President Lt. Gen. Dr. Ian Khama’ s administration has unilaterally increased salaries of Public Servants by 3% effective 1st of April 2016. The increment comes notwithstanding that currently Botswana Federation of Public Sectors Union (BOFEPUSU) has appealed an Industrial Court ruling which was in favour of Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) that barred them from sitting and continuing in the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC).
According to Public Service Management Directive No.4 of 2016 adjustment of salaries “addressees are informed that government has decided a salary increase of 3% across board. This increase of the public service includes members of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), Botswana Police, Prisons Service and Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC).”
Since the matter is still at the Court of Appeal and therefore has rendered the Bargaining Council dysfunctional – Council has since halted business – pending finalization of the dispute.
“It is really surprising that when the matter is still at the courts of law, the government takes this decision to increase salaries of public servants which is mandate of the PSBC,” BOFEPUSU Secretary General Tobokani Rari told WeekendPost.
That government has implemented the 3% without regard to court process, he said goes to show that the Executive undermines the Judiciary. “This means that the Executive is somehow pre-empting what the judiciary will implement and so this is undermining and interference to the Judiciary.”
He told this publication that by by-passing PSBC, “the government has defied both the provisions of Public Service Act on duties of PSBC, and, Justice Michael Leburu’s judgement that nobody has the right to interfere on duties of PSBC on salary and Conditions of Service.”
According to Rari, the Industrial Court judgement by Judge Tebogo Maruping has declared that salary negotiations should not continue. “PSBC should decide on salary increment and currently the courts have a case and should adjudicate on it.”
Rari insisted that right now there is nothing at PSBC because the matter is still at the courts. Until we find out if PSBC has been dismantled by the CoA that’s when this unilateral increment could have been the right decision, he said. “Let’s say PSBC has been dismantled, then that’s when government has powers to increase. In that case it’s okay, but we are not at that stage yet.”
“The question is, what if the case can restore BOFEPUSU in case CoA Judges agree with us and what is going to happen next if government awarded this 3%?” Rari asked rhetorically.
Rari remembered that it is not the first time that Khama unilaterally announced the government workers salary increment at the expense of the Bargaining Council despite Justice Leburu’s previous rulings.
“Judge Leburu ruled that Parliament has given an entity established through a Parliament Act to decide on salary increases and conditions of service. If you remember the government’s argument was that if the salary negotiations take long and the President has powers to increase salaries of workers willy-nilly, and Justice Leburu cautioned that they will be preaching statutes and rendering the Bargaining Council powerless, and there will be two centres of power,” he said.
Meanwhile the unionist concluded that the public will make their own conclusions of whether BOPEU may be conniving with the government on the case they launched at the Industrial Court which ended up delaying and, later appealed at the CoA in which a one-sided decision was taken to bypass the temporarily dysfunctional Bargaining Council.
“Public and Workers should look at the turn of events from the beginning to now. As for me I reserve my comment.”
For his part, BOPEU President, Andrew Motsamai admitted that the PSBC is currently in limbo owing to their in-fighting as unions.
“We hope that our issues will be resolved because it’s the Bargaining Council that could have negotiated instead of government,” he pointed out.
Motsamai highlighted to WeekendPost that they could be raising the issue of whether it was procedural or not for President Khama to increase government employees’ salaries only if they had a functioning PSBC.
“I cannot say if it’s legal or not, and whether it’s wrong or not as employees expect an increase even though PSBC is in limbo,” he justified. “What is it that the employer is supposed to do when the PSBC is not functional?” he asked.
BOPEU president said he hopes that going forward they will be able solve their issues to make employees happy.
When commenting on the 3% increment, Motsamai stated that it’s disappointing as the workers deserve more than that. “We are not happy with 3% but if employees have something its better – while we are sorting out our issues.”
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.