The public service teachers unions, Botswana Sector of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) and the Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) have called on teachers to boycott the 2015 school examinations and cease assisting students with course work until the Unions and the employer reaches an agreement on the compensation rate.
The call was made this week as the standoff between teachers and the Ministry of Educations and Skills Development (MoESD) over the compensation negotiation dragged on to the third week.
“Teachers are currently not bound by any existing agreement in this regard and as such they should with immediate effect cease to assist students in course work activities and submit marks for coursework if already done, and invigilate. This condition should remain in existence until this matter of engagement with the Ministry on the 2015 rates is finalised,” the union Secretary Generals, Tobokani Rari and Ibo Kenosi said in a letter they wrote to the teachers.
The letter which was penned this week further invited the teachers to a consultative meeting on this issue which is to be held on Tuesday next week.
“We have since the beginning of this week been inundated with enquiries by the general membership about the 2015 agreement between the Ministry of Education and teachers unions on course work and invigilation rates. The inquiries are geared towards whether teachers should proceed with assisting students with course work and submit marks of the same in the case where the work has already been done and consequently invigilate,” the letter further reads before adding that, “we would like to put it on record for all to note that currently there is no agreement between the teachers unions and the Ministry of Education on 2015 course work and invigilation rates as the 2014 agreement lapsed at the end of the same year.
This, according to the unions owes to the fact that at a meeting where the 2015 rates were to be discussed the Ministry, especially the current Minister, Unity Dow questioned the legality of the sectoral bargaining structure and made it “abundantly clear,” that they would not proceed with the meeting pending their consultation with the Directorate of Public Service management (DPSM) on the same subject matter.
“It is evident from the conduct of the Ministry that they do not intend to negotiate with unions any more on this matter and by extension would want to renege on the negotiation arrangement that has existed for five years since Phumaphi’s judgment,” the unions expressed their views further.
The 2009 Phumaphi judgment stated that the responsibility of running final examinations in schools belonged to the Botswana Examinations Council (BEC) unless the employer strikes an agreement with teachers, hence the unions were advising teachers that, “’any work done for purpose of soliciting marks for the final examinations is the responsibility of the BEC and is outside the purview of the teacher’s duty unless if there is an existing collective agreement between the unions and the Ministry of Education and the BEC.”
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.