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Tsogwane to mend relations with unions

The newly elected vice president, Slumber Tsogwane is looking forward to a good working relationship with Botswana Federation of Public, Private and Parastatal Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) for a better Botswana.

The Boteti West legislature told this publication in an interview on Thursday that, “Measures are in place to continue to work hard and hear Batswana’s concerns and solve their problems in different sectors as they all contribute to growing of the economy,” Tsogwane said. “Trade unions should bring issues of workers and we tackle them. We want to work with them so that Batswana can come to appreciate challenges affecting government during difficult times,” he added.

While the vice president concedes that government’s relationship with trade unions deteriorated during the last general elections, he holds a strong view that, “But their support for political parties, specifically the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) during the 2014 general elections was against their mandate. Civil servants must be apolitical.”

He stated that the unions’ perception has always been that government was not taking their issues serious. “And government has always maintained that civil service is part of the government. If the government says there is no money-it’s genuine,” he pointed out. He said they have a committee at Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) which engages unions on regular bases and gives feedback and provides services.

Quizzed about the collapsed Bargaining council, the vice president said they have always made it known to the unions that they must seat on a round table and discuss issues. He said if the council ever collapses, the unions were the ones to be blamed, and not the government.

Tsogwane also told this publication that he never dreamt of being a vice president. All he wanted was to represent people in his rural village of Rakops. “I never had an ambition of becoming anything except a Member of Parliament for Boteti, yes, not even a ministerial position. It was not in my agenda.” If elected in the next general elections, Tsogwane said he will continue to serve the people of Boteti. “And I will serve government in any capacity the people and the president would have chosen me to serve.”

On his relationship with President Mokgweetsi Masisi, Tsogwane stated that he was a close friend with the Masisi family including his late brother Tshelang. He said he worked well with Masisi as he worked as his deputy under the ministry of Rural Development Council. “He is so committed to his work and wants people who discharge their assignments.”

On his part, BOFEPUSU Acting Secretary General, Mogomotsi Motshegwa said they were also more than ready to work with the government, as long as they were also ready to work with the unions. “Actions speak louder than words,” he said, adding that government should demonstrate by resuscitation of the Public Service Bargaining Council.

“It is our view they had a hand in the collapse of the council. The Bargaining council is dead as we speak. He said government should also implement recommendations of the International Labour Organizations (ILO), including among others to harmonize labour laws to match ILO standards.

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Botswana approves extradition of British fugitive

20th March 2023

Raiz Ahmed Tayub, a British fugitive sought by Interpol for his involvement in human trafficking and slave trade crimes, was captured by the Botswana Police Service (BPS) earlier this year.

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BOCRA detects new cyber attacks targeted at Botswana

20th March 2023

Government owned communications regulator, Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) recently detected several cyber-attacks targeted at national information and communications infrastructure, companies and home routers in this country.

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Malawi appeals for help over Cyclone Freddy at PAP

17th March 2023

As of yesterday evening, the death toll from the Cyclone in Malawi had risen from the initially reported 190 to 225 in a short period of time, over 20 000 people have been displaced, and the worst of fears are yet to come as the fatalities continue to mount. This was reported by a Malawi Member of Parliament attending the Pan African Parliament session in Midrand, South Africa, Hon Steven Mikiya.

Mikiya was giving a statement on behalf of Malawi as the ongoing Pan African Parliament in South Africa.

Mikiya said the Cyclone has wreaked the most havoc in our country’s Southern Region. “The Southern Region, has been hardest hit with widespread heavy rains and strong winds. This caused a rapid rise in water levels and subsequent flooding. Meanwhile, power supply has been disrupted, roads blocked off and rendered impassable and mudslides have also been widely reported,” he said.

He made a special appeal to the PAP:  “Where I come from, there is a parable which I would like to share with you which says, “mzako weniweni umamudziwa panthawi ya mavuto.” Simply put, a friend in need is a friend indeed or put loosely, a person who helps at a difficult time is a friend you can rely on.”

Mikiya continued: “Yes! Misfortune has knocked on our door and left in its wake a trail of death and destruction that may take years to fully recover from. However, amidst these difficulties, I have every reason to believe that sometimes when you are in a dark place and think you have been buried, you have actually been planted. My belief, Mr. President, arises out of my faith in this gathering and out of the conviction that it is not coincidental that Cyclone Freddy hit Malawi and Mozambique while the delegations of both countries are here.”

According to Mikiya, the level of destruction, the loss of life, property and the decimation of the entire fabric of established communities has been unprecedented. He noted that all this, is coming at a time when Malawi was starting to show signs of recovery from the deadly COVID-19 pandemic that also came hard on the heels of Cyclone Ana and Cyclone Gombe that left a similar trail of devastation and destruction in Malawi and neighbouring countries.

As of Sunday, this week, from the 12th of March, Malawi and Mozambique have been facing the devastating effects of Cyclone Freddy that made a landfall over Mozambique on Saturday the 11th and reached Malawi by Sunday the 12th of March.

The Malawi legislator said he has absolute faith in the Pan African Parliament, which he described as “a league of nations brought together by a shared ancestry, history, identity as well as our beloved continent which we inhabit”.

Meanwhile, Malawi President, Lazarus Chakwera, has declared a State of Disaster in the affected areas effectively appealing for local and international support for the affected families.

Mikiya appealed to the Pan African Parliament drawing “positive” inspiration from Europe which rallied around Turkey after the destructive earthquakes to bring the much-needed relief and humanitarian aid to the people of Turkey.

He said Africa should demonstrate to the world that the African Union and its Organs are not mere talk shows, but effective institutions which stand up when it matters most.

“Alone, it may take us a lifetime to fully recover, but together, in the Pan-Africanist spirit of Ubuntu, our lives and livelihoods will return to a semblance of normality in record time. This is the time to live by our operative mantra, “One Africa, One Voice.” Mikiya concluded.

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