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Masisi ejects ageing senior public servants

Scores high ranking public service officials including the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) commander, Lt Gen Placid Segokgo and the Botswana Police Commissioner, Keabetswe Makgophe — will be forced to leave the public service at the mandatory retirement age of 55 and 60 years.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi is said to have reminded the Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Carter Morupisi not to extent contracts of senior public officials who are in the afternoons of their lives. Masisi’s decision to follow the Public Service Act to the letter will affect mostly the defense and security fraternity as a number of high ranking officials are expected to leave their offices. The decision comes at a time when the new administration wants to phase out a number of officials who are linked to the past leadership.

Already a number of names that captained a number of institutions and ministries are likely to be swept out as Masisi also wants his new loyal brigade that will ensure his modus operandi is implemented. While it is clearly enshrined in the Public Service Act that retirement age is at the age of 60 years, the government has on many instances offered contracts to some senior official who had reached the age — this will now be history under Masisi’s administration.

Masisi, according to informant has made it known to Morupisi that whatever the qualification or skills one possesses the Public Service Act should be followed to the letter. This is intended to give other upcoming officers chance to rise through the leadership ladder. “It is clear in the Public Service Act that when you reach 60 you retire, so it is not like Masisi is imposing that. It has always been there,” Morupisi said briefly when asked about this.

It is said even to those with needed skills will not be renewed unlike in the past system. “However they could only be roped in as consultants to assist the government,” explains a highly placed source within the government. Transfers of senior officials will also be minimal as the inter-ministerial movements and parastatal will mostly be dominated by more junior officers. “President argues as to what new intellect or thinking they will bring if they are moved across institutions,” added a source.

Already a source highlights that Masisi was instrumental in ejecting former Ministry of Defense Justice and Security Permanent Secretary Segakweng Tsiane who reached the mandatory retirement age last year September. “There was extension which Masisi long said should be scrapped but after considering a number of factors it was decided that she leaves at the end of the financial year (March 31st). Permanent Secretary to the President Morupisi issued a press release stating that Matshidiso Bokole was appointed on promotion as Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security with effect from 01st April 2019.

Reports however continue to maintain that the dreaded axe is also coming to others including the current Botswana Defense Force (BDF) Commander Lt Gen Placid Segokgo. Segokgo was aged 53 when he assumed BDF high office in 2016 and he is currently 56, a year above the disciplined forces’ mandatory retirement age of 55. His contract is yet to be fully extended by the head of state and an informant says it will not be. Lt Gen Segokgo is likely to be one of BDF commanders to have served the shortest of periods as commander of the army.

Retired Lt Gen Gaolatlhe Galebotswe served as BDF commander for the four years. Retired Lt Gen Tebogo Masire is the only BDF commander to have his contract extended by the President. Masire took over from Lieutenant General Matshwenyego Fisher in 2006 and his contract was extended for two years when he reached the retirement age of 55. The soft spoken Botswana Police Commissioner (BPS) Keabetswe Makgophe is another name facing the chop. He is currently 57 years, two more years after reaching the retirement age of 55. Already the government is running helter skelter to find Makgophe’s replacement but sources highlight one name, Tapudzani Gabolekwe who is the Assistant Commissioner.

Makgophe replaced the then Police Commissioner, Thebeyame Tsimako, whose contract was extended. Makgophe’s appointment came after the former deputy commissioner, Kenny Kapinga, was redeployed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as an ambassador. By far government through PSP has made two transfer and redeployments of Brigadier Joseph Mathambo who has been appointed as Director General, Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) from the 02nd April 2019. On the other hand Victor Paledi is transferred to the Ministry of Defence Justice and Security as the Secretary Defence Justice and Security from 02nd April 2019.More deployments and transfers are expected after Kang congress, reports say.

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Transgender persons in Botswana live a miserable life

23rd November 2020
Transgender persons

An international report complied in South Africa dubbed ‘Legal Gender Recognition in Botswana’ says that the transgender and gender non-conforming people in Botswana live a miserable life. The community experiences higher levels of discrimination, violence and ill health.

In this report, it has been indicated that this is because their gender identity, which does not conform to narrowly define societal norms, renders them more vulnerable. Gender identity is a social determinant of health, which means that it is a factor that influences people’s health via their social context, their communities and their experiences of social exclusion. The Ministry of Health and Wellness has recognized this, and transgender people are considered a vulnerable population under the Botswana Second National Strategic Framework for HIV and AIDS 2010-2017.

In a recent study that shed light on the lived experiences of transgender and gender non-conforming people in Botswana, transgender persons often experience discrimination because of their gender identity and expression. The study was conducted by the University of Cape Town, LEGABIBO, BONELA, as well as Rainbow Identity Association and approved by the Health Ministry as well as the University of Botswana.

Of the 77 transgender and gender non-conforming people who participated in the study, less than half were employed. Two thirds, which is approximately 67% said that they did not have sufficient funds to cover their everyday needs. Two in five had hidden health concerns from their healthcare provider because they were afraid to disclose their gender identity.

More than half said that because of their gender identity, they had been treated disrespectfully at a healthcare facility (55%), almost half (46%) said they had been insulted at a healthcare facility, and one quarter (25%) had been denied healthcare because of their gender identity.

At the same time, the ‘Are we doing right’ study suggests that transgender and non-conforming people might be at higher risks of experiencing violence and mental ill-health, compared to the general population. More than half had experienced verbal embarrassment because of their gender identity, 48% had experienced physical violence and more than one third (38%) had experienced sexual violence.

The study showed that mental health concerns were high among transgender and gender non-conforming people in Botswana. Half of the transgender and gender non-conforming study participants (53%) showed signs of depression. Between one in four and one in six showed signs of moderate or severe anxiety (22% among transgender women, 24% among transgender men and 17% among gender non-conforming people).

Further, the study revealed that many had attempted suicide: one in three transgender women (32%), more than one in three transgender men (35%) and three in five gender non-conforming people (61%).

International research, as well as research from Botswana, suggests that not being able to change one’s gender marker has a negative impact on access to healthcare and mental health and wellbeing. The study further showed that one in four transgender people in Botswana (25%) had been denied access to healthcare. This is, at least in part, linked to not being able to change one’s gender marker in the identity documents, and thus not having an identity document that matches one’s gender identity and gender expression.

In its Assessment of Legal and Regulatory Framework for HIV, AIDS and Tuberculosis, the Health Ministry noted that “transgender persons in Botswana are unable to access identity documents that reflect their gender identity, which is a barrier to health services, including in the context of HIV. In one documented case, a transwoman’s identity card did not reflect her gender identity- her identity card photo indicated she was ‘male’. When she presented her identity card at a health facility, a health worker called the police who took her into custody.”

The necessity of a correct national identity document goes beyond healthcare. The High Court of Botswana explains that “the national identity document plays a pivotal role in every Motswana’s daily life, as it links him or her with any service they require from various institutions. Most activities in the country require every Motswana to produce their identity document, for identification purposes of receiving services.”

According to the Legal Gender Recognition in Botswana report, this effectively means that transgender, whose gender identity and expression is likely to be different from the sex assigned to them at birth and from what is recorded on their identity document, cannot access services without risk of denial or discrimination, or accusations of fraud.

In this context, gays and lesbians advocacy group LEGABIBO has called on government through the Department of Civil and National Registration to urgently implement the High Court rulings on gender marker changes. As stated by the High Court in the ND vs Attorney General of Botswana judgement, identity cards (Omang) play an important role in the life of every Motswana. Refusal and or delay to issue a Motswana with an Omang is denying them to live a complete and full-filing life with dignity and violates their privacy and freedom of expression.

The judgement clarified that persons can change their gender marker as per the National Registrations Act, so changing the gender marker is legally possible. There is no need for a court order. It further said the person’s gender is self-identified, there is no need to consult medical doctors.

LEGABIBO also called on government to develop regulations that specify administrative procedure to change one’s gender marker, and observing self-determination process. Further, the group looks out for government to ensure members of the transgender community are engaged in the development of regulations.

“We call on this Department of Civil and National Registration to ensure that the gender marker change under the National Registration Act is aligned to the Births and Deaths Registry Act to avoid court order.

Meanwhile, a gay man in Lobatse, Moabi Mokenke was recently viciously killed after being sexually violated in the streets of Peleng, shockingly by his neighbourhood folks. The youthful lad, likely to be 29-years old, met his fate on his way home, from the wearisome Di a Bowa taverns situated in the much populated township of Peleng Central.

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Khato Civils fights back, dares detractors

23rd November 2020
Khato-civil

CEO of Khato Civils Mongezi Mnyani has come out of the silence and is going all way guns blazing against the company’s adversaries who he said are hell-bent on tarnishing his company’s image and “hard-earned good name”

Speaking to WeekendPost from South Africa, Mnyani said it is now time for him to speak out or act against his detractors. Khato Civils has done several projects across Africa. Khato Civils, a construction company and its affiliate engineering company, South Zambezi have executed a number of world class projects in South Africa, Malawi and now recently here in Botswana.

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UDC petitioners turn to Saleshando

23rd November 2020
Dumelang Saleshando

About ten (10) Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) parliamentary candidates who lost the 2019 general election and petitioned results this week met with UDC Vice President, Dumelang Saleshando to discuss the way forward concerning the quandary that is the legal fees put before them by Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) lawyers.

For a while now, UDC petitioners who are facing the wrath of quizzical sheriffs have demanded audience with UDC National Executive Committee (NEC) but in vain. However after the long wait for a tete-a-tete with the UDC, the petitioners met with Saleshando accompanied by other NEC members including Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang, Reverend Mpho Dibeela and Dennis Alexander.

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