Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) will meet two unions representing government employed teachers, the Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) and the Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) to finalise issues around Levels of Operation (LOO) in the teaching fraternity.
This was revealed by the BTU Secretary General, Ibo Kenosi this week following an agreement with the Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MoESD) with regard to payment rates for pupils’ course work assessment and examination invigilation. Kenosi expressed his concern that this matter has been dragging for a long time and a lot of teachers have been left in the lurch as a result of lack of progress.
Kenosi said most teachers have been stuck for a long time at lower salary scales and to make matters worse, some senior teachers earn at par with new entrants.
The matter could not be concluded at the recent talks between MoESD and union officials because it involves teachers’ salaries. As a way forward the Ministry agreed that all parties will meet with DPSM officials to present their case with a view of resolving the matter for good.
Kenosi has however expressed his disappointment with Government decision to appoint a task committee to look into the matter despite the fact that the two unions have already presented the case on behalf of the teachers. “We are told government task committee will interview teachers regarding this matter which is of course unnecessary since we are here representing the teachers and we know their concerns,” said Kenosi.
The BTU Secretary General also told this publication that they have finally reached a common ground on the shape and form of a forum they will use when engaging MoESD to disccuss matters pertaining to the teaching fraternity. “We agreed that it is a legal forum and we should continue negotiating and engaging each other through the platform going forward,” he said.
A few months ago, the Minister of Education, Dr Unity Dow snubbed unions’ efforts to engage her through the forum questioning its legality and validity of its resolutions. This delayed progress with regard to engagement between the three parties as unions planned to boycott the invigilation of this year’s examinations.
Meanwhile BTU Publicity Secretary, Tidimalo Maeletso expressed dissatisfaction with the manner in which government engages unions in regard pupils’ course work assessment and invigilation. He noted that government leaves it until the eleventh hour to make critical decisions.
The BTU spokesman said it is imperative that going forward government and unions engage each other as early as possible. Maeletso noted that usually, teachers are compelled to start supervising pupils’ course work even before agreements are reached on payment rates. “Sometimes teachers are not motivated because they are doubtful on whether they will be paid or not,” he said.
Maeletso also stated that as the union they are not happy with the 6 percent offered as an increment to last year’s course work assessment and invigilation payment rates. “We had proposed 10 percent but government offered 3 percent, and ended up agreeing on 6 percent,” he said.
“This offer is not fair because we did not bargain for our members. The agreement was based on what the Public Service Bargaining Council agreed on.”
Maeletso said going forward government should look for long term solutions and ensure that negotiations start as early as possible.
On the other hand Kenosi informed this publication that BTU will meet in Francistown on the weekend of 19th September in an annual conference to look into sector specific concerns surrounding the teaching fraternity. Most importantly, he said the issue of Levels of Operation (LOO) will be given special attention. BTU has four sectors; pre-primary, primary, secondary and tertiary.
The union will invite experts to offer opinions and advice to the union on crucial issues before resolutions are adopted.
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.