.
“I have arrested Philip yesterday and when I interviewed him, he did not deny that he knows Aston and that he has indeed called Thato and asked questions as to where him and his siblings resides even though he failed to give reasons for asking such questions,” Zhalamonto told the court.
He further revealed that Molwantwa indicated that he had received a call from an unknown man who refused to reveal himself.
“Phillip told me that the unknown man said he was sent by the accused (Aston), and that Aston had instructed him to tell me to check if there was still some money in his bank accounts, and he also wanted to know where the kids were residing, the unknown man even asked him to meet at Main Mall” the Investigation Officer told the court.
He further informed the court that he is working tirelessly to identify the “unknown caller” and the route of the cell number.
Furthermore, the fourth accused, Kebaleboge Ntsebe, has revealed to the court through a letter that she was abused and tortured by the Botswana Police Services. She wrote in her letter that she suffered miscarriage as a result of being beaten by the police.
Ntsebe is on bail, while a bail ruling for Aston and Kosie will be delivered on the 6th of next month