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By-law officers sue govt, demand scarce skills allowance

Secretary General of BLLAHWU, Ketlhalefile Motshegwa

The by law officers who work for all the District and Town Councils across the country want government to pay them scarce skills allowances and have taken it to court over the matter.

Through their trade union, Botswana Land Boards, Local Authorities and Health Workers’ Union (BLLAHWU), which is representing them in court, the workers are of the view that the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPM, erred in not including their profession under those who qualify for scarce skills. Their contention is that, the statute that provides for the scarce skills payments allows them to benefit from it in that; they are to an extent, legal practitioners.

“What they say is that the Director of DPSM is wrong to say only lawyers and others can benefit from scarce skills. Their jobs include undertaking prosecution,” explained the Secretary General of BLLAHWU, Ketlhalefile Motshegwa on the sidelines.

Among professionals who qualify for scarce skills according to the statutes, are legal practitioners whose jobs include prosecution.

In a case which appeared before the acting Judge of the High court, Bashi Moesi, on Thursday this week, the Attorney General  maintained that the by law officers were not legal practitioners and that their work only bordered around legal proceedings.

The AG pleaded that the worker’s case would not succeed as the courts have already dismissed a similar case earlier this year.

However Motshegwa says the contention would not discourage them from pursuing the case as circumstances and merits of the two cases differs.

“In an ideal democratic setup, labour issues are not settled in court, but rather in boardrooms. But we did engage the employer. We wrote to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development about this issue, we engaged the Councils, we took the matter to the Labour department and in the absence of an agreement we had to take the matter up to the court of law to resolve the standoff,” Motshegwa explained.

In fact he is of the view that it was high time that the government reviews the scarce skills statute and add the qualifying cadres to it and remove those who do not qualify.

“Accountants have previously taken the government to court over the issue and won. We do not want a scenario where by department after the other would be taking government to court over the same matter which can simply be resolved by an overhaul of this statute,” Motshegwa further stated.

The matter was initially before the now suspended Judge, Ranier Busang. Justice Moesi, who is the deputy Attorney General and only acting as a Judge pending the finalisation of the suspension indicated that he could not hear the matter as his contract ends at the end of December this year and could only hear the status of the case.

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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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