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Batlokwa, Jamali in land scuffle

Tensions between Batlokwa tribal leadership and businessman, Sayeed Jamali over the construction of some facilities in the Batlokwa tribal land have reached boiling point. Information suggests that behind the scenes, temperatures have been rising as Batlokwa say the construction took place without their knowledge.

Jamali is said to own a 50 hectares piece of land in which the construction of an 8000-seater stadium, hostels, hotel and other facilities are under way in the area. WeekendPost can reveal that the two parties, particularly Batlokwa Bogosi has been seething in anger following the continued amassing of land in their territory by the tycoon. The argument has always been that Batlokwa need the land more for residential and development purposes.

This notwithstanding, Jamali has gone on to acquire chunks of land in the area, mostly through purchasing it from some individuals. On the other hand, there is belief there could be underhand dealings between him and senior government officials who may have assisted him to accumulate such.

A source close to developments told this publication in an interview this week that the construction mogul could be doing things in an illegal manner. “Not only is the Morafe unhappy, we as the Bogosi also have complaints on that development, our issue is Jamali gaa dire dilo ka semolao. Molao wa gagwe ke madi (Jamali is not following the route of the law; to him having money is his law). We have always had land shortage, but he has never struggled to acquire it, it appears he has someone at the top backing up these land requests and effectively protecting him,” the source revealed.

This publication is also alive to the fact that Batlokwa Tribal leadership under Kgosi Puso Gaborone, have registered their grievances with the South East District Council (SEDC) and Tlokweng Land Board (TLB). The two, according to sources at Tlokweng Kgotla failed to mediate on the issue as the issue was allegedly agreed on by former minister of Land Prince Maele, President Ian Khama, Masisi (then VP) and Carter Morupisi without their (SEDC and TLB) involvement.

Initially Jamali is said to have approached the tribal leadership with a plan to construct a road with a tollgate linking the eastern side of the village with Phakalane/Ruretse. This was immediately shot down by the village leaders who conceived the development a money making gimmick. ”We couldn’t allow for that, where will the money go?” asked a source rhetorically. Additionally, the businessman was never given the green light either by the council or lands board hence the leadership could not approve the development.

After the plan failed, it is said Jamali bought a 50 hectares piece of land in which the construction of the 8000-seater stadium, hostels, hotel and other facilities are under way. The development, which encompasses the Batlokwa trust land, was done without the knowledge of the leadership.

“This is the same land that the tribe had agreed it would erect a palace for Kgosi Gaborone on. We were surprised to see part of it being used for the road construction which we were not aware of. We approached him and asked him to avail coordinates of his land of which did not correspond and he returned it and he continued with the road construction in another piece of land,” a highly placed source said this week.

Sources tell this publication that the SEDC only gave the investor the go ahead to construct a road on condition that he consults Batlokwa and complies with whatever requests they have. The road connects the eastern side of the village with University of Botswana. This publication has learnt that “it is a 3 km road to ease congestion from other roads once the construction of the stadium finishes”. A worker on the site revealed that, “Right now we don’t have the plan, we are just grating it, the Chinese company will do the real road.”

However a source from the Tlokweng Kgotla insists that, “But we never gave permission for that because the road goes through people’s farms and homes. We are surprised that he is continuing despite that fact.” says a source from Tlokweng Kgotla.
The road is reported to have encroached on some people’s plots who have registered their complaints with the tribal leadership, which has on numerous occasions met both the land board and SEDC but without any tangible results.

It said Jamali insists that his road development has been approved by the council, but it appears he was never given servitude by the tribal administration, council nor land board. “All the developments in our area have been freezed as we are told to wait for a moratorium by the local authorities.

On the other hand Jamali’s projects are ongoing,” said the informant before adding that, “Right now Tlokweng Development Plan is still on and we have asked for a number of things including the nature park, but we were told to wait for the moratorium but it seems we are being overlooked whilst he gets to continue his plans.”

JAMALI, LAND BOARD COMMENTS
 

Jamali’s response

“The road has been gazzeted and since the government was too slow for me as a private business, I financed the project. This is so because I have attachment to the area. The developments have not demolished anything except part of the tribe’s trust land which is not affected anymore.  Those who make noise are against the developments.
 

Office of the president issued an instruction to lower authorities to ratify the construction and there was no how they can refuse. This happened under the leadership of former President Lt Gen Ian Khama. On the other hand I don’t have any special relationship with former Minister Prince Maele. I relate with him the same way I do to other people including ministers, MPs and general public like you.


Yes I wanted to install tollgates in the soon to be made Phakalane-Tlokweng road, even in the undergoing construction I wanted to install them. That was rebuffed by the government as it is not in their policy yet. I wanted to do that to recover monies im spending on doing those developments especially the road which cost between P40-50 million.”


Tlokweng Land Board Response


“The development of the area has been sanctioned by a higher authority (Office of President) than the land board through a different act; correspondence was made to the land board with regards to the development. We however note the concern between the tribal leadership and Mr. Jamali and the land board is working on how it can facilitate tribal leadership on the resolution of the matter.
 

The Land Board is not aware of such allegations of plots/farms seized and currently investigations are being done as per the tribal leadership complaint. The tribal leadership had requested extension of their Ga-Manaleng property in the area, which would have been in conflict with the gazette road, and as such it would mean the cancellation of the gazetted road which is no sanctioned by land board rather Roads Department through the Town and Country planning act.”

 

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Details emerge in suspected Batswana poachers in Namibia

28th June 2022
suspected Motswana poacher arrested

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.”

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Gov’t, Unions clash over accommodation

28th June 2022
accomodation

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.

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BPF NEC probes Serowe squabbles

28th June 2022
BPF

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.

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