Khama not entitled to Air transport – PSP
All former presidents of Botswana are not entitled to any mode of transport other than three vehicles of which they are at liberty to use at all times in both official and private duties.
However, the Former President’s Pensions and Retirement Benefits Act which was amended prior to the stepping down of Lt. Gen. Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama from the presidency, gives provision for either boat or air transport by state as and when need arises. This was clarified by the Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) and Secretary to Cabinet, Cater Morupisi when addressing public servants in Selebi Phikwe on Thursday afternoon.
The PSP further explained that for any mode of transport to be extended to former presidents other than road transport (the three vehicles) as per the amended Act, a formal request must be made but the release of such transport is dependent on the approval of the sitting president and only the president can authorise such a request.
This therefore as per the PSP’s clarification, Khama as a former president is not entitled to a Government provided aeroplane as his retirement perks as it is largely believed to be the case by the general public. The former president can request for one but there is no guarantee that the request will be acceded to. Of recent, there has been reports regarding Khama’s soured relations with his successor, President Masisi with the refusal by the latter to let the former have access to the aeroplane allegedly being one of the straws that broke the camel’s back.
Speaking on the President’s Road Map, Morupisi said that President Masisi desires to transform Botswana into an economic giant with competitive critical mass of highly skilled workforce that can work anywhere in the world. He said this is outlined in the National Transformation Strategy which seeks to transform Botswana into a highly prosperous nation in many fronts.
Morupisi said public officers’ are at the centre of this transformation agenda as utmost dedication to their work will translate in the desired achievement that will take the nation to greater heights. He pointed out that all public servants must be committed to the ideals of good governance. PSP further noted that the president want all public servants at all times to self-introspect and deliver public services in a manner indicative of a good servant of the people. He implored on public officers to be efficient and deliver service with all due courtesy and respect that that jobs requires.
“Our customer service can help us attract foreign investors to set up business in our country and this is particularly critical for Selebi Phikwe after the mine closure,” he said. The PSP highlighted the need for public servants to examine Government policies so as to identify critical areas hindering service delivery. He said submissions can be made to the office of the Deputy District Commissioner, outlining such hindrances that call for policy review. Morupisi urged all Government Departments to deliver services timely, noting that senior Government officers and Head of Departments at their various stations will be empowered to take particular decisions in an effort to increase the turnaround time in service delivery.
Facilitating and expediting of services such as issuing of visas as well as change of land use by people who want to convert their land for business use must be given priority by the concerned officials so as to enable businesses to grow thereby helping create jobs by the private sector. This, Morupisi said forms part of the president’s roadmap.
Masisi also wants Botswana to be a sought-after International Conference destination where certain places in the country could be earmarked for hosting of different international conferences and forums. This, the PSP explained it twill also boost the tourism sector as delegates attending these conferences will also take time to view the beautiful scenery around the hosting towns and some of Botswana’s prime tourism areas. He noted that earmarked destinations for these conferences will have to up the game in terms of provision of transport and accommodation facilities, something that calls for the participation of the private sector as this provide a business opportunity for them. He said such places or town will be able to bid to host such global meetings.
Concerning the welfare and conditions of service for these public servants who are expected to play a big role in President’s Masisi’ transformational agenda, Morupisi stated that the president has already met with the public service unions in an endeavour to map a way forward in resuscitating the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC). “The president has already given them direction and by September this year, he want the Public Service Bargaining Council to be functional,” he said.
Morupisi said once the PSBC is fully functional, all matters pertaining to the welfare and conditions of service will be duly addressed. He said Government has taken the decision to fast-track the transfer of married spouses to work in the same area as way of protecting public officers’ marriages and families. Transfer requests are currently being received until November to be looked at holistically by Permanent Secretaries to see how best they can be implemented.
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DPP drops Kably threat to kill case
The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Chief Whip and Member of Parliament for Letlhakeng/Lephephe Liakat Kably has welcomed the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP)â€™s decision not to prosecute BDP councillor, Meshack Tshenyego who allegedly threatened to kill him. However, the legislator has warned that should anything happen to his life, the state and the courts will have to account.
In an interview with this publication, Kablay said he has heard that the DPP has declined to prosecute Tshenyego in a case in which he threatened to kill him adding that the reasons he received are that there was not enough evidence to prosecute. â€śI am fine and at peace with the decision not to prosecute over evidential deficits but I must warn that should anything happen to my life both the DPP and the Magistrate will have to account,â€ť Kablay said.
Connectedly, Kably said he has made peace with Tshenyego, â€śwe have made peace and he even called me where upon we agreed to work for the party and bury the hatchetâ€ť.
The DPP reportedly entered into a Nolle Prosequi in the matter, meaning that no action would be taken against the former Letlhakeng Sub-district council chairperson and currently councillor for Matshwabisi.
According to the charge sheet before the Court, councilor Tshenyego on July 8th, 2022 allegedly threatened MP Kably by indirectly uttering the following words to nominatedcouncilor Anderson Molebogi Mathibe, â€śMosadi wa ga Liakat le ban aba gagwe ba tsile go lela, Mosadi wame le banake le bone ba tsile go lela. E tla re re mo meeting, ka re tsena meeting mmogo, ke tla mo tlolela a bo ke mmolaya.â€ť
Loosely translated this means, Liakatâ€™s wife and children are going to shed tears and my wife and kids will shed tears too. I will jump on him and kill him during a meeting.
Mathibe is said to have recorded the meeting and forwarded it to Kably who reported the matter to the police.
In a notice to the Magistrate Court to have the case against Tshenyego, acting director of Public Prosecutions, Wesson ManchweÂ cited the nolle prosequi by the director of public prosecution in terms of section 51 A (30) of the Constitution and section 10 of the criminal procedure and evidence act (CAP 08:02) laws of Botswana as reasons for dropping the charges.
A nolle prosequi is a formal notice of abandonment by a plaintiff or prosecutor of all or part of a suit or action.
â€śIn pursuance of my powers under section 51 A (300 of the Constitution and section 10 of the criminal procedure and evidence act (CAP 08:02) laws of Botswana, I do hereby stop and discontinue criminal proceedings against the accused Meshack Tshenyego in the Kweneng Administrative District, CR.No.1077/07/2022 being the case of the State vs Tshenyego,â€ť said Manchwe. The acting director had drafted the notice dropping the charges on 13th day of March 2023.
The case then resumed before the Molepolole Magistrate Solomon Setshedi on the 14th of March 2023. The Magistrate issued an order directing â€śthat matters be withdrawn with prejudice to the State, accused is acquitted and discharged.â€ť
DPP seizes prosecution duties from Police
Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) has finally taken over prosecution from the Botswana Police Service (BPS). The police have been prosecuting for years, but the takeover means that they will now only focus on investigations and then hand over to the DPP for prosecution.
Talks of complete takeover began as far back as 2008, but for years it seemed implementation was sluggish. However, the Minister of Justice, Machana Shamukuni, revealed that the complete takeover is expected to be completed soon.
During a presentation to the Committee of Supply by Shamukuni this week, it was revealed that the project has been implemented in 22 police stations nationwide, including Maun, Selebi-Phikwe, Palapye, Francistown, and Kasane. He further stated that the project has been allocated P3,000,000 for the 2023/2024 financial year to facilitate the opening of more satellite offices for the DPP.
Shamukuni said the Lobatse station is scheduled for a complete takeover by the end of May 2023, while the Kasane DPP satellite office has been established and became operational as of February 1, 2023.
“As reported previously, preparations are at an advanced stage to open a satellite office in Tsabong to curtail expenses, as well as frequent long-distance trips to these areas, as it is currently serviced by the Lobatse DPP office,” Shamukuni said.
Shamukuni said that the takeover strategy is to enable a seamless and gradual takeover of prosecution from the BPS without overwhelming and overstretching the thin resources at its disposal.
According to Shamukuni, the implementation of the prosecution takeover project has increased the workload of the 211 prosecutors in the DPP establishment.
Furthermore, the Justice Minister said DPP statistics show that the DPP has a total of 11,903 cases and dockets as of January 2023. He indicated that this is a significant increase in the number of cases being handled by the DPP, considering that in November 2021, the DPP had just over 8,471 files.
â€śOut of the total case load, 8 382 are cases pending before various courts while 3521 are dockets received from law enforcement agencies of which 1 325 are awaiting service of summons while the rest are being assessed for suitability of prosecution or otherwiseâ€ť said Shamukuni.
He further stated that The DPP has consistently maintained an 80% success rate in matters completed at court.
â€śAs at the end of January 2023, the success rate stood at 82.3% against a target of 90% whilst the average performance in respect of turnaround time for conclusion of cases at court stood at 17.5 months against a target of 18 months,â€ť he said.
BACKLOG OF CASES â€“ LAND TRIBUNAL
Meanwhile, Minister Shamukuni has revealed that Gaborone land Tribunal is experiencing a backlog of cases. Before parliament this week, Shamukuni revealed that a total 230 appeals were completed for the period of April 2022- December 2022 and only 76.5% of them were completed within set time frame.
The minister said that the Gaborone division has experiencing a backlog of cases due to manpower constraints and he further indicated that presiding officers from other divisions have been brought in to expedite case disposal.
He further indicated that the land tribunal is a specialized court that has been empowered to resolve appeals arising from land boards. â€śIt has been mandated to determine appeals from the decisions of Physical planning committees of Districts Councilsâ€ť said Shamukuni.
Land Tribunal relocated to the Ministry of Justice from Ministry of Land and Water Affairs in November 2022.
â€śAn amount of P37, 842,670 is requested to cover salaries, allowance and other operational expenses for the Department of the land Tribunal,â€ť alluded Shamukuni
BCP, AP stalemate in 7 constituencies
When the Botswana Congress Party (BCP), Alliance for Progressives, Botswana Labour Party (BLP), and conveners reconvene next week, the controversial issue of allocation of the seven constituencies will be the main topic of discussion, WeekendPost can reveal.
Not only that, but the additional four constituencies will also dominate the talks. The idea is to finally close the “constituency allocation phase,” which has proven to be the most difficult part of the ongoing negotiations.
Earlier this year, the two parties announced that the marathon talks would be concluded by February. Even at a media briefing last month, BCP Secretary General Goretetse Kekgonegile and Publicity Secretary Dr. Mpho Pheko were optimistic that the negotiations would be concluded before the end of February.
However, it is now mid-March and the talks have yet to be concluded. What could be the reasons for the delay? This is a question that both Kekgonegile and Pheko have not responded to, as they have ignored the reporters’ inquiries. However, a senior figure within the party has confided to this publication as to what is delaying the highly anticipated negotiations.
“We are reconvening next week to finalize constituency allocations, taking into account the additional four new ones plus the outstanding seven,” he explained. It later surfaced that Gaborone Central, Gaborone North, Mogoditshane, Tswapong North, Francistown West, Tati West, and Nata Gweta are all contested by both BCP and AP. This is because the other 50 constituencies were allocated by December of last year.
The three parties have failed to find common ground for the Bosele Ward by-elections. Are these constituencies not a deal breaker for the talks? “None of the constituencies is a deal breaker,” responded a very calm BCP official.
In Bosele Ward, AP has yielded to BCP, despite most of its members disapproving the decision. On the other hand, BLP has refused, and it will face off with BCP together with Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).
The decision by BLP to face off with BCP has been labelled as a false start for the talks by political observers.