Andrew Motsamai, the Executive chairman of the Babereki Investment, the business wing of the Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) is being roasted by a National Executive Committee that he installed to power in Palapye in 2015.
The BOPEU NEC has slapped its former President with a ten days leave of absence albeit he was already on a ten days off period. It has been suggested that the NEC is still investigating the accusations against the Executive chairman. The BOPEU NEC, led by Masego Mogwera, who was handed power by Motsamai in February this year gets legal advice from Advocate Sidney Pilane who is on retainer basis with the union.
Motsamai, who has led BOPEU for ten years as President is now Executive Chairman and has a five year contract that has only run for about six months, and indications are that the termination terms border solely on elapse of the five year contract and BOPEU chooses not to renew; or Motsamai failure, during his contract, to follow company terms and conditions of employment that warrant termination.
The twist in the whole episode is that the Executive Chairman is being accused of some events that took place before he was employed by Babereki Investments. Most the resolutions were signed in 2015 and 2016. A direct accusation to Motsamai is the recommendation he made to the Board where he advised that FutureOne, a company under Babereki Investments, which sells cellphones and other gadgets be liquidated because it was not profitable. The voluntary winding up resolution was taken on June 28 this year, and it could have been earlier and it not been of the absence of Mogwera and other members who were flying to various destinations abroad in May. Dutch Leburu was procedurally instructed to do the voluntary winding up of FutureOne.
The Board which includes Masego Mogwera, Martin Gabobake, and Tlhabologo Galekhutle among others had agreed with the recommendation and ratified it. But the latest developments point to a fed up group that wants to disown the recommendation. Babereki Investment had injected close to P7 million into the company. A more pronounced complaint in the unfolding farce are accusations that Motsamai as Executive Chairman watched as one of the financial officers illegally benefited from a car scheme designed for one of the subsidiaries, Babereki Ka Lorato.
The company Board, which Motsamai is not a member of, had in 2015 made a resolution to procure cars from Avis Botswana. The said officer had procured a personal car through the same scheme. The Babereki Investment CFO has bought, through the Babereki Ka Lorato scheme a Range Rover from Avis, and in one of the company trial balances it appeared that the car was paid for twice in one month, an anomaly that attracted the attention of the BOPEU NEC. However the CFO is said to have made it clear that he has been paying for the car and he has proof of the payments he is making towards the car. Ironically the Babereki Ka Lorato board is chaired by Martin Gabobake and Motsamai is not even a member of the said board. Gabobake signed the resolution that allowed the purchase of Avis cars.
Babareki Ka Lorato has been facing cashflow problems for a considerable time and Gabobake’s board had to ask Babereki Investment to make payments on its behalf for the financial year 2016/2017 as part of “inter-company” transactions. This was agreed through a board resolution signed on 06-07-2016 by Martin Gabobake, as board chairperson, Lazarus Molefi and Ernest Molome as Directors. Babereki Ka Lorato was to reimburse Babereki Investment as soon as the cashflow situation allows. All payments made on behalf of Babereki Ka Lorato were to attract an interest of 7.5%. It is understood that this is one of the resolutions that has put Motsamai and the BOPEU NEC at odds with the latter indicating that he was never part of the decision or the board that made the resolution. However Gabobake is fighting on Mogwera’s corner in the bid to remove Motsamai from employment.
The BOPEU NEC is also having second thoughts about a resolution they signed in connection with an investment in Flying Mission Services. Babereki Investments was to invest an amount of P1, 176, 000.00 in Flying Mission Services Pty Ltd, an air charter company. The investment was to be split between share capital and medium term debt, in a manner as the shareholders may determine as most optimal for the business once a due diligence and valuation has been completed. Babereki Investment was to pay P436 000 towards license fees; P600 000 as loan payable in P200 000 installments; and a credit card valued at P140 000. Andrew Motsamai was “authorized to execute all necessary documentation and do anything that may be required to give effect to the resolution.”
With tempers flaring at BOPEU, Motsamai’s exit from the organisation he helped build is a glaring reality. He looks set to separate with his now employers and his contract terms could see him make more money in six months than he has made when he worked for government for over two decades. BOPEU may be compelled to pay him the contract remainder, four years and six months. The value is estimated in the region of P6 million. It is not clear of Motsamai’s termination could dissuade him from participating in BOPEU affairs, a qualified scientist, the former BOPEU president could whirl his way back into civil service and launch a political battle.
Meanwhile BONA Life was to borrow BOPEU P300 million at a low interest rate and the deal was quashed by the NEC because they were not happy that the deal was brokered by a middle man. BOPEU has currently put a moratorium of member loans because of cash problems. BOPEU currently operates on funds sourced from Babereki Investments. For his part Motsamai maintains a calm response, “it will be sad for the loyal BOPEU members to hear that I could be fighting an organisation that I have known my entire adult life. I have actually denied my family a father, a husband among other roles just because of the love I have for the organisation. I will not be asked to talk about my contractual matters and of course my Babereki Investment roles with the media, I choose to respect my organisation and to see the way forward in the most appropriate process,” he said.
Motsamai said what is important is to know that Babereki Investments is one of the few indigenous entities that should make BOPEU members and Batswana proud. “We should make sure that it continues to be one of the flagship organisations in this country.” The former BOPEU president refused to talk about money, BOPEU politics and control insinuations. “Everything that Babereki Investments has done is in black and white, we have resolutions to all that is necessary, thank you,” he said.
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.”
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.
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.