I wish to have space in your paper to express the working class frustrations we are made to undergo including harassment and non-respect to our Union Branch Committee by the regime that is supposed to be heading our generation SBU at Morupule B Power station including xenophobic remarks he continues to subject to all and sundry. It is sad.
The Director has no respect for the union operations and respect for its existence; not once has he bothered to address our branch committee on issues that affect our welfare ever since installed our director.
He continues to show disdain for Batswana every time we comment on best way to run the plant in the interest more of the nation now and in the long term.
Every time one is brave to comment, he is ever told how he/she ran Morupule A down ; this so powerful man forgets he was part of the director decision and influence whilst at Transmission to close down the plant that had two turbines and two boilers available to have run economically had he not done such which was all influenced in part by their selfish interest to cash on commission from funds that were to buy HFO rather preferring to run the high cost ever diesel plant.
It this very powerful man who has taken our roles as citizens to ensure effective Morupule B operations and surrendering it to expatriates like him who continuously run machinery to fail under disguise of production to satisfy his ego less safety and reliability hence the continuous shutdowns worse than when run by CNEEC. Hence the continued and unimproved services even after two years of his cronies operation.
It is him who issued scrupulous tenders running into more than millions of pulas per month circumventing tender regulations to his suspicious cronies as it happened to an all shocking vacuum cleaner truck that was manned by only two persons, ever packed running sometimes not more than ten days a month whilst the bulk of the supposed truck job was done by local and temporal labourers.
These people were employed for more than twelve months but treated as casuals thanks to this cruel and heartless director who cares less about citizens’ employment yet they were doing a critical job. Our union clarion call to the attention of this powerful man was as usual; “what did you do at Morupule A which is shut down”. When more pressure came from finance people about duplication of duties (‘his’ and Steag hired truck and people), the citizens were sacrificed in lieu of this powerful truck. And no sooner after the termination was done another set of labourers were employed and no one dared ask a thing.
How the truck was engaged through Steag instead of directly through BPC as the payer anyway gives a clear conflict of interest between this director, Steag and truck owner. The salaries for the forty labourers including overtime at the worst case scenario was never Pula One Hundred thousand per month at any given time and but rather 1.5 million pula per month on this monster.
We as the union do not have any platform to engage this powerful director for he is god himself and the only persons are his Steag people to whom he has abdicated his accountability, the welfare of Botswana Power Corporation generation facility and has no respect for citizens. He even brags that he does not care for he is marketable even if our government fires him. It is under the powerful director’s authority that we saw him get his blessed Steag set specifications for our plant simulator and then tender for its supply; and it only happens in generation SBU and only in BPC and most probably only here in Botswana more particular under such leadership of his kind and things are normal.
It is only under the directorship of this all-powerful man that purchasing has no rules; how he justified purchase of motors in excess of millions of Pulas to the Board when CNEEC has admitted to poor quality of installed ones and agreed to replacement with proper quality bits logic, it can only raise eye brows. At least the powerful director can learn a thing from his supposedly ‘useless’ Morupule A engineers as he calls them; all large motors are still in very good running state at that plant as at the time of his station closure influence and should still run. There is still no motor spare of such capacity to date at Morupule A for it is not necessary.
Thanks to the blank cheque you issued to your Steag ‘engineers who are mostly in all honesty (truth hurts) clueless when it comes to managing Plant maintenance. And how does he explain to the Board some of the scrupulous price changes and has he ever bothered to investigate some of his cronies’ international trips to supplier country regarding such, particularly his technically impaired staff. Just saying!
Yes, he pushes anybody anyhow and gets angry at questioning the competencies of some of his all-powerful Steag engineers and the relevance of their being here when they don’t have the requisite skills and competencies as per the expectations when the nation was told Steag was bringing expert skills. It is open knowledge that some of the Steag ‘engineers’ as they mostly are called are literally on the job training but our members told to be understudying them.
It only happens under the directorship of the all-powerful man from our neighbor where power generation facility is no better than ours that; we have the largest number of engineers against artisans or operators the whole world. And mostly freshers from school who would be monitoring what citizens are doing in the interest of their country and would be first to rush to the all-powerful director to report what they did. The citizen would never dare come closer to share the problem and how was solved with this powerful director lest he curse the day he was born.
Truth hurts; It is true that when your Steag was offered contract, it has or should have elements of manpower capacity and their competencies. It is only you and you alone who knows Steag staff competencies and you alone but finds it strange citizen managers appreciate steag staff ones whilst Steag has the audacity to do such to even those who have been training them for the past two years when they first came here; some of them extremely blank. You see this normal and we will not be surprised they report you untruths about citizens to ensure their continued stay here.
It only happens under you that a company coming from outside Botswana employs even the lowest foreign cadres in such fields as data collector, cleaner, driver and even ordinary artisans when we have an abundance of such in our national market; you fail to admit some of these guys are incompetent hence mostly in training hence always crowding together rather than with citizens to impart the alleged skills you claim they have-WHY!!!!!
It is only under your regime in the whole of Africa where we have such; of the total Production section, there are close to sixty Steag engineers doing mostly basic plant operations, which is Senior operator or operator against ten local engineers who are Shift Engineers, a total of at least fifty two maintenance engineers against fourteen local engineers. The result is commotion and collision over authorities in all these as the structures are top heavy under your regime.
How does one collect knowledge from such huge number of people whose role sometimes they even confess do not know but all here to gain experience. When asked questions about this drama Sir, you get so agitated and angry; develop hate, scorn and wish the questioner demonic death by your looks whilst pretend to appreciate the questions; the poor sole would receive your radiation hate impact which is more painful later. Our union has on numerous instances questioned your lieutenants on your intended succession plan to no avail safe for the useless training programs offered by Steag trainees turned trainers thanks to your Steag relationship. The caliber of supposedly artisans is mostly disastrous and your company should have recruited locals who do better.
It remains your closely guarded secret as to HR issues pertaining to you Steag/ BPC relations hence you continue to accept employees be trained under the shabby Steag training program. We only went through your program as we were threatened you would fire us as that program was your lifeline irrespective of its uselessness. That is why you found it normal that our crème-de-LA crème production engineers are said to have failed this useless program; to justify your friends’ continued stay here whilst you pass your accountability to them.
You have issued your Steag team blank cheque authorization certificates without requisite tests against the Corporation Safety Regulations hence the continued accidents to both man and machinery and you maintain your blind eye watch for it is your team mates. We know that if it was a local, you would dismiss him/her without even investigating. Your friends always blame their incompetency and noncompliance to regulations to system error or something; count how many reports you have swept under the carpet and that’s human blood on your hands sir. Your friends have not facilitated authorization of citizens not even provisional as you did for your Steag team; and you do not wonder why.
This is strange. We know you are preparing them for a coop in the station; but behold and beware, our union will fight this with all its might, what we gave you last time when you failed to address our economic plied whilst you continue splashing money indiscriminately to Steag through its mostly liability engineers and suppliers was nothing. We need to be told of Steag HR role in our welfare as a matter of urgency; information you the great director has endorsed about our welfare behind our union representation for so long thinking we may never get to know. Trust us Sir, if it contracts what we have signed with BPC, it not our Conditions of Service but yours and your Steag.
As I conclude, and having pumped sense into the powers that be over our economic hardships, we now call upon the August Board to dig deep into their economic acumen which we so much trust and value over the huge Steag staff complement in all levels and the relevance thereof c.f the their wage bill as passed to you for authorization. We sincerely belief this powerful director is giving our respectful Board a ‘Hear No Evil See No Evil’ feedback as regards his Steag. We have come to respect and feel honored to note our Board of Directors have us at heart after all and this, trust us, has got us all the reason to get back to deliver as promised in our honour and the Board. At least you have participated and gone through Chimurenga, so we trust you will withstand the heat soon as you have always boasted.
Finally; Note; Workers Power is Mightier and Greater Than Your Human authority. Whilst privileged to lead, know God can take that away but Working Class Struggle Continues. MOTSEI BODULA (Concerned Citizen and Employee)
Despite the President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi and his Namibian counterpart, Hage Geingob giving an impression that the borderline security disputes are a thing of the past and that diplomatic ties remain tight, fresh developments from Namibia suggest otherwise, following Geingod’s close confidante’s attack on Botswana and its army.
Giving a Zambezi region state of the affairs last week, a Geingob-appointed governor of Zambezi region, Colonel Lawrence Ampofu, a retired Colonel in the Namibian Defence Force, former plan combatant during the liberation struggle of Namibia, in a written speech, charged at the BDF and condemned their killings of the Namibians as unacceptable.
“The security situation within our borders remains calm. The incidence of the Botswana Defence Force shootings and wanton killings on the Nchindo Brothers on 05 November 2020 and other 37 Namibian lives lost since independence remain a serious challenge with our neighbor, Botswana.
Our residents living along the Chobe, Linyanti and Kwandu rivers are living under constant threats, harassment, fear, intimidation and killings and such activities are condemned and not acceptable,” he said under the safety and security title.
The attack suggests that Namibia has not bought Botswana’s story. Ampofu was part of the entourage that accompanied Geingob to the three Nchindo brothers and their cousin who were gunned down by the BDF, and is reported to be privy to the details of the unpublished Botswana-Namibia joint investigations report about the killings as a governor or political head of the region which has eight electoral constituencies.
The report contains the sensitive details of how the three Namibians referred as poachers by the BDF – and Fisherman by the Namibian government were gunned down on 5 November last year along the Chobe River. They were Tommy (48), Martin (40) and Wamunyima Nchindo (36), and their cousin Sinvula Muyeme (44).
His views are not really in contrast to his President’s views who also described the BDF as trigger happy in a scripted report to his cabinet.
The Zambezi region is located in the extreme north east part of Namibia and covers a total of 14,667.6 square kilometres. “We share borders with Angola, Zambia to the north, Zimbabwe to the east and Botswana to the South,” he said.
Sampofu was first appointed governor of the former Caprive Region in 2010 by the former Namibian president, Hifikepunye Pohamba and was reappointed as Zambezi governor by President Dr.Hage Geingob in 2015, a term running to 2025.
37 Namibia residents killed by Botswana army so far
Sampofu is a man who continues to insist that Botswana has killed 37 residents of his region. A video posted by the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) shows him alleging that at least 37 Namibians were killed by the BDF, after he met with the community at Impalila.
“It is true, the BDF started long ago. As we speak 37 lives have been lost here in Impalila along the Chobe river going to Linyanti and Kwado rivers up to Lizauli. All those families lost their loved ones,” Ampofu said in the video posted by NBC.
It is not known how the BDF, which has maintained their position that the Namibians were engaging in illegal activities of poaching, treats the constant attacks by the Namibian authorities, but they have repeatedly vowed to continue protecting the country’s sovereignty and natural resources.
Botswana’s premier brewer and leading distributor of beer, Kgalagadi Breweries Limited (KBL), this month dragged the government of Botswana to court after President Mokgweetsi Masisi imposed an alcohol ban with immediate effect. KBL labelled the decision as unjustifiable, irrational and that it overrides the rights that are enshrined in the constitution.
This week, Masisi through attorneys representing the government disparaged the case in his written affidavit of KBL’s application, referring to it as frivolous and that it ought to be dismissed with costs on a punitive scale.
In his court papers, Masisi reminded KBL that Botswana is a Republic whose laws find validity from the constitution, and in terms of Section 17 of the constitution the President is empowered to declare a State of Emergency and that it is a common cause that Botswana is under such state.
“It is common course that there is in existence emergency powers (Covid-19) Regulations 2020 as amended from time to time which is solely designed to regulate the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
Masisi pointed out that he denies that the application before Court is proper such as to challenge the lawfulness and validity of a regulation made and a notice published in the exercise of a legislative function in accordance with the Emergency Powers Act which empowers the President to make regulations as appear to him to be necessary and expedient for securing public safety.
Furthermore, the President revealed that the decision to ban alcohol sales was not arrived at willy-nilly, but rather that there had been careful considerations that the risks posed by Covid-19 had increased and therefore it was expedient and necessary to suspend all liquor licenses.
Moreover, Masisi denied that the decision to reinstate the ban should be made by the Director of Health Services as indicated by KBL in their nature of the application, “the Director is to cause the notice to be published in the Gazette after consultation with the President.”
Masisi indicated that the role of the Director of Health Services is to publish a regulation made by the President.
He further, reminded KBL that the power to make regulations in a State of Public Emergency in accordance with the EPA lies with the President, “such power includes the amendment of any enactment, suspending the operation of any enactment or modification of an enactment.”
According to Masisi, his decision to ban alcohol sales was based on evidence provided by the Director of Health Services who indicated to him that there was a sudden spike in the transmission of the Covid-19 virus following the reinstatement of liquor licenses.
Another piece of advice tendered by the Director of Health to Masisi was that bars and other liquor outlets were some of the major hotspots in the sense of such being high-risk areas at which the virus spread rapidly.
“Alcohol was one of the major causes of non-compliance with the health protocols that were put in place to control the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Further, there was an indication that more arrests were made on people failing to adhere to Covid-19 protocols more particularly at places where there were gatherings,” he contended.
He pointed out that therefore, it was expedient and or necessary to preserve lives and to reduce the risks of transmissions of the virus to reinstate the suspension of liquor licenses.
Moreover, the President says that it must be noted that he avers that the Director of Health Services is a credible source on matters of public health of which he also accordingly gave due weight to the Director’s advice on deciding to reinstate the ban through the impugned notice.
“I am aware and was always aware at the time of promulgating the regulation complained of that it shall negatively affect some sectors of the economy. However, after due consideration and receipt of advice, I decided to give priority to the safety and health of the nation,” Masisi said.
He presaged KBL that it would not be prudent and in the best interest of the nation to ignore a health emergency such as Covid-19 and gave preference to trading and making of profits by the applicant. “The results would only be catastrophic to the extent that when we emerge from the scourge we would be left with a depleted and ailing nation from Covid-19 and its side effects.”
Furthermore, his written affidavit further pointed out that the decision to reinstate the ban on alcohol was taken notwithstanding understanding and appreciation of the economic hardships that would befall the country.
However, he said he deliberately made the decision based on the evidence provided to him by the Director of Health, whose evidence he believes to be credible to give public/safety and health priority over economic considerations in some sectors.
In making the decision, Masisi states that he was and considered different options including allowing for sale of alcohol consumption off premises, however the evidence he had been provided with suggested that such other alternatives would not achieve the overall objective of securing public safety and health by reducing the risk of the spread of the virus.
“By the time I imposed the ban, alcohol was already being sold for consumption off-premises. This did not work. The information provided to me by the Director and the Presidential Task-Force team demonstrated that consumers purchased alcohol and then loitered and consumed it within the peripheries of bars and other liquor outlets,” he said.
Attached to the affidavit as emphasis, were photographs and videos of Gaborone West, Phase 4 in mid-June 2021, which he explains circulated on social media and was brought to his attention.
“I need not say much about the photos as they depict a crowd exceeding 50 gathered at the parking area of a bar. There is little or no regard to Covid-19 protocols. It was clear to me and my advisors, including the Director of Health Services and members of the Presidential Task-Force team that the total ban of alcohol was necessary to manage the risk of increase in infections, to understand what seems to have led to an increase in the risk of infection when alcohol is present I was advised by the Presidential Task-Force team that scientifically there has been evidence that alcohol narrows physical distance,” he argued.
Masisi says that allegations made by KBL are serious allegations of infringement of fundamental rights yet they fail to state how imposition and reinstatement of the suspension of liquor licenses out of necessity and expediency of the health of the nation infringes on the rights as alleged.
In an embarrassing turn of events that depicts disintegration in government communication on the fight against COVID-19, President Mokgweetsi Masisi and Assistant Minister of Health & Wellness, Sethomo Lelatisitswe gave two conflicting statements on the same matter, same day, just minutes apart.
The Commander-in-Chef told health practitioners and residents in Ramotswa that the COVAX facility has scammed African countries after billions were paid in a crowd funding effort to procure COVID-19 vaccines in bulk.
“We have pumped money as developing countries of the African continent into the COVAX Facility but the returns were not satisfactory, they cheated us,” the President said in Ramotswa.
According to President Masisi, the COVAX facility Vaccine only came in bits and pieces, frustrating the continent ‘s head immunity targets amid rapidly spreading Delta Variant which is currently reversing all progress made by Africa in containing the contagious virus.
“What we are getting is very small portions of the vaccine, they keep telling us that there is shortage of supply, this is not fair, but we have paid in advance, however what can we do, we have no choice but to spend more money and look for other avenues of securing other available vaccines,” he said.
Meanwhile in Gaborone, Assistant Minister of Health and Wellness told Parliament that vaccine from COVAX facility is anchoring Botswana’s vaccination program.
“I am not aware of such information that COVAX facility is not delivering as expected, we are actually bolstered by COVAX facility in this country,” he said responding to a question from Mahalapye West Member of Parliament David Tshere who is also Chairman of Parliament Committee On Health and HIV/AIDS.
“We have received doses as ordered from the COVAX facility, and we are still receiving more, I have not seen that information which is purported to have been revealed by the President, unless its new information, we as the Ministry we are not aware of any frustrations by the COVAX facility,” he said.
COVAX is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi and the World Health Organization (WHO), alongside key delivery partner UNICEF.
Its aim is to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines, and to guarantee fair and equitable access for every country in the world.
The facility is a global coalition that works to ensure fair and equitable access of COVID-19 vaccines around the world. So far, 190 countries have joined the COVAX initiative, including all 22 countries in the Eastern Mediterranean Region.
The COVAX Facility aims to have 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines available for distribution across the globe by the end of 2021, targeting those most at risk (e.g. frontline health workers) and most vulnerable severe diseases and death (e.g. elderly and people with co-morbidities).
On other vaccination issues President Masisi revealed, still in Greater Gaborone vaccination centre visits, that Botswana has placed orders with Pfizer, a United States vaccine producer noting that they have promised to deliver next year.
Meanwhile, government kick-started phase two of the Covid-19 vaccination program this week, opening up for ages between 30 and 54.
President Masisi revealed that this was done because some elderly were reluctant to be inculcated.
“We can’t take forever trying to convince people to take vaccine, we moved to the next age segments because we cannot afford to have vaccines-which are already in shortage supply to just lie there,” he said.
On Friday, Ministry of Health revealed that it was receiving large numbers of people below the age of 55 lining up to be vaccinated.
In a statement the Ministry of Health said it, “acknowledges the huge turnout that marked the commencement of the Phase two COVID-19 vaccination program”.
Given this high turnout, especially in the Greater Gaborone region, the ministry announced an extension of operation hours in order to serve the huge crowds that had come for vaccination.
Of the nearly 85 000 doses that were being doled across the country as first doses, the majority of the Greater Gaborone vaccination sites were already getting depleted by 1800hrs on 22 July 2021.
As a result of this development, the ministry took a decision to discontinue the extended hours of operation announced yesterday for vaccination sites in Gaborone.
This means that vaccination sites in Gaborone and elsewhere in the country which still have some vaccines, will offer them in the normal working hours and days of the week.
The Ministry says it appreciates the great desire to be vaccinated shown by thousands of citizens and residents of this country and wishes to assure them that it will continue to expedite their vaccination every time vaccines become available. As has been communicated in various fora, more vaccines are expected in August 2021.
As at July 2021, Botswana has so far received 62, 400 doses of AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD bought through the Covax facility, 30,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine donated by the Republic of India, 19, 890 doses of the Pfizer vaccine bought through the COVAX facility, 200, 000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine, donated by the Peoples Republic of China and another 200, 000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine bought through bilateral negotiations with Sinovac company in China.
“We encourage Batswana to remain hopeful that although it’s taking longer than anticipated, enough COVID-19 vaccines will eventually arrive in our country. We urge them to always strictly abide by all COVID-19 protocols so that they protect themselves and others from this deadly virus,” the ministry said.