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Bargaining Council headache

The Botswana Federation of Public Service Union (BOFEPUSU) and government are headed for another war. Information passed to this publication indicates that a matter regarding union representation at the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC) may become a hot potato issue.

As per the PSCB constitution, members of the council are eligible to serve for a period of 36 months, thereafter; each party to the council is entitled to submit names of their representatives to serve in the council for a period not exceeding 36 months.

Information gathered by WeekendPost signifies that government intends to notify the council that some of the union representatives in the council are not eligible to serve again after serving the 36 months. It is understood that the majority of the union representatives’ tenures are coming to an end.

PSBC Secretary General Patla Ulaula however could not divulge to this publication the status of union representatives in the bargaining council with regards to their terms. “The Union is better placed to respond to that question since it relates to them as a party to the council,” he said.

BOFEPUSU Secretary General, Tobokani Rari conversely found no contention in the matter of eligibility of representatives of the union and stated the union is not aware of any government opposition. Rari, who referred this publication back to the bargaining council General Secretary, stated that if there is any provision in the constitution the PSBC will be in a better position to explain to the union representatives.   

The bone of contention is whether the term of office is served once or not as the constitution is ambiguous on the matter. Article 9.1 of the constitution states: “The term of office of all members of the Council and office bearers shall be a period not exceeding 36 months. This then adds confusion or whether members of the council may still serve another term after expiration of the initial term.

BOFEPUSU will also lose Ketlhalefile Motshegwa as a representative in the bargaining council following his expulsion from public service. Motshegwa is now an employee of Botswana Landbord Local Authorities and Health Workers Unions (BLLAHWU).

The constitution however states that if the seat of a member of the council becomes vacant, it must be filled within 60 days from the date the vacancy occurred by the party concerned and a member appointed to fill the vacant seat shall remain in office until the expiry of his/her predecessor’s term of office.  

However in terms of the constitution, each party is expected to appoint its representatives independently and without interference of another. Membership of the council comprises eight (8) substantive members from Government and the same number of substantive members from the admitted Trade Union(s) to the council. The parties are also expected to appoint alternate member for each of their representatives in the council.

Efforts to solicit comment from the Directorate of Public Service Management chief spokesperson Osesenaqa Lekgoko were futile as she could not be reached due to her other job commitments during the week.

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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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