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Judge baffled by BNYC chairs benefits

VICTORIOUS: Botswana National Youth Council (BNYC) Executive Director, Benjamin Raletsatsi is seen here with lawyers acting for his organisation after they successfully fought an urgent court application by the suspended BNYC chairman, Louis Sibanda on Wednesday.

The plan by suspended Botswana National Youth Council Chairperson (BNYC) Louis Sibanda to keep receiving financial benefits from the organization while serving his suspension was this week shattered by the High Court in Gaborone – after his urgent application was dismissed with costs.


High Court, Judge Zein Kebonang questioned why the BNYC chairman gets priviledges similar to those of employees.


The main contention to the case was Sibanda’s uneasiness with losing benefits associated with his office. This publication understands that BNYC provides Sibanda with free accommodation as well as sitting allowances by the virtue of him being the organisation’s chairperson.


Investigations by this publication have revealed that the chairperson of the organization benefits from a relatively high cost house worth of P6500 per month of rentals. It is also understood that Sibanda gets an estimated sitting allowance of P700 per sitting.


BNYC Executive Secretary Benjammin Raletsatsi also confirmed briefly outside court to this publication on Wednesday that the chairperson of the organization benefits from a medium-high cost house worth of P6500 per month of rentals.


According to Raletsatsi, “the bearer of the position (chair) also attracts a sitting allowance of around P700 per sitting and normally the Executive Committee sits once or more than that per month”. Other board members are estimated to receive around P500 in every sitting of the organisation’s meetings.


Sibanda was deprived of the priviledges and suspended from office for alleged maladministration. The benefits were scrapped following his suspension by the Executive Committee as he was removed from office to create way for unhindered and un-interfered parallel investigations by both the National Assembly and Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC).


Initially the urgent application by Sibanda had sought to have the decision of BNYC Executive Committee to suspend him be set aside on account of procedural irregularities that occurred in the process of reaching its decision. However more concentration was targeted particularly to benefits deprived of the chairperson during the suspension – at least that was their bone of contention, this publication has observed.


Justice Zein Kebonang has also questioned the logic behind Sibanda’s benefit of free accommodation while he is and was not an employee of BNYC – but just a board member.


When making submissions before court, a lawyer representing Sibanda, Mugoni Molodi of Mugoni Molodi Attorneys said that if court does not set aside the suspension, his client (Sibanda) will lose benefits which she is entitled to, like free rental house and sitting allowances – as he remains the substantive chairperson despite suspension.  


He said these priviledges were mandatory to the chairperson until his term of office elapses (after the 3 years which they are allocated in office).


On his part renowned attorney Uyapo Ndadi of Ndadi Lawfirm who represented BNYC said it was befitting that he be denied the benefits because he was not carrying out any duties related to the office due to his suspension. “He has no right to that accommodation as he is not entitled to it – it is a priviledge,” he argued.

“He is not doing any business with BNYC because he is not carrying out that duty. He does not even deserve to have been in the house to start with, in my opinion. Moreover he has not shown that he has that right to accommodation in his argument, he acknowledged it as a privilege – which is self-defeating,” Ndadi pointed out.   


Ndadi further asked the court to endow punitive measures to Sibanda as the case is self serving and places individual interest beneath interest of the organization. He said Sibanda wants to protect self serving interests like sitting allowances and accommodation while he was not currently carrying out the organisation’s functions.


“These elements show that this application is self serving as it is just about personal rights. It is an abuse of court process,” he argued.

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Pep Stores donates sanitary towels to Popagano JSS

26th May 2023

The Guidance and Counseling unit at Popagano Junior Secondary School received a donation of 790 sanitary towels from Pep stores on Thursday.

When presenting the donation, Mareledi Thebeng, the Dinokaneng Area Manager, highlighted their belief in giving back to the community, as their existence depends on the communities they serve. Thebeng pointed out that research indicates one in four girls miss school every day due to the lack of basic necessities like sanitary towels. Therefore, as a company, they strive to assist in alleviating this situation. She expressed hope that this donation would help ensure uninterrupted learning for girls.

Upon receiving the donation on behalf of the students, Charity Sambire, the President of the Student Representative Council, expressed her gratitude. Sambire specifically thanked Pep Store for their generous gift, speaking on behalf of the students, especially the girl child.

She conveyed their sincere appreciation for Pep Store’s compassion and quoted the adage, “Blessed is the hand that gives.” Sambire expressed the students’ hope for Pep Stores’ prosperity, enabling them to continue supporting the students. As a gesture of gratitude, the students pledged to excel academically.

During her speech, Motlalepula Madome, the Senior Teacher in Guidance and Counseling, highlighted that many students at the school come from disadvantaged backgrounds where parents struggle to provide basic necessities. Consequently, some students miss school when they experience menstruation due to this lack.
Madome emphasized the significance of the donation in preventing the girl child from missing lessons and its potential to improve the school’s overall results. She expressed the school’s gratitude and expressed a desire for continued support from Pep Stores.

Popagano Junior Secondary School, situated in the Okavango District, holds the second position academically in the North West region. Despite its location, the school has been dedicated to achieving excellence since 2017

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Botswana misses out critical PAP committee meeting

23rd May 2023

The Pan African Parliament (PAP) committee on gender, family, youth and people with disability in its sitting considered, adopted and recommended to the plenary session the preliminary report on the framework for the model law on gender equality.

According to the last week’s media release from PAP which is sitting with its various committees until June 2nd,  the committee is following up the PAP initiative to draw up a model law on gender equality to enable national governments to harmonize, modernize and standardize their legislations to address local needs is set to be discussed in Plenary.

However, what is concerning is the fact that Botswana which is a member state missed the deliberations. Kgosi Mosadi Seboko who sat in the committee representing Botswana has since been ejected by parliament and this is a huge blow for a nation that is still battling equity and gender balance.

“Although PAP has no legislative powers it makes model laws for member states to adopt. PAP also develops protocols to be ratified by countries. The input of countries at Committee state is extremely critical. It now means the voice of Botswana is missing the discussions leading up to development of protocols or model laws,” said one of Botswana’s representative at PAP Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang who is attending the current session.

While Botswana is missing, the committee meeting took place on the sidelines of the Sixth PAP second ordinary Session being held under the African Union Theme of the Year for 2023, “The Year of AfCFTA: Accelerating the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area” in Midrand, South Africa and will run up to 2 June 2023. Chairperson of the Committee, Hon Mariam Dao-Gabala expressed satisfaction with preliminary processes undertaken so far towards the formulation of the Model Law,” a release from the PAP website reads.

“The law should be suitable to all countries whatever the predominant culture or religion is. The aim is to give an opportunity to women to participate in the economic, political and social development of the continent. Women are not well positioned and face a lot of obstacles. We are introducing the idea of equity in the Law because we cannot talk about equality without equity,” said Hon Mariam Dao-Gabala in the press statement.

The release has stated that among issues to be covered by the Model Law is the migratory movements of women. The Committee proffered that this has to be addressed at the continental level to ensure that migrant women enjoy all their rights and live with dignity in their destination country. The members of the Gender Committee undertook consultations to consolidate the contributions of the various stakeholders that will be the logical framework format for the Model Law.

 

 

 

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BDP MPs demand review of Ministers performance

22nd May 2023

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers were left frustrated when State Minister Kabo Morwaeng failed to furnish them with reports from various ministries at a party retreat held last month.

The two-day retreat of BDP MPs at Notwane Farms was held to discuss the implementation and progress of government projects in line with the party’s 2019 general elections manifesto, in order to assert themselves and press the President to take action against ineffective members of his cabinet. They believed that the laxity of these members could cost them the elections next year.

To accomplish this, the party had requested that each ministry submit their reports to the State Ministry, as it was the most senior ministry. These reports were expected to be assessed at the retreat to evaluate service delivery and the implementation of the party manifesto.

The ministries submitted their performance reports to the Ministry as agreed, but Masisi and the MPs did not have the opportunity to review them. This was the main agenda of the retreat, but when it commenced, and many were anticipating the reports, they were nowhere to be found.

“Minister Morwaeng told us (MPs) that he forgot to prepare them, and as a result, there was nothing to discuss. He said he would share those reports in our WhatsApp group. To us, that was an insult because it is a very serious matter, and we needed to discuss it and see which ministry is failing and how it can be assisted to ensure that service delivery is met,” revealed one MP to WeekendPost.

Reliable sources have informed this publication that one of the reasons why the reports were not shared is due to the poor performance of the State Ministry. It is said that the Minister decided not to share the reports because it would portray him as incompetent, especially since President Masisi was present and seeking suggestions from MPs.

It is understood that the Ministry of Lands and Water Affairs, as well as the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, performed well, while the Ministry of Health and the State Ministry performed poorly.

The MPs are primarily concerned about the lack of correlation between the ministries’ recurrent and development budgets.

“You would notice that in some cases, a ministry would spend their recurrent budget accordingly, but when you look at their development expenditure, it is at 15 percent. That’s the money that should ensure that people receive services and amenities, and we wanted to advise ministers to communicate with bureaucrats to address this,” added the MP.

Without the reports, and with the expected agenda now in tatters, it is said that President Masisi asked MPs to come up with suggestions on how to win public confidence to secure victory in the next elections. It was at this point that backbenchers asked President Mokgweetsi Masisi to crack the whip on ineffectual ministers who had failed to fulfill their mandates. MPs expressed their concerns to the President, particularly regarding the state of affairs at the hospitals.

“There is a serious shortage of medicines and personnel in our areas, especially in rural areas. We have been complaining about this situation for some time, but there seems to be no change,” one MP told WeekendPost.

“The state of our roads and infrastructure is in disrepair. What irks us the most is that we have been complaining about these things for some time, but there has been no change. We demand progress.”

The issue of poor delivery and the significant deficit in the ruling party’s election promises is so severe that President Masisi had his ministers sign performance agreements and annual performance plans. The President effectively read them the riot act, informing them that they would be fired if they continued to fall short in delivering on their mandates.

He told journalists at a press conference that he recently had a serious engagement with Minister of Health Minister Dr. Edwin Dikoloti and Assistant Minister of Health Sethomo Lelatisitswe regarding the deplorable state of affairs at public health facilities.

 

 

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