Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) is expected to file an urgent application to the courts seeking an interdict on the latest stance of unilateral salary, allowances and conditions of services adjustment by the government for un-unionised civil servants.
BOFEPUSU Secretary General, Tobokani Rari, believes that Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP), Carter Morupisi, is misleading the government on issues of the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC) and public service in general and deliberately causing division within the public service which forms the larger part of the country’s working class.
“He precipitates divisions within the public service and he is the reason for the low morale in the public service,” Rari said in a press statement when he condemned government stance to leave out unionised public servants in the salary adjustments. Government, through the PSP, on Wednesday revealed the adjustment of salaries for only non-unionized cadre excluding their unionised counterparts for the second financial year running.
This means Botswana Defence Force (BDF), Police, Prison, Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and Directorate on Intelligence Security Services (DISS) workers will get a slight modification on their salaries, allowances and conditions of services. Others who received the adjustments are Councillors, World War Veterans, Ipelegeng Workers, Old age pensioners and VDC members among few others.
Morupisi has linked this divide and rule tactic to the pending court cases between the two. According to Rari, the flimsy excuse put forward by the PSP that there is a restraining order “that prohibits government from adjusting salaries and related allowances of public servants who are members of unions admitted into the PSBC,” doesn’t hold water as it is a distortion of facts and misleading to the public. “In fact, Court has restrained unilateral increments and directed that government is bound by law to take any proposed increment to the PSBC,” Rari clarified.
The government’s decision to exclude unionized employees from salary adjustment, comes two weeks after the Industrial court ruled against a similar government decision. In the case, re-branded Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BUAN) was ordered to pay all its unionized staff a deserved 3 per cent (%) inflation adjustment, after the university denied them that right. Industrial Court Judge, Annah Mathiba ruled that leaving out unionized employees in such an action was “unfair”, it was a “discriminatory practise,” and “unlawful.”
However, the BOFEPUSU’s Secretary General, Tobokani Rari, views the government’s decision as an excuse to evade the route to bargaining as ordered by the courts. “We find this conduct by government not only inconsistent, but also malicious, resembling bad intentions and reminiscent of hypocrisy of the worst order,” Rari quipped. The incensed BOFEPUSU known of their radical mentality have consulted their lawyers on the matter.
“We have instructed them to file an urgent application to interdict the current unilateral salary increment, to wait for determination of the Courts so that the council can be given a chance to deal with the salary negotiations and conditions as per the mandate of the PSBC,” Rari added.
The feud between the two parties has been dragging on for some time, as there are still many documents at the courts between the two. BOFEPUSU further argues that Morupisi made this ‘erratic and outrageous’ pronouncement contrary to established procedure that the Director of DPSM would: “In his power mongering act, Mr. Morupisi has usurped the powers of DPSM and sidelined Mrs. Ruth Maphorisa who is the Director of DPSM.”
Rari further pleaded with Morupisi to voluntarily resign, failing which, “we call the President to relieve him of his duties”. Under Morupisi’s tenure as the Director of DPSM and PSP, BOFEPUSU say they have witnessed regression, nepotism, maladministration and rising institutionalized corruption. “It is clear that Mr Morupisi is responsible for the current mess in the public service therefore not fit for office,” Rari said.
Salaries and Related Allowances: A 4% increment in the salaries and related allowances, including a housing and upkeep adjustment of P100, is being awarded to all staff members of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) and Police and Prison Services, along with the Directorates of Intelligence and Security and Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), to specified officers being the Chairperson and other members of the Public Service Commission, the Attorney General, Auditor General, Secretary of the Independent Electoral Commission, Director of Public Prosecutions, Judicial Service and to Dikgosi, as well as to non-unionised members of the public service.
Adjustment of Salary Grade of Dikgosi: It has also been decided to further enhance the salaries of all Dikgosi by grading them upwards by one level on the salary scale, e.g. those Dikgosi who were previously graded at D1 will now be graded at E2. Councillors' Housing Allowance:
A new monthly housing allowance of P1,200.00 is to be introduced that will now cover all ordinary Council members, while the existing housing allowances for Council and Sub-Council Chairpersons and Deputy Chairpersons and Mayors and Deputy Mayors will be maintained at their current levels.
Social Grant Increase: With regard to Social Grants, an increase by P100 a month has been authorised for the benefit of the following recipient categories:
(i) Old Age Pensioners, from P330.00 to P430.00 (ii) World War II veterans, from P450 to P550 (iii) Home Based Care, from 202.80 to 302.80 (iv) Umbrella Village Development Committee (VDC),from P240.00 to P340.00 (v) VDC, from P220.00 to P 320.00
Ipelegeng Increment means that Monthly payments for those participating in the Ipelegeng Programme are also to be increased as follows: Supervisors from P620.00 to P651.00; Ordinary members from P540.00 to P567.00.
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.