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BTU vs DPSM: Attorneys rip into one another’s client

Making final representations in a case where Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) and Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) leader Johannes Tshukudu wants court to rescind his transfer, attorneys on the case ripped in into each other’s client without reservation.

Counsel for the union boss Mboki Chilisa raised issue with the credibility of Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM), deputy director Theophilous Mooko.

Chilisa said that Mooko’s evidence lacks credibility as he had contradicted himself by abandoning his initial position that he telephoned Tshukudu to tell him that he was being transferred, later changing tack in fresh court papers to say that he told him that he was being considered for transfer.

Chilisa argued that in the transfer process Tshukudu was not afforded meaningful consultation as he was called to a meeting with DPSM bosses without knowledge of its agenda.

“You don’t call an individual to a meeting and spring upon him asking why he should not be transferred.”Chilisa asserted.

He however said that he is alive to the fact that an individual’s right to be heard might fall away in terms of an emergency transfer and that while DPSM says it has in the past transferred teachers from their posts to the Ministry of Education and Stills Development (MoESD), they have however failed to cite cases where they have been extricated from the classroom to alien environments.

He also says that DPSM has run parallel the general orders which state that in cases of vacancy filling, priority has to always be given employees in the Ministry.

Chilisa also appealed that DPSM be slapped with costs as the same court has previously dealt with four similar cases of improper transfers but state bodies seem not to learn.

“The court has spoken strongly against this and it seems it has to always repeat itself so it is only appropriate to grant costs against them.” He continued, “and if the court doesn’t do that it will be encouraging such behavior to continue.” Chilisa stated.

For his part counsel for DPSM Sono Seisa argued that Tshukudu did not expressly address the mandatory question of what harm will befall him if the decision to suspend him is upheld, only leaving the court to speculate.

He said that he speculates based on court papers that Tshukudu has an insatiable appetite for power and sees himself as the only leader of his unions.

He continued that he holds a desire to occupy his position as a teacher but not to actually teach, adding, “It is always about power to him and it is his perception that he and the teachers union are one. He sees himself as the union and the union as him.” Seisa lashed.

He said Tshukudu should have gone before Public Services Bargaining Council (PSBC) for redress or for mediation before taking the route of litigation.

Seisa also said that consultation cannot solely be judged on being offered a meeting’s agenda and that it remains the sole prerogative of government to decide where it places individuals because involving employees in such decisions would paralyse government and institutions.

Tshukudu, BTU and BOFEPUSU treasurer general Moses Monnatsie were both transferred to Ministry of Transport and Communications and Ministry of Youth and Culture respectively. Tshukudu argues that the transfer was done unprocedurally and charges at his unions fear that it was a ploy to weaken BOFEPUSU leadership as the two men would no longer unionise with the unions they lead. Monnatsie is not challenging his transfer and has reportedly reported for duty.

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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

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.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021

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.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

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.

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