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Khama: High birthrate strains budget

He says Batswana are giving birth at an alarming rate

President Lt Gen Ian Khama has revealed that his government has noticed that high birthrate is straining the national budget. The President was speaking at an inhouse meeting with public servants in the Kweneng region.


Khama took swipe at ‘Botswana’s high birth rate, almost blaming it for the strained budget. Botswana has a birth rate of 21.34 births/1,000 population.


“Batswana are giving birth at an alarming rate and our budget can’t keep up with the high birthrate. High birthrate means more clinics and classrooms which means more teachers and nurses and that means money,” the President said.


Government scales down civil service
The President also revealed that his government is also scaling down the public service hence retiring and resigning public servants will not be replaced. As a result any hope of the unemployed youth taking over from retiring civil servants have been dashed.


Botswana’s unemployement rate is estimated at around 17 percent, a figure that many say is incompatible with the Botswana’s economic status owing to its small population. The President, revealed in an inhouse meeting with Kweneng public servants that his government desperately wants to cut down the public service.


 “We are already doing it and we will not be firing or retrenching anyone but we have instead opted not to replace voluntary exits like those resigning and retiring,” he said at Ntsweletau Primary School on Thursday.


Khama was responding to a question relating to ‘acute shortage of staff hence poor service delivery’ by the public servants. He pointed out: “You see I did not retrench you during the economic meltdown despite your irritable toyi-toying and frequent calls for regime change because I was mindful of your situations and lives,” he added.


Khama said the country’s budget is burdened hence the decision to trim down the public service, a move he ascribed to slow developments in the country. “We have a wage bill of 16/17 million Pula from a 54 billion budget. You are five percent of the population which is hundred and thirty thousand. So we have to balance this because if we irrationally hike your salaries other components will suffer,” he said.


Khama who has been blamed for making overiding statements and remarks in relation to salary negotiations treaded carefully on the matter. “You see we have made our proposal to the Public Service Bargaining Council and we are ready to effect it by the 1st of April. As you may be aware the PSBC is ongoing and as you know them they might refuse the offer but its up to them,” he said to the deafening silence of his audience.


Khama also had words of caution for teachers when he heared them say they have stopped participating in extra curriculum activities as adviced by their unions.


“Thats unkind.You did not suffer the injustices you are subjecting the innocent students in your younger school days but you will agree with me that the conditions that the then teachers worked under during those times were worse than yours today.You are making life difficult for us,” he said.


Khama against teachers’ overtime demands
Khama revealed that he told his Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi who was tasked with turning the Ministry of Education and Skills Development woes around that the fifteen percent overtime allowance demanded by the teachers is too much and will not be realised. “We have about 26 000 teachers in Botswana and  and you can imagine how much we will need if each is to get that overtime allowance, it will increase th wage bill,” he remarked.


Khama continued: “My position is simple, I told the authorities that we should leave the teachers to work for eight hours then hire other coaches who will be responsible for extra curriculum activities.”


He said that apart from from their demands, he feels that teachers are being overworked. “Imagine having to work after a normal school day, then be forced to go to the grounds, weekends and having to travel longer trips, its exhausting hence lets rest them.”


The President was however quick to add that he knows that his decision will rub some the wrong way. “I know that other teachers will not be happy at this because they want to increase income. Some even cook the books and this wories us because the overtime bill then goes up and that is an indirect salary increase that is not budgeted for,” he said.


His remark has rubbed Botswana Federation fo Public Service Union (BOFEPUSU) the wrong way as he predicted. In a brief interview, the Federation’s Secretrary General, Tobokani Rari said the decision does not pass the common sense test as it doesn’t solve anything but rather raises more questions than answers.


“If there is no money to pay the teachers overtime, where will government get the money to pay the said coaches? What we are saying is that let the teachers be remunerated as per the provisions of the Employment Act which stipulates that any work beyond the stipulated 8 hours a day should be compensated,” he said.


Rari added that the decision to engage outside coaches will haunt the government at a later stage as teachers have been trained to work with and nurture kids. He said children will eventually get abused by untrained coaches.


On downsizing of the public service, Rari said the already leaking public service is going down to the drain. “This raises questions of whether the government has been having people it doesn’t need. But at the end of it all, it is the public that will suffer poor service,” he said.

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BDP decides Balopi’s fate

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The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee (CC) meeting, chaired by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi late last month, resolved that the party’s next Secretary-General (SG) should be a full-time employee based at Tsholetsa House and not active in politics.

The resolution by the CC, which Masisi proposed, is viewed as a ploy to deflate the incumbent, Mpho Balopi’s political ambitions and send him into political obscurity. The two have not been on good terms since the 2019 elections, and the fallout has been widening despite attempts to reconcile them. In essence, the BDP says that Balopi, who is currently a Member of Parliament, Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, and a businessman, is overwhelmed by the role.

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BDF-Namibians shootings autopsy report revealed

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The Botswana Defence Force (BDF)-Namibians fatal shooting tragedy Inquest has revealed through autopsy report that the BDF carried over 800 bullets for the mission, 32 of which were discharged towards the targets, and 19 of which hit the targets.

This would mean that 13 bullets missed the targets-in what would be a 60 percent precision rate for the BDF operation target shooting. The Autopsy report shows that Martin Nchindo was shot with five (4) bullets, Ernst Nchindo five (5) bullets, Tommy Nchindo five (5) bullets and Sinvula Munyeme five (5) bullets. From the seven (7) BDF soldiers that left the BDF camp in two boats, four (4) fired the shots that killed the Namibians.

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Gov’t confused over Moitoi’s UN job application

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The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s decision to apply for the positions of United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and their deputies (DSRSG), has left the government confused over whether to lend her support or not, WeekendPost has established.

Moitoi’s application follows the Secretary-General’s launch of the third edition of the Global Call for Heads and Deputy Heads of United Nations Field Missions, which aims to expand the pool of candidates for the positions of SRSG) and their deputies to advance gender parity and geographical diversity at the most senior leadership level in the field. These mission leadership positions are graded at the Under-Secretary-General and Assistant Secretary-General levels.

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