The writing is on the wall, the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) will be a completely different animal come 2019 general elections, one of the contracting partners, Botswana Movement for Democracy will be ejected from formation.
The UDC held a closed meeting this week at which the National Executive Committee of the party summoned the troubled contracting partner to notice it of intention to suspend the whole party from the UDC. It was evident that the BMD was not happy with the discussions after its president Sidney Pilane walked out of the meeting and later was followed by his exco members. “We will share with you after seven days. What was discussed is confidential and do not trouble any of the NEC members with questions,” UDC President Duma Boko said after the meeting.
However, what came out of the meeting is a clear sign that the UDC is nearing breaking point. The BNF and the BCP have decided “to hell” with the law classes and now want to play politics. It has emerged from the five hours meeting that the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Botswana National Front (BNF) wants Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) to conform to their July congress resolutions on constituency redistribution.
On the other hand BMD will not bow to the “big brother mentality displayed by the contracting parties.” This publication has gathered that going to the meeting, the UDC (BNF & BCP) had already drafted a plan to share with BMD. WeekendPost is privy to the grand plan of BNF and BCP should they succeed in pushing Pilane and his BMD out of the coalition. The two main contracting partners are worried that if they do not act now, they may run out of time as 2019 general elections approach.
The two parties subsequent to their July gathering, want the BMD to bow to down to their ultimatum which demands that BMD surrender its constituencies save two held by incumbents, to the mother party for re-distribution. The two parties, it is said, want Billy Sekgororoane for Gaborone Central, while one of Dutch Leburu and Motsei Rapelana is expected to contest Gaborone North. Moeti Mohwasa has been asked to contest Gaborone Bonnigton South with Solly Reikeletseng expected to wrestle Francistown South. All these constituencies are allocated to BMD.
“In Lobatse they want Digga Kakoma. They say Modubule has played his part. The members of BNF and BCP want credible candidates not the likes of Bruce [Nkgakile] and Autlwetse [Thabo],” revealed the informant. It is further said the party is also in talks with two high profile candidates to contest in Gabane-Mmankgodi and Mogoditshane constituencies. “For now it is still confidential but the names will be revealed in a week or two,” said a source on Thursday.
Only Gilbert Mangole (Mochudi West) and Tlamelo Mmatli (Molepolole south) constituencies will not be touched going to the general elections next year according to the plan orchestrated by BNF and BCP. The Tuesday afternoon meeting was the second since the UDC congress in February this year. Previous attempts to convene a meeting failed because BMD saw no need for a meeting, more so that BCP, which according to the constitution is not a member continued to be party to, this publication has gathered.
Boko could not share anything with patient journalists who waited for the conclusion of the meeting as BMD representatives walked out. By the time other parties came out of the boardroom BMD president Sidney Pilane had long walked out. Pilane, usually cheerful and intimidating in character, cast a picture of a cow resigned to the fate of slaughterhouse. Minutes later, his comrades, Mangole, Modubule and Mmatli also walked out of the meeting. This was a sign that they are against the negotiations championed by BNF and BCP.
With nothing agreed at the meeting UDC (BNF &BCP) have given BMD up to Wednesday to have agreed to the suggestion, failure in which BMD constituencies will be seized by hook or crook. The two parties believe BMD following last year’s split leading to formation of Alliance for Progressives (AP), cannot amass figures enough to win 14 constituencies allocated to them. In their congress resolutions the two parties agreed to redistribute the constituencies given to the party.
The decision to take BMD candidates was taken last week at BNF and BCP bilateral talks where a highly placed source revealed that: “people are not willing to register to vote the entire party (UDC) because they have absolutely no confidence in Pilane and BMD therefore automatically dragging the UDC in it. So that was the message. Almost everybody was saying that (Pilane should go).”
“As per the constitution, UDC has three parties and we are concerned that BCP continues to be part of meetings whilst it is not recognised legally. Further, they are pulling strings and we will not allow that to happen because whatever agreed was agreed by members of the UDC in good standing,” a BMD source who was part of the meeting told this paper on Wednesday evening. The walking out of the BMD members is the factor that coerced the UDC president Boko to say official statement will be made next week Wednesday.
“They hope to meet the UDC between now and then to conclude everything since the discussions were left hanging,” said a source. On the other hand a BMD informant says they are aware albeit unofficial that they will have to meet other parties but there is nothing official on the table.But the BCP were frustrated at this meeting as Pilane insists that in terms of the currently registered constitution, BCP is not a member of the UDC – all contracting partners agree that he is correct. The problem as apportioned to Pilane is that he however does not accept the constitution that was negotiated between the BCP and UDC. Furthermore he also does not accept any of the congress resolutions on the constitution
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.
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.
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.