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ILO gives Mabeo ultimatum

The Minister responsible for Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, Tshenolo Mabeo has been given up to November to have fulfilled the new recommendations by International Labour Organization (ILO).

The Botswana government appeared before the 107th International Labour Conference (ILC) which ended yesterday (Friday), to answer for four counts of negligence of deadlines and failure to implement recommendations from last year’s recommendations. Appearing before the ILO Committee of Applied Standards (CAS) government representative, Dr Athalia Molokomme acknowledged the recommendations of the committee and confirmed that the government is pursuing labour review through the tripartite labour law review committee.

“The government was committed to engaging experts meeting in November 2018 and would continue to resort to the tripartite structures to progress with the legislative agenda and reforms, including the labour law review, during the November sitting of parliament,” she said.
For a long time now, since government and trade unions washed their dirty linen in the international stage scene, the main contention has been freedom of association and protection of the right to organize convention.

The committee welcomed government’s agreement to broaden the scope of the labour law review. Taking into account the government submissions and the discussion that followed, the committee called upon the Mabeo led Ministry to implement some recommendations.
 “Amend the trade unions and employers organizations act, in consultation with employers and workers organizations to bring in into conformity with the convention,” ILO advised.

The Labour ministry, which is now working hand in hand with Nonofo Molefhi’s Presidential Affairs and Public Administration ministry, is yet to provide further information on the court of appeal ruling on the invalidity of statutory provisions. CAS further wants the government to ensure that the registration of trade unions in law and in practice conforms to the convention and process pending applications for the registration of trade unions in particular the public sector which have met the requirements set out by law.

The committee had called upon the government to address these recommendations within the framework of the ongoing labour law review and in full consultation with the social partners. The government is further urged to continue availing itself to ILO technical assistance in this regard and to report progress of the committee of experts before its meeting in November 2018.  

The Committee, in the letter to the local delegation, said it regrets that despite the request of the Conference Committee, the Government’s report had not been received. This has also been confirmed by BOFEPUSO Secretary Tobokani Rari.  “While we appreciate what has been done, it should be noted that we are disappointed by the government failure to abide by the deadlines set by committee.”

“While noting the classification at national level of the prison service as ‘disciplined force’, the Committee reiterates that the police, the armed forces and the prison service are governed by separate legislation, which does not provide members of the prison service with the same status as the armed forces or the police,” read a statement from ILO. The government has been requested to once again, take within the framework of the ongoing labour law review, the necessary legislative measures to ensure that prison officers enjoy the right to establish and join trade unions.

CAS has pleaded with the Government to take the necessary measures to amend the Trade disputes bill to reduce the list of essential services accordingly. While the committee noted the Government’s statement before the Conference that, while the interruption of certain services in some countries may only cause economic hardships, it can prove disastrous in others and rapidly lead to conditions that might endanger the life, personal safety or health of the population and stability of the country;

that flexibility is necessary to take into account the socio-economic circumstances of the country; and that the original list of essential services in the Trade Dispute Act. Essential services, in which the right to strike may be restricted or even prohibited, as is the case in Botswana, should be limited to those the interruption of which would endanger the life, personal safety or health of the workers.

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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.

Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021

Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.

Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.

Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”

“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.

He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.

He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.

According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.

There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.

Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.

“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication.
The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.

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