Government will foot the legal bill of a Madiba Senior School teacher, after having lost a case against her last Friday. Government had subjected the teacher to suffering and embarrassment by halting her salary and ceasing her payments of medical aid and pension contributions for well over four months.
By halting the salary of the teacher Ellen Morula under questionable circumstances, court ruled last Friday that the government had acted in violation of both the Public Service Act as well as the Employment Act. Morula, who is employed at Madiba Senior Secondary School in Mahalapye, had her salary halted for more than 4 months (and counting) including benefits such as medical and pension contributions.
Up to now, Morula continues to discharge her functions as a teacher as she continues to be allocated classes at Madiba by the school management albeit without pay. When presenting the ‘draft consent order’ which is not entirely in favour of government on Friday at the High Court, Justice Michael Leburu stated that government should pay all dues to the teacher in question, including the legal cost of the applicant.
Justice Leburu stressed in the order that: “the respondent (government) is ordered to pay all arrears salaries, benefits, including pension contributions and medical aid subscriptions, immediately, and forthwith.” In addition, the Gaborone High Court Judge also ordered intensely that “the respondent (government) pay 10 per cent per annum on the outstanding salaries and benefits from the date they fell due to the date of payment.” Justice Leburu did not spare government also in the conclusion of his judgement further ordering the respondent (government) at the end to also pay the costs of the application before the Judgeship (that he presided over).
Court papers seen by WeekendPost indicate that Morula was unceremoniously put under what the Ministry of Education officials termed “suspended assignment” from “active assignment”. The ministry had seen the teacher to be acting in insubordination after she failed to resume duty following voluntary transfer.
According to the senior teacher, she could not continue with the transfer she voluntarily opted for given her health condition; and went further to state that travelling 80km every day was going to be detrimental to her health. But later on, to her dismay, she said in court papers that she was shocked that her salary, medical aid contributions, and pensions were stopped by the Directorate for Public Service Management (DPSM).
She narrated that this happened after she has conceded to move to Swaneng Senior Secondary School with the advice of the Ministry of Education officials, with the condition that she would later move to Shashe River Senior Secondary School in Tonota, where, owing to her ill health, will be closer to the cardiology clinic in Francistown.
When she got to Shashe however, she said in court papers, she was told by the school head that they did not need a Biology teacher and was ordered to go back to Madiba which she did. Morula continued to point out that surprisingly, and after a long passage of time, on the 24th May 2017, she received a letter written by the Director alleging that she had refused to go on transfer and that she should show cause why a disciplinary action should not be taken against her.
The senior teacher said she was then advised by her attorney, Uyapo Ndadi of Ndadi Law Firm, that the employer in terms of the Public Service Act could only stop payment as a punishment following a disciplinary hearing as per section 40 of the Public Service Act. She further stressed that no disciplinary hearing had ever taken place against her prior to the termination of payment of her salary and benefits.
“I am further advised the DPSM has a legal duty to pay me monthly salaries and failure to do so is in violation of the employment Act. My attorneys will deal with this point in argument,” she had submitted in her initial papers. As a result, her attorney Ndadi had also stated in court papers that the client was gravely suffering financial prejudice and embarrassment, and any further delay would invariably worsen her situation.
Ndadi said that they were monitoring whether the government will respect the court order and pay the said teacher who is likely to smile all the way to the bank as the festive season slowly creeps in. While Morula was represented by Ndadi and Ramou Jallow both from Ndadi Law Firm M. Taunyane stood in for the government through the Attorney General Chambers.
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.
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.
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.