Connect with us
Advertisement

Inside Khamas retirement package

President of Botswana, Ian Khama

Assistant Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration (MOPAPA), Phillip Makgalemele is expected to table a bill in Parliament giving President Ian Khama a 30 percent gratuity, among a raft of other generous rewards.

The bill was first published on the 24th of March 2016 and it will be the last bill argued by legislators in the current session.

If passed, it will repeal the previous presidents (Pensions and Retirement benefits) and is so flexible that instead of a presidential palace and an office, a former states person may choose to be given an office and residential allowance and contrary to the current Act, the President’s house or office may be constructed outside Gaborone.

It states that, “a retired President is given the option to choose between having an office, where he or she prefers,of the standard and size specified by the President or receiving office accommodation allowance using the prevailing Gaborone market rental rates.”

In the planned Act, there is also a new provision to construct palaces for former presidents outside the capital.

A further clause states, “a retired President is given the option to choose between having a residential house of the standard and size specified by the President or receiving a housing allowance in lieu of the house. A restriction to having the official residence in Gaborone has been removed.”

“The President shall upon dissolution of Parliament, or immediately ceasing to hold office as such, be entitled to receive a gratuity equal to 30 percent of his or current monthly basic salary multiplied by the number of months completed by him or her as President,” it further provides.

According to the bill, any person who has been President shall, immediately upon ceasing to hold office as such be entitled to receive a tax free monthly pension equivalent to the monthly basic salary attached to the office of President the time that he or she ceases to hold office, or 80 percent of the incumbent President’s salary, whichever is greater.

The mooted Act is equally generous to spouses of former Presidents.

It states that a surviving spouse of a person who has held the office of President, who dies in office, shall be paid a tax free monthly pension at 50 per cent of the pension that the former President would have been entitled to receive if they had retired at the date the occurrence of the death.

It further states that the spouse of a former President who dies after ceasing to hold office shall be paid a tax free monthly salary pension at the rate of 50 percent of the pension that the former President would have received but for the occurrence of such death.

Any surviving spouse shall also be paid a tax free annual pension of P182, 316.00 provided that the President may, by order, amend the provision by increasing the amount of pension payable.
If there is no surviving spouse or the spouse subsequently dies, the 50 per cent will be payable to any dependent children less than 21 years of age.

The entire president’s gratuity, pensions and other benefits shall be a charge on the Consolidated Fund,which is the most important of all government accounts.

The bill states, however, that the benefits will not be paid should the former leader of state pay allegiance to a foreign power or State. When they are sentenced to death or to serve a prison term and the sentence has not been wholly suspended, a sitting President may withhold the benefits if he sees it fit.

The gratuity, pension and all other benefits will be stopped in case the former President dies, or in case of marriage of the surviving spouse or when their dependent child reaches the age of 21 years.

The bill also states that when the former President, spouse or their offspring is ruled to be bankrupt, the pension, other benefits and their value shall not form part of the assets of their insolvent estate.

‘Other Benefits’

The former President is also entitled to a number of security officers as determined by the sitting President, two drivers, one private secretary, one secretary and one office attendant.

They are also entitled to office accommodation of the standard and size specified by the President in a location where the former President may prefer, or a monthly office accommodation allowance based on the prevailing Gaborone market rental rates. It includes a telephone, computer/word processor, office furniture and other office equipment as may be determined by a sitting President.

They are also entitled to a furnished residential house of the standard and size specified by the President, or a monthly housing allowance based on prevailing Gaborone market rental rates,two maids and one gardener.

The former President and spouse are also entitled to State sponsored medical aid and he or she will also be a beneficiary of first class air and rail travel within Botswana.

First class air travel will also extend to international trips up to a maximum of 4 trips per annum(including a spouse if accompanying)and per diem for each trip as may be determined by a sitting President.

For his transport need he or she will also be a recipient of one sedan (Mercedes Benz or an equivalent or similar class of motor vehicle), one 4 wheel drive station wagon and one pick-up van and they will be replaced as and when necessary, like other government vehicles, albeit being in the permanent disposal of the former President.

He will also receive entertainment allowance determined by a sitting President, telephone expenses as well as water and electricity expenses for the office and residence.

Continue Reading

News

Fighting vulture poisoning in KAZA region.

3rd February 2023
As a response to avert vulture poisoning currently going on in Botswana and KAZA region, Birdlife Botswana has collaborated with three other partners (BirdWatch Zambia, BirdLife International & Birdlife Zimbabwe) to tackle wildlife poisoning which by extension negatively affect vulture populations.

The Director of Birdlife Botswana, Motshereganyi Virat Kootshositse has revealed in an interview that the project which is funded by European Union’s main goal is to reduce poisoning related vultures’ death and consequently other wildlife species death within the KAZA region.

He highlighted that Chobe district in Botswana has been selected as a pilot site as it has experienced rampant incidents of vulture poisoning for the past few months. In August this year at least 50 endangered white backed vultures were reported dead at Chobe National Park, Botswana after feeding on a buffalo carcass laced with poison.  In November this year again 43 white backed vultures were found dead and two alive after feeding on a zebra suspected to have poisoned.  Other selected pilots’ sites are Kafue in Zambia and Hwange in Zimbabwe.

Kootshositse further explained they have established a national and regional Wildlife Poisoning Committee. He added that as for the national committee they have engaged various departments such as Crop Productions, Agro Chemicals, Department of Veterinary Services, Department of Wildlife and National Parks and other NGOs such as Raptors Botswana to come together and find a long-lasting solution to address wildlife poisoning in Botswana. ‘Let’s have a strategy or a plan together to tackle wildlife poisoning,’ he stated

He also decried that there is gap in the availability of data about vulture poisoning or wildlife in general. ‘If we have a central point for data, it will help in terms of reporting and advocacy’, he stated

He added that the regional committee comprises of law enforcement officers such as BDF and Botswana police, village leadership such as Village Development Committee and Kgosi. ‘We need to join hand together and protect the wildlife we have as this will increase our profile for conservation and this alone enhances our visitation and boost our local economy,’ he noted

Kootshositse noted that Birdlife together with DWNP also addressed series of meeting in some villages in the Chobe region recently. The purpose of kgotla meetings was to raise awareness on the conservation and protection of vultures in Chobe West communities.

‘After realizing that vulture poisoning in the Chobe areas become frequent, we realise that we need to do something about it.  ‘We did a public awareness by addressing several kgotla meetings in some villages in the Chobe west,’ he stated

He noted that next year they are going to have another round of consultations around the Chobe areas and the approach is to engage the community into planning process. ‘Residents should be part of the plan of actions and we are working with farmers committee in the areas to address vulture poisoning in the area, ‘he added

He added that they have found out that some common reasons for poisoning wildlife are farmers targeting predators such as lions in retaliation to killing of their livestock. Another common incident cross border poaching in the Chobe area as poachers will kills an elephant and poison its carcass targeting vultures because of their aerial circling alerting authorities about poaching activities.

Kootshositse noted that in the last cases it was disheartening the incidents occurred three months apart. He added that for the first time they found that some of the body parts of some vultures were missing. He added harvesting of body parts of vultures is not a common practice in Botswana, although it is used in some parts of Africa. ‘We suspect that someone took advantage of the availability of carcasses and started harvesting their body parts,’

Continue Reading

News

Giant in the making: Everton Mlalazi

3rd February 2023

The music industry is at a point where artists are jostling for space because there are so many aspirants trying to get their big break, thus creating stiff competition.

In the music business it’s about talent and positioning. You need to be at the right place at the right time with the right people around you to propel you forward.
Against all odds, Everton Mlalazi has managed to takeover the gospel scene effortlessly.
To him, it’s more than just a breakthrough to stardom, but a passion as well as mission directly appointed by the Lord.

Within a short space of 2 years after having decided to persue a solo career, Mlalazi has already made it into international music scene, with his music receiving considerable play on several gospel television and radio stations in Botswana including other regional stations like Trace Africa, One Gospel, Metro FM in South Africa, Hope FM in Kenya and literally all broadcast stations in Zimbabwe.

It doesn’t only stop there, as the musician has already been nominated 2 times and 2 awards which are Bulawayo Arts Awards (BAA) best Male artists 2022, StarFM listerners Choice Award, Best Newcomer 2021 and ZIMA Best Contemporary Gospel 2022, MLA awards Best Male artist & Best Gospel Artist 2022.

Everton’s inspiration stems from his ultimate passion and desire to lead people into Godly ways and it seems it’s only getting started.
The man is a gospel artist to put on your radar.

Continue Reading

News

African countries call on WHO to increase funding

2nd February 2023

Minister of Health Dr Edwin Dikoloti says Africa member states call on World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure equitable resource allocation for 2024-2025. Dr Dikoloti was speaking this week at the WHO Executive Board Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

He said countries agreed that there is need to address the budget and funding imbalances by increasing the programme budget share of countries and regions to 75% for the next year.

“The proposed budget for 2024-2025 marks an important milestone as it is the first in Programme Budget in which country offices will be allocated more than half of the total budget for the biennium. We highly welcome this approach which will enable the organization to deliver on its mandate while fulfilling the expectations for transparency, efficiency and accountability.”

The Botswana Health Minister commended member states on the extension of the General Programme of Work (GPD 13) and the Secretariat work to monitor the progress towards the triple billion targets, and the health-related SDGs.

“We welcome the Director’s general proposed five priorities which have crystalized into the “five Ps” that are aligned with the GPW 13 extension. Impact can only be achieved through close coordination with, and support to national health authorities. As such, the strengthening of country offices is instrumental, with particular focus on strengthening national health systems and on promoting more equitable access to health services.”

According to Dr Dikoloti, the majority of countries with UHC index that is below the global median are in the WHO Africa region. “For that, we call on the WHO to enhance capacity at the regional and national levels in order to accelerate progress. Currently, the regional office needs both technical and financial support in order to effectively address and support country needs.”

Continue Reading