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New DPSM Director faces jail sentence

Newly appointed Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) Director Goitseone Mosalakatane has been dragged to court for contempt of court. The application seeking to imprison the new DPSM Director for contempt of court will be heard next week.

In the case, Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Unions (BOSETU) wants court to impose upon her, a jail sentence or such sentence as it considers appropriate. The teachers union also wants the court to order government to pay the costs of the application on a scale between attorney and client. The said contempt of court comes following the High court judgement delivered on the16th day of August 2017 where there was a consent order signed by both parties legal representatives.

In the order it was agreed that the BOSETU members which have Accounting or relevant qualifications and are actually teaching accounting and Business Studies and are entitled to scarce skills allowance as per Directives dated 2nd December 2015 and of 10th August 2015.
The payment of the said allowance was to be paid to the members’ accounts from 1st April 2013.

It is understood that there was also a status hearing on the 7th November 2017 which was specifically set to ensure compliance with the Court order of 16th August 2017 – but the meeting bore no fruits. In his founding affidavit filed before court, BOSETU Secretary General Tobokani Rari also confirmed that “I aver that the DPSM/government remains in breach of the Order notwithstanding lapse of more than 12 months since the order was issued by this Honourable Court, on the 16th August 2017.”

He further pointed out that various meetings ordered by the court have been held between the parties over the past 12 months in a view to implement the order but to no avail. By way of example, the BOSETU SG explained that meetings between the parties was held on April 2018 at DPSM; and August 2018 at Attorney General’s Chambers.

Rari continued: “I aver that at all the meetings the 1st and 2nd Respondents (government) opined that in their own interpretation of the order, they only had to pay scare skill allowance to those teachers who were holding Accounting qualifications and Teaching Accounting. This is despite the fact that the Court Order was very clear that ‘members in the list attached have Accounting or relevant qualifications and are actually teaching accounting and Business Studies and are entitled to scare skills allowance as per the Directives’”.

BOSETU has contended that the government’s contention was in fact a unilateral variation of the Court order which was very clear that “Accounting or relevant qualifications and are actually teaching accounting and Business Studies”. Rari said this was a very surprising development and a dilatory step by the DPSM/government not to comply with clear and ambiguous court which they consented to through their legal representative.

According to Rari, the selective implementation of the Court Order, has resulted in a divided staff room, with teachers teaching the same subjects for years, while others are paid scarce skill allowance, others being denied same because they hold qualifications obtained from institutions other than those preferred by government. He added: “I aver that the teachers teaching Accounting and Business Studies holding other qualifications other than accounting are covered by the Court Order of 16th August 2017 by the wording of “…or related or relevant qualifications”.

Rari emphasised that they are advised and submit that it is clear that the DPSM/government is acting in contempt of the order of Court granted. “I am advised and respectfully submit that this Court should dispense with the forms of and service provided for in the rules and hear the matter as one of the urgency in terms of order 12 Rule of the High Court Rules. The DPSM/government wilfully breached the order of this court granted on the 16th day of August 2017. The Respondent remains in contempt of the Order and has not even responded to the letters addressed to them.”

Rari continued to point out that he is advised and submit that not only specifically with reference to the Respondents, but with reference to ligation in general, the Honourable Court should not be slow to enforce its authority and ensure that its order are complied with.
“I aver that the Applicant’s members will be severally prejudiced by further misconduct of the Respondents if an order is not granted the prejudice to the 1st Respondent will relate only to the need to ensure that he provides such answers as she may have to this application promptly and expeditiously,” he said.

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African countries call on WHO to increase funding

2nd February 2023

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.”

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Botswana still weighing in on Maseko’s assassination

27th January 2023

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.

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Kopong Murder: Accused interferes with witnesses again!

27th January 2023

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

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