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EFB issues ultimatum to politicians

Former President, Mogae

The Evangelist Fellowship of Botswana (EFB) has launched a scornful attack on the leadership of the country saying those calling for legalization of homosexuality, prostitution and abortion should start to rethink their stand.


The EFB leader Master Matlhaope told the WeekendPost this week that EFB continues to caution the nation “particularly those in leadership to uphold the righteous standards set by our forefathers”.


He said “the standards they set includes but are not limited to criminalizing homosexuality, prostitution and abortion. Those calling for the legalization of these should be warned and advised to think otherwise,” he warned.


Former president Festus Mogae has on several occasions made known his views that homosexuality and sex work be decriminalized in Botswana to assist curtail the spread of HIV/AIDS, as various studies identified them as catalysts to the scourge.
Recently, Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Botlogile Tshireletso told parliament of her support for abortion and called for its legalization.


Human Rights lawyers such as Uyapo Ndadi has also advocated for the decriminilisation of homosexuality and prostitution, saying they were fundamental rights of any human being and also personal choices that no one including government should temper with.


Homosexuality
According to the EFB, homosexuality is foreign to our nation and above all regarded as an abomination in the Bible. The umbrella of ‘fire churches’ stated that they are encouraged by the government’s appeal of the Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) registration case. “Homosexuality, criminalized in our penal code must remain as such and the practice should boldly be discouraged,” EFB contends.

Prostitution
The EFB leader also posits that prostitution which is often color coded-sex work- dehumanizes people.  He says it takes away dignity and replaces it with shame, and that is why even those calling for its legalization cannot dare their daughters practice it let alone do it themselves. “It sentences a woman to the life of shame in the present, and secures her for eternal hell fire after final judgment,” he added.


Matlhaope highlighted that they believe in the inherent value of a woman, “she is a living being not a commodity, a nation builder, a life carrier and life’s shelter, a protector, a nurturer, a home maker, a wife, a mother and a sister, above all she has the imago dei (the image of God). Her price is the blood of the Son of God.”


The outspoken pastor declared that: “we call those calling for legalization for prostitution to desist and to respect the value and dignity of women.”


Abortion
According to the pastor, human life takes precedence to personal privacy. We do not have the right to privately kill another human being, he says. “We call for the protection of human life, born and unborn.”


He however added, “In a pregnancy situation, we have two lives-the life of the woman and the life of the unborn child and both are human with potentialities. Under normal circumstances, a woman would have right to do as she wants with her body of course within the boundaries of acceptable behavior, and when she carries another life, we have two lives both of which have right to live. None of these two lives have the right to take the life of the other. Only when one is under threat can there be tampering to save the other.”


Satanism
The EFB leader also raised concerns about the escalation of Satanism activity and behaviour in public schools and the use of drugs and substance abuse amongst the youth, juvenile deliquincies as well as breaking down of families and increasing HIV infections. He made relevance to the Thamaga incidence which resulted in an innocent elderly woman being murdered by a gang.  


“We have evidenced an increase in corrupted sexual morals, infiltration of anti-societal norms, road carnages and all these behaviors, call for intensified prayer and evangelism efforts, which is why we call all EFB churches and those subscribing to the evangelical doctrine of regeneration to intensify evangelism effort,” he said.


Democratic intolerance
The EFB also points out that they are disheartened by voices of intolerance in the national space.  He pointed out, “In a democracy such as ours, they say everyone has the right to express his or her views. They add that it is also enshrined in our culture and norm as Batswana expressed in Tswana idioms such as; “mafoko a kgotla a mantle otlhe, mmualebeo  abo a bua la gagwe gore monalentle a le tswe”.


Motlhaope said that there were topical issues that are debated varying from economy, arts, and traditional renaissances and said that EFB encouraged healthy debates as they are important for the development of the country.
“We have however noted that at times when EFB within its space as a faith based institution speak on issues of morality, we are faulted as being intolerant. We wish to state that intolerance to EFB’s opinion is also intolerance and should equally be condemned,” he added.


Corruption
On the issue of corruption, he said that the EFB encourages all in leadership as well as all citizens and residents to do all it takes to ensure Zero tolerance for corruption. “We pledge our prayer and support to His Excellency the President of Botswana and encourage him to continually take all action required against corruption to set the right tone from the top,” the EFB leader stated.


Vision 2016
Matlhaope reminded citizens that with only a year left before reaching 2016, and the 50th independence anniversary, all should exert more effort in the realisation of the Vision.  “We are now less than a year towards the end of 2016, our 50th Independence anniversary where we have set a clear vision of what as nation we wish to be. We therefore urge every Motswana to redouble his or her effort for the realization of the vision. We also pray that God continues to assist us to realize this noble goal.”


WeekendPost understands that during the 2014 elections, the candid EFB in unison with the Botswana Council of Churches (BCC) and the Organization of African Instituted Churches (OAIC) set up an Observer Mission and fully participated in observing the General Elections.


As such, the leader cautioned elected leaders that: “we believe those elected are both within the perfect will and the permissive will of God. We urge all the legislators to ensure that the will of God is sacrosanct in their mandate and ensure that morality guides legislation. We pledge our prayers for our legislators. Whilst the legislators are totally free to express their views and vote according to their good consciences, we hold them accountable to remember what they promised the electorate, what the electorate holds in high regard and what the electorate abhors.”


EFB is an umbrella of ‘fire churches’ which are evangelical, Pentecostal and Para church organisations in the country. It boasts of a membership of denominations and organisations – which have member branches across the country. Currently EFB membership stands at 79 and the voice of EFB is collective of this membership.


The Fellowship holds that leaders who support same sex relationships, abortion and sex work will have a ruth awakening from the church movement, however, the assertion clashes with some of the leaders who have publicly declared their support for the individual choices with regard to abortion, prostitution and homosexuality.


Law society of Botswana (LSB) Chairman Lawrence Lecha also told this publication in a brief interview that churches are taking it too far and now trampling on the rights of others.  “That is a very unfortunate statement by the EFB. Our constitution is clear that there shall be no discrimination of any kind, be it religion, gender and/or sexual orientation,” he lambasted.


“Churches are entitled to their opinions and religion (Christianity) as is the case with other religions such as Islam, Hinduism for example.” As human rights advocate, LSB stated that they will advocate, defend and protect the rights of other people. The issue of human rights, Lecha says is an international phenomenon that every being is entitled to – as long as it does not trample on the rights of others.  EFB is entitled to their views and we are entitled to ours as well, they cannot impose their views on other people, he said.

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Details emerge in suspected Batswana poachers in Namibia

28th June 2022
suspected Motswana poacher arrested

New details about a suspected Motswana poacher arrested in Namibian and his accomplice who is on the run were revealed when the suspect appeared in court this week.

The Motswana Citizen who was shot and wounded by Namibia’s anti poaching unit is facing criminal charges under criminal case number (CR NO 10/06/2022) which was registered at the Divundu Police Station in the Mukwe constituency of the Kavango East Region on 10 June 2022.

It is alleged that a patrol team laid an ambush after discovering a giraffe’s fresh carcass in a snare wire and hanging biltong.  According to the Charge Sheet, the suspect Djeke Dihutu, aged 40 years, is charged with contravening and transgressions of Nature Conservation Ordinance andcontravening Immigration Act 07 in Mahango Wildlife Core Area, Bwabwata National Park. Dihutu’s first court appearance was on the 17th of June 2022, Rundu and it was postponed to the 07 July 2022. He is currently hospitalized in hospital under Police Guards.

Commenting on this latest development, the Namibian Lives Matter Movement National Chairperson Sinvula Mudabeti applauded the Namibian Anti Poaching Unit for its compliance with what it called the universal instrument on the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials adopted by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 34/169.

“We are aware that the duties of the police carry a great deal of risk, but our police has shown that they have a moral calling and obligation to protect even foreigners suspected of serious crimes on Namibian soil,” said Mudabeti.

According to him, whereas the Botswana Police Service, the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) and Directorate of Intelligence Service (DIS) have “very low moral ethics, integrity, accountability and honesty, the Namibian security agencies has shown very high levels of ethical leadership in the discharge of their duties even under duress.”

He said Namibian’s anti poaching unit has exercised one very important value, that is, the use of force only when it is reasonable and necessary. Mudabeti said this is in harmony with international best practices as enshrined in Article 2 of the UN instrument on law enforcement conduct, “In the performance of their duty, law enforcement officials shall respect and protect human dignity and maintain and uphold the human rights of all persons.

Our police have protected the life of a Botswana poacher and accorded him dignity, which is very foreign to our Botswana counterparts,” he said. He said article 3 of the same instrument above, calls for Law enforcement officials to use force only when strictly necessary and to the extent required for the performance of their duty.

“This provision emphasizes that the use of force by law enforcement officials should be exceptional; while it implies that law enforcement officials may be authorized to use force as is reasonably necessary under the circumstances for the prevention of crime or in effecting or assisting in the lawful arrest of suspected offenders, no force going beyond that was used by our Police,” he said.

Furthermore, Mudabeti said, whereas the universally accepted norm of the law of proportionality ordinarily permits the use of force by law enforcement, it is to be understood that such principles of proportionality in no case should be interpreted to authorize the use of force which is disproportionate to the legitimate objective to be achieved.

“Our police have used force proportional to the situation at hand. Great work indeed! Article 6 urges law enforcement officials to ensure the full protection of the health of persons in their custody and, in particular, shall take immediate action to secure medical attention whenever required,” he said.

Mudabeti said the Botswana poacher was immediately taken to hospital whereas the Nchindo brothers who were captured on Namibian soil, beaten, tortured and executed while pleading to be taken to the hospital we left to die.

“The Namibian Doctor gave evidence in court that Sinvula Munyeme’s lungs showed signs of life (during the autopsy) and that he could have survived if he was accorded immediate medical assistance in time but was left to die while BDF soldiers looked and possibly ignored his cry for help,” he said.

Mudabeti said unlike in Botswana where there are no clear separation of powers between the BDF, Botswana Police Service, Department of Intelligence and their Directorate of Public Prosecutions,” we have a system that allows for checks and balances and allows our people and foreigners who are found on the wrong side of the law to be accorded the right to a fair trial.”

He said Botswana citizens are treated with dignity when apprehended in Namibia and not assaulted, tortured and executed. “We are a civilized country that respects international law in dealing with non-Namibian criminals. The Namibian Police have not mistreated the Botswana poacher but have given him the benefit of the doubt by allowing due processes of the law to be followed,” he said.

He added that, “We are a peace loving nation that has not repaid Botswana by the evil that Botswana has done to Namibia by killing more than 37 innocent and unarmed Namibians by the trigger happy BDF.” He concluded that, “Our acts of mercy in arresting Botswana citizens should never be mistaken for cowardice.”

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Gov’t, Unions clash over accommodation

28th June 2022
accomodation

The government has reportedly taken a decision to terminate provision of pool housing and subsidy for civil servants as it attempts to trim the public service wage bill.

This emerges in a dispute that is currently before the Labour Office headquarters lodged by unions representing thousands of civil servants across the country. This publication understands that the decision to cease providing pool housing and rental subsidy for public officers is part of proposals that government put on the table during its negotiations with public service unions in order for it to adjust salaries.

A letter from Labour Office addressed to the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) shows that the directorate is cited as the First Respondent. The letter is titled, “Dispute lodged: Cessation of provision of pool housing and subsidy for pubic officers.”

“This serves as a notification and requirement to a mediation hearing,” the letter informed DPSM. According to the letter, the Botswana Teachers Union (BTU), Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Unions (BOSETU) Botswana Nurses Union (BONU) and Botswana Land Board &Local Authorities &Health workers Union (BLLAHW) who lodged the complaint are cited as the Applicant.

“Please come for mediation hearing. The hearing will be conducted by Mr Lebang. The hearing is scheduled for date/time 29th June 2022, 09: 00HOURS at Block 8 District Labour Office, Gaborone. Please bring all relevant documents,” reads the letter in part.

According to a document described as a proposal paper on the negotiations on salaries and other conditions of employment of public officers by the employer (government), the government did not only propose to stop providing accommodation to civil servants but also put a number of proposals on the table.

The proposal papers states that the negotiations (which have since been concluded) cover three government financial years; 2022/23, 2023/24 and 2024/25. The government proposed an across the board salary adjustments as follows; 3% for the financial year 2022/23 effective 1st April 2022, across the board salary adjustment of 3.5% for the financial year 2023/24 effective 1st April 2023 subject to performance of the economy and across the board salary adjustment of 4% for the financial year 2024/25 effective 1st April 2024 subject to performance of the economy.

The government also proposed phasing out of retention and attractive (Scarce Skills) Allowance with a view to migration towards clean pay, renegotiate and set new timelines for all outstanding issues contained in the Collective Labour Agreement, executed by the employer and trade unions on the 27th August 2019, to ensure proper sequencing, alignment and proper implementation.
The government also proposed to freeze public service recruitment for the 2022/23 financial year and withdraw the financial equivalence of P500 million attached to vacancies from Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs).

Another proposal included phasing out of commuted overtime allowance and payment of overtime in accordance with the law and review human resource policies during the financial year 2022/23, 2023/24 and 2024/25.

The government argued that its proposals were premised on affordability and sustainability adding that it was important to underscore that the review of salaries and conditions of service for public officers was taking place at a time when there were uncertainties both in the global and domestic economies.

“Furthermore there is need to ensure that any collective labour agreement that is concluded does not breach the fiscal deficit target of 4% of GDP,” the proposal paper stated. The proposal paper further indicated that beyond salary adjustments, the Government of Botswana is of the view that a more comprehensive consideration “must be taken on the issue of remuneration in the public service by embracing principles such as total rewards compensation which involves taking a fully comprehensive and holistic approach to how our organization compensates employees for the work.”

The proposal paper also noted that, “Clearly, the increase in salaries and changes to other conditions of service which have monetary consequences will further increase the proportion of the budget taken by salaries, allowances and other monetary based conditions of services.”

“The consequential effect would be a reduction of the portion that can be used for other recurrent budget needs (e.g. maintenance of assets, consumable supplies such as medicines and books) and for development projects,” the proposal states.

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BPF NEC probes Serowe squabbles

28th June 2022
BPF

Opposition Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) National Executive Committee will in no time investigate charges party members worked with the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) membership to tip the scales in favour of the latter for Serowe Sub-council Chairmanship in exchange for deputy seat in a dramatic 11th hour gentleman’s deal, leaving the ruling party splinter under the political microscope.

In a spectacular Sub-council election membership last Thursday, the ruling BDP’s Lesedi Phuthego beat Atamelang Thaga with 14 votes to 12 for Serowe Sub-council Chairmanship coveted seat and subsequently the ruling party’s councilor Bernard Kenosi withdrew his candidacy in the final hour for the equally admired deputy chair paving the way for Solomon Dikgang of BPF, seen as long sealed ‘I scratch your back and you scratch mine’ gentleman’s agreement between the contenders.

Both parties entered the race with a tie of votes torn between 12 councillors each, translating for election race that will go down to the wire definitely. But that will not be the case as two BPF councilors shifted their allegiance to the ruling party during the first race for Chairmanship held in a secret ballot and no sooner was the election concluded then the ruling party answered back by withdrawing its candidacy for the deputy chair position to give BPF’s Dikgang the post on a silver platter unopposed.

BPF councilor Vuyo Notha confirmed the incident in an interview on Wednesday, insisting the party NEC was determined to “investigate the matter soon”. “During the race for the Chairmanship, two more BPF voted for alongside the ruling party membership. It was clear Dikgang voted alongside the BDP as immediately after the vote for Chairmanship was concluded, Kenosi withdraw his candidacy to render Dikgang unopposed as a payback,” Notha added.

As for the other vote, Makolo ward councilor will not be drawn for the identity preferring instead to say: “BPF NEC will convene all the councilors to investigate the matter soon and we will take from there.” Notha will also not be drawn to conclude may be the culprit councilors could have defected to the ruling party silently.

“If they are no longer part of us they should say so and a by-election be called,” was all he could say. As it stands now, the law forbids sitting Councilors and Parliamentarians from crossing the floor to another party as to do so will immediately invite for a new election as dictated by the law. Incumbent politicians will therefore dare not venture for the unknown with a by-election that could definitely cost their political life and certainly their full benefits.

Notha could also not be dragged to link the culprit councilors actions to BPF Serowe region Chairperson Tebo Thokweng who has silently defected to the ruling party and currently employed by the party businessman and former candidate for Serowe West Moemedi Dijeng as PRO for the highly anticipated cattle abattoir project in Serowe.

“As for Thokweng he has not resigned from the party but from the region’s chairmanship,” he said. WeekendPost investigations suggest Thokweng is the secret snipper behind the recruitment drive of the votes for the elections and is determined to tear the party dominance in Serowe and the neighbouring villages asunder including in Palapye going forward.

This publication’s investigations also show BPF’s Radisele and UDC’s Mokgware/Mogome councilors are under the radar of investigations for the votes-themselves associated with the workings and operations of Thokweng.

“NEC will definitely leave no stone unturned with their investigations to get into the bottom of the matter. Disciplinary actions will follow certainly,” Notha concluded, underscoring the need to toe the party line to set a good precedent. For the youthful councilor, the actions of his peers has set a wrong precedent which has to be dealt with seriously to deter future culprits.

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