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Khama speaks on Masisi, Tshekedi


President Lt Gen Ian Khama has dismissed as utter nonsense and misinformed, speculation that the new Vice President, Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi is only standing in for his brother, Tshekedi Khama.


The President is of the view that the same lies were pedddled about him during his days at the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), during the tenure of former presidents, Festus Mogae and Sir Ketumile Masire.


In an exclusive and revealing interview with Weekendpost, Khama expressed shock that some people have developed a tendency to attempt to read his mind and foretell his next moves – the problem, he says is that they end up misleading the nation and tarnishing his good name.


President Khama said his administration is committed to serve with truth and commitment. He rubbished theories that Masisi is only standing in for Tshekedi, “why would we do that, why will he stand in for Tshekedi, look Masisi is capable just like a lot of BDP MPs and I trust that he will do a good job, he is not standing in for anyone,” he said.


Asked why Masisi of all the MPs, Khama becomes tries to be politically correct. “I don’t want to go in that, but I want to emphasis that it could have been anyone else in the BDP, its just that there can only be one Vice-President,” he said. The President further added that Masisi has an impressive track record as a Minister. According to the President, Masisi is Botswana’s next president. “Things will evolve,” he added.


Nasha is finally out of the picture after a protracted battle that was punctuated by court interventions. If some reports are to be taken seriously there were backstage arm swindling between the former Speaker and the President.


Is Khama happy that Nasha is finally out? Khama responds, “Happy, about what? I am actually unhappy at how things have ended”. Khama continues: “For some reasons Nasha chose to be confrontational, rebellious and hostile. I know why but I will not move to divulge the reasons.”


Pressed further Khama said, “Nasha approached me and wanted some things I could not accede to. She then moved on to vilify me.” Nasha however challenges Khama to reveal those things. “He can’t divulge them because they are non-existant. I challenge him to reveal them and that is when I will respond to you,” she said in a clarity-seeking interview with Weekend Post.


Insiders say the issue was that Nasha wanted an independent Parliament free from the control of the Executive. Nasha has revealed that she often refused some orders from the Executive and the Attorney General. Nasha said a case in point is the just ended court case in which the Attorney General wanted her to scrap off sections of the standing orders calling for a secret ballot. The Court of Appeal upheld Nasha’s decision.


Meanwhile President Khama says he has no reason to hate Nasha, “look I am the one who made Nasha a Minister, and it was under my Presidency that we elected her to a position of a Parliament Speaker after she notified me of her National Assembly Speaker ambition. I nodded to her ambition because we also wanted gender balance among other issues.”


Khama does not want to dwell on his latest working relation with Nasha but is quick to point out that, “I have been behind her throughout until of recent when she said nasty things about me.” The rivalry, Khama says, thicked when Nasha heard that Kokorwe will be nominated to replace her. “She rebelled against me and did despicable things,” says the President.


The BDP has got its way at the National Assembly contrary to some people’s hopes. They have unanimously and effortlessly elected their preffered Speaker and Deputy and further endorsed President Khama’s choice of Vice President. This followed a notorious court battle over the National Assembly standing orders on the type of election method to be used.


When asked to explain why the country had to endure such a ‘laughable and ridiculous’ case – to borrow from Nasha’s words – President Khama said, “Let me explain that because we have been abused on that case.

The truth of the matter is that someone I would not reveal his identity confided to me that some people want to challenge the said standing orders and I approached the Attorney General and the party lawyer, Parks Tafa about the matter and it was agreed that we had to clear the matter before the courts to avoid any embarrassment after we had made our elections and everything,” he said.


According to Khama, Tafa and the Attorney General had no case but just wanted to clear the ground. The submissions raised by the Attorney General and the BDP lawyer, Tafa who argued at length the case and even went as far as appealing, were that the standing orders are unconstitutional and that they may plunge this country into a  constitutional crises.

The confusing part however is that Nasha speaks a totally different story to the case. She has revealed that the Attorney General had prior to the case requested her to put aside the standing orders under question and she refused.


The story according to Khama is that on the 23rd of October he heard that the elections may be challenged as unconstitutional. Khama says he later learnt that the matter was blown out of proportion.

“For the record I am one of those people who support the secret ballot system. I actually wanted it to be upheld because people were saying these are internal BDP wars playing themselves out at their expense. The BDP decision at parliament to vote unanimously without anyone monitoring or intimidating them has shown that we are a united party as shown by our votes,” he said.

The BDP has voted as per the caucus resolutions and only one member defied the caucus and voted for Nasha. Nasha has revealed that she doesn’t blame the MPs for not voting for her as they had to endure unbearable fire to vote her out.


Khama has met with the opposition parties leader, Duma Boko and pleaded with him to ensure a good working relationship. The President has also pledged to work with the opposition in good faith.


Much, however, has been said about Khama’s commitment to his word owing to failure to keep previous promises to the opposition. What is wrong? Khama blames the opposition. “We must work together for the betterment of this nation.

The problem comes when they find solace in attacking me at any given opportunity, that is not how a team works. The Khama bashing must stop and be replaced with a constructive and noble exchange of ideas,” Khama proposes.


Saleshando speaks over Masisi
Botswana Congress Party leader, Dumelang Saleshando says the nation has to respect Khama’s decision to appoint Masisi as his vice,adding that as the president one chooses the person he thinks he can best work better with.


He said the vice president however has to be a man who is ,among other attributes, ,tolerant,honest,patriotic ,selfless and astute. Asked if he honestly thinks Masisi posseses those qualities,Shaleshando said ‘unfortunately no.’


“Look ,i have interacted with Masisi a couple of times and i don’t think he can advice the president.I think he lacks the necessary charactristic of a person ideal for that position but like i say we have to respect the president’s choice and give them a chance,” 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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