Despite the anticipated outcome of the ongoing court case between the opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), the UDC has maintained this week that they will be contesting the impending 2019 General Elections -without the besieged BMD in its fold.
Subsequent to the expulsion of the BMD putting it in the cold, UDC remains with the affiliates Botswana National Front (BNF), Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) and the Botswana Congress Party (BCP). “What should be clear at this point is that we are not going to 2019 General Elections with the BMD. Especially with the beleaguered leader Pilane,” Advocate Duma Gideon Boko told Weekend Post in an interview this week. According to UDC President the BMD in the matter essentially plead with court to mediate and rule to bring the embattled party back into the UDC.
“I know that some people are confused about the court matter. Let me set the record straight. The case is simply saying nothing other than that the party (BMD) appeals to court to intervene in the UDC decision to expel them and want to be brought back to the UDC fold,” Boko stated. However come rain or sunshine Boko stressed to this publication that they are not admitting them back and that there is no how the BMD can use the UDC symbol – in case they dare do so – in the next elections.
It’s a non-starter and/or impossible, Boko said while stressing that the court case does not in any way link or relate to the UDC symbol and therefore that it (UDC symbol) will not be touched. The Gaborone Bonnington North law maker also explained that the case is like a woman going to court to divorce her husband because she no longer loves him as he has turned into a rebel and then the husband rejects or contends the divorce citing he still loves the wife and want to be with her.
In such a case like that of divorce Advocate Boko said even if the court can mediate for argument sake and say the couple should go back home and continue their loving affair and staying together they might end up killing each other as there is no longer love between the duo like it is a case with UDC and BMD’s Pilane.
“So this is the case with BMD and the UDC. BMD’s Pilane, we don’t hate him but we cannot work with him at all. We are clear on this. We don’t need rebels in the UDC. We are heading into the 2019 General Elections and we don’t want characters such as that of Pilane. They don’t have an ear for leadership,” he said. The UDC leader added that if the court can rule that the UDC re-admit the BMD but the UDC still does not want the BMD, there is no how the court can force or impose the BMD on UDC.
“The court can’t force us to work with BMD when we don’t want,” the Havard School of Law graduate maintained adding that “if the court rules that we cajole the BMD back, we will respect the court decision and do that but we will then later call a special congress to re-call the BMD again because we do not want it at all in its form and shape.” According to the BNF President, the problem with BMD is that it has spoiled, tainted and soiled the opposition politics with its ego and stubbornness.
Boko said part of Pilane’s misdeed was simply going against the laid processes and procedures of the UDC. “He was also going against the leadership consensus of the UDC and that is not allowed. There can never be too many spokespersons of the party. So if you always breaching all these we release you from the party,” he justified. Among others, Boko also accused Pilane of stating on separate media platforms that another UDC affiliate BCP is not part of the UDC although having been admitted subsequent to 2014 General Elections.
The decision was taken by the UDC leadership which Pilane was also part of although he went against it, Boko pointed out while adding that “so what is that? We need people who are tolerant people in leadership.” Boko, who is an Advocate continued to point out that the BMD’s contention that they were expelled un-procedurally and want to be brought back will however not see the light of the day as UDC are decided on them.
“We do not want the BMD/Pilane and we do not seek to work or associate with it anyhow. Not because of what others have said about him (Pilane) but of what we have witnessed and experienced of him. We spoke with him about it, we spoke with his organisation of his behaviour which became their behaviour as well, as they could not distance themselves from it.” Boko, the Leader of Opposition in Parliament justified that people don’t want the BMD under the leadership of Pilane and they have made that clear and that has to be respected and Batswana understands this thing.
On that the UDC has always been warned of Pilane by Alliance of Progressives (AP) he said “we didn’t want to pre-judge. We brought him to the UDC so that if he is human enough he should build himself and become trusted again. We gave him the platform to show case particularly as he was labelled buttered beyond redemption – but he failed.”
He said the UDC couldn’t take action on him back then or bar him into entering the UDC as they wanted to see if he cannot change into a man of repute. He observed that, because he is stubborn he continued to do so and that the people labelled him as he failed to redeem himself and that’s why he do not want him as well. Boko: AP’s pre-conditions outrageous: no talks with AP now
On the AP, Boko stated that there are currently no talks because the AP is demanding too much on their pre-conditions. “Well with AP, there are no talks. At least at this point. At things stand now we are going alone without AP in the next elections,” the UDC leader highlighted. Boko highlighted that they wrote to the AP suggesting that they should come to talk and they replied them with some demands and preconditions that they want before the two parties could start the negotiations.
“They have put pre-conditions to us saying we should finish with the case currently before court. We have not finished the case. We have no control whatsoever over the timeline of the court case. So if you put that as a precondition then it becomes impossible as that precondition cannot be met, we haven’t met it and we don’t know when we may. But in the meantime the clock is ticking and it this just becomes difficult,” the UDC leader said.
New details about a suspected Motswana poacher arrested in Namibian and his accomplice who is on the run were revealed when the suspect appeared in court this week.
The Motswana Citizen who was shot and wounded by Namibia’s anti poaching unit is facing criminal charges under criminal case number (CR NO 10/06/2022) which was registered at the Divundu Police Station in the Mukwe constituency of the Kavango East Region on 10 June 2022.
It is alleged that a patrol team laid an ambush after discovering a giraffe’s fresh carcass in a snare wire and hanging biltong. According to the Charge Sheet, the suspect Djeke Dihutu, aged 40 years, is charged with contravening and transgressions of Nature Conservation Ordinance andcontravening Immigration Act 07 in Mahango Wildlife Core Area, Bwabwata National Park. Dihutu’s first court appearance was on the 17th of June 2022, Rundu and it was postponed to the 07 July 2022. He is currently hospitalized in hospital under Police Guards.
Commenting on this latest development, the Namibian Lives Matter Movement National Chairperson Sinvula Mudabeti applauded the Namibian Anti Poaching Unit for its compliance with what it called the universal instrument on the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials adopted by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 34/169.
“We are aware that the duties of the police carry a great deal of risk, but our police has shown that they have a moral calling and obligation to protect even foreigners suspected of serious crimes on Namibian soil,” said Mudabeti.
According to him, whereas the Botswana Police Service, the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) and Directorate of Intelligence Service (DIS) have “very low moral ethics, integrity, accountability and honesty, the Namibian security agencies has shown very high levels of ethical leadership in the discharge of their duties even under duress.”
He said Namibian’s anti poaching unit has exercised one very important value, that is, the use of force only when it is reasonable and necessary. Mudabeti said this is in harmony with international best practices as enshrined in Article 2 of the UN instrument on law enforcement conduct, “In the performance of their duty, law enforcement officials shall respect and protect human dignity and maintain and uphold the human rights of all persons.
Our police have protected the life of a Botswana poacher and accorded him dignity, which is very foreign to our Botswana counterparts,” he said. He said article 3 of the same instrument above, calls for Law enforcement officials to use force only when strictly necessary and to the extent required for the performance of their duty.
“This provision emphasizes that the use of force by law enforcement officials should be exceptional; while it implies that law enforcement officials may be authorized to use force as is reasonably necessary under the circumstances for the prevention of crime or in effecting or assisting in the lawful arrest of suspected offenders, no force going beyond that was used by our Police,” he said.
Furthermore, Mudabeti said, whereas the universally accepted norm of the law of proportionality ordinarily permits the use of force by law enforcement, it is to be understood that such principles of proportionality in no case should be interpreted to authorize the use of force which is disproportionate to the legitimate objective to be achieved.
“Our police have used force proportional to the situation at hand. Great work indeed! Article 6 urges law enforcement officials to ensure the full protection of the health of persons in their custody and, in particular, shall take immediate action to secure medical attention whenever required,” he said.
Mudabeti said the Botswana poacher was immediately taken to hospital whereas the Nchindo brothers who were captured on Namibian soil, beaten, tortured and executed while pleading to be taken to the hospital we left to die.
“The Namibian Doctor gave evidence in court that Sinvula Munyeme’s lungs showed signs of life (during the autopsy) and that he could have survived if he was accorded immediate medical assistance in time but was left to die while BDF soldiers looked and possibly ignored his cry for help,” he said.
Mudabeti said unlike in Botswana where there are no clear separation of powers between the BDF, Botswana Police Service, Department of Intelligence and their Directorate of Public Prosecutions,” we have a system that allows for checks and balances and allows our people and foreigners who are found on the wrong side of the law to be accorded the right to a fair trial.”
He said Botswana citizens are treated with dignity when apprehended in Namibia and not assaulted, tortured and executed. “We are a civilized country that respects international law in dealing with non-Namibian criminals. The Namibian Police have not mistreated the Botswana poacher but have given him the benefit of the doubt by allowing due processes of the law to be followed,” he said.
He added that, “We are a peace loving nation that has not repaid Botswana by the evil that Botswana has done to Namibia by killing more than 37 innocent and unarmed Namibians by the trigger happy BDF.” He concluded that, “Our acts of mercy in arresting Botswana citizens should never be mistaken for cowardice.”
The government has reportedly taken a decision to terminate provision of pool housing and subsidy for civil servants as it attempts to trim the public service wage bill.
This emerges in a dispute that is currently before the Labour Office headquarters lodged by unions representing thousands of civil servants across the country. This publication understands that the decision to cease providing pool housing and rental subsidy for public officers is part of proposals that government put on the table during its negotiations with public service unions in order for it to adjust salaries.
A letter from Labour Office addressed to the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) shows that the directorate is cited as the First Respondent. The letter is titled, “Dispute lodged: Cessation of provision of pool housing and subsidy for pubic officers.”
“This serves as a notification and requirement to a mediation hearing,” the letter informed DPSM. According to the letter, the Botswana Teachers Union (BTU), Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Unions (BOSETU) Botswana Nurses Union (BONU) and Botswana Land Board &Local Authorities &Health workers Union (BLLAHW) who lodged the complaint are cited as the Applicant.
“Please come for mediation hearing. The hearing will be conducted by Mr Lebang. The hearing is scheduled for date/time 29th June 2022, 09: 00HOURS at Block 8 District Labour Office, Gaborone. Please bring all relevant documents,” reads the letter in part.
According to a document described as a proposal paper on the negotiations on salaries and other conditions of employment of public officers by the employer (government), the government did not only propose to stop providing accommodation to civil servants but also put a number of proposals on the table.
The proposal papers states that the negotiations (which have since been concluded) cover three government financial years; 2022/23, 2023/24 and 2024/25. The government proposed an across the board salary adjustments as follows; 3% for the financial year 2022/23 effective 1st April 2022, across the board salary adjustment of 3.5% for the financial year 2023/24 effective 1st April 2023 subject to performance of the economy and across the board salary adjustment of 4% for the financial year 2024/25 effective 1st April 2024 subject to performance of the economy.
The government also proposed phasing out of retention and attractive (Scarce Skills) Allowance with a view to migration towards clean pay, renegotiate and set new timelines for all outstanding issues contained in the Collective Labour Agreement, executed by the employer and trade unions on the 27th August 2019, to ensure proper sequencing, alignment and proper implementation. The government also proposed to freeze public service recruitment for the 2022/23 financial year and withdraw the financial equivalence of P500 million attached to vacancies from Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs).
Another proposal included phasing out of commuted overtime allowance and payment of overtime in accordance with the law and review human resource policies during the financial year 2022/23, 2023/24 and 2024/25.
The government argued that its proposals were premised on affordability and sustainability adding that it was important to underscore that the review of salaries and conditions of service for public officers was taking place at a time when there were uncertainties both in the global and domestic economies.
“Furthermore there is need to ensure that any collective labour agreement that is concluded does not breach the fiscal deficit target of 4% of GDP,” the proposal paper stated. The proposal paper further indicated that beyond salary adjustments, the Government of Botswana is of the view that a more comprehensive consideration “must be taken on the issue of remuneration in the public service by embracing principles such as total rewards compensation which involves taking a fully comprehensive and holistic approach to how our organization compensates employees for the work.”
The proposal paper also noted that, “Clearly, the increase in salaries and changes to other conditions of service which have monetary consequences will further increase the proportion of the budget taken by salaries, allowances and other monetary based conditions of services.”
“The consequential effect would be a reduction of the portion that can be used for other recurrent budget needs (e.g. maintenance of assets, consumable supplies such as medicines and books) and for development projects,” the proposal states.
Opposition Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) National Executive Committee will in no time investigate charges party members worked with the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) membership to tip the scales in favour of the latter for Serowe Sub-council Chairmanship in exchange for deputy seat in a dramatic 11th hour gentleman’s deal, leaving the ruling party splinter under the political microscope.
In a spectacular Sub-council election membership last Thursday, the ruling BDP’s Lesedi Phuthego beat Atamelang Thaga with 14 votes to 12 for Serowe Sub-council Chairmanship coveted seat and subsequently the ruling party’s councilor Bernard Kenosi withdrew his candidacy in the final hour for the equally admired deputy chair paving the way for Solomon Dikgang of BPF, seen as long sealed ‘I scratch your back and you scratch mine’ gentleman’s agreement between the contenders.
Both parties entered the race with a tie of votes torn between 12 councillors each, translating for election race that will go down to the wire definitely. But that will not be the case as two BPF councilors shifted their allegiance to the ruling party during the first race for Chairmanship held in a secret ballot and no sooner was the election concluded then the ruling party answered back by withdrawing its candidacy for the deputy chair position to give BPF’s Dikgang the post on a silver platter unopposed.
BPF councilor Vuyo Notha confirmed the incident in an interview on Wednesday, insisting the party NEC was determined to “investigate the matter soon”. “During the race for the Chairmanship, two more BPF voted for alongside the ruling party membership. It was clear Dikgang voted alongside the BDP as immediately after the vote for Chairmanship was concluded, Kenosi withdraw his candidacy to render Dikgang unopposed as a payback,” Notha added.
As for the other vote, Makolo ward councilor will not be drawn for the identity preferring instead to say: “BPF NEC will convene all the councilors to investigate the matter soon and we will take from there.” Notha will also not be drawn to conclude may be the culprit councilors could have defected to the ruling party silently.
“If they are no longer part of us they should say so and a by-election be called,” was all he could say. As it stands now, the law forbids sitting Councilors and Parliamentarians from crossing the floor to another party as to do so will immediately invite for a new election as dictated by the law. Incumbent politicians will therefore dare not venture for the unknown with a by-election that could definitely cost their political life and certainly their full benefits.
Notha could also not be dragged to link the culprit councilors actions to BPF Serowe region Chairperson Tebo Thokweng who has silently defected to the ruling party and currently employed by the party businessman and former candidate for Serowe West Moemedi Dijeng as PRO for the highly anticipated cattle abattoir project in Serowe.
“As for Thokweng he has not resigned from the party but from the region’s chairmanship,” he said. WeekendPost investigations suggest Thokweng is the secret snipper behind the recruitment drive of the votes for the elections and is determined to tear the party dominance in Serowe and the neighbouring villages asunder including in Palapye going forward.
This publication’s investigations also show BPF’s Radisele and UDC’s Mokgware/Mogome councilors are under the radar of investigations for the votes-themselves associated with the workings and operations of Thokweng.
“NEC will definitely leave no stone unturned with their investigations to get into the bottom of the matter. Disciplinary actions will follow certainly,” Notha concluded, underscoring the need to toe the party line to set a good precedent. For the youthful councilor, the actions of his peers has set a wrong precedent which has to be dealt with seriously to deter future culprits.