The election is over. Congratulations to Batswana who made their voice heard. The voice was clear and as is the case, the voice of the people is the voice of God. So it is clear what God is saying to us. We must heed this ominous message. Batswana have been ready for change of government for at least the past fifteen years.
What has impeded this change is clear; failure by the opposition parties to work together despite having same ideology and same policies and belonging together. God hates divisions especially those motivated by selfishness and He says ‘a divided house… will not stand’. Motlhalefi mongwe o kile a bua are a ba ba sentseng ba baakanye.
BNF take over of government in 1999 was eminent. Everyone who cared was aware of it and BDP was extremely concerned about this prospect. Mysteriously and timely for BDP, BCP was born. This gave BDP an undeserved new lease of life that denied Batswana an opportunity to experience a new government. It has happened again this year; BDP is back in power thanks to same selfish tendencies. Combined opposition would have easily secured over 30 seats in parliament.
It is extremely disappointing that after the people for the first time have spoken so eloquently through the ballot box, that they want BCP to be part of the UDC, BCP leader and some of his cohorts are now telling Batswana that they did not make a mistake by pulling out of the UMBRELLA TALKS. They are happy to go it alone. Clearly they are not able to listen and understand the voice of the people and hence the voice of God.
The BCP language is not changing. It is the same language they used when BCP was formed. They vowed and bragged then with the same arrogance that they displayed at the rally they held in old Naledi on Sunday. In 1998 and subsequent years they openly bragged that they did not need BNF to win and will never work with BNF.
On Sunday they were on a warpath again saying they cannot be part of the UDC formation. Ao batho! Is this not strange coming from a party that sponsored the Umbrella model (during the first opposition cooperation talks) as the only viable model for opposition cooperation and pact model as a none starter?
Is it not strange coming from a party that started the umbrella talks with other opposition parties and said any party that walks away from the Umbrella talks should be punished by the voters? Is it not strange coming from a leader who walked away from the same talks on account of disagreement on allocation of two constituencies and then wanted a pact with BNF instead? Is it not strange that the same leader after being severely punished by the voters as per his own instruction is now blaming UDC for the voters who exercised their democratic right to punish him and his party?
Is it not strange that Mr. Saleshando is now saying he wants to consult on the model of cooperation, which model he introduced in 2004 and continued to champion in 2011? Is it not strange that he is now saying UDC is the same as BDP? Batswana can read between the lines. We are not stupid. The voters are saying to you, ‘if you do not want to cooperate with others, good luck to you, but we will punish you even more severely next time’.
BCP likes to play with statistics. They see themselves as the fastest growing party in the land and therefore they think they will eventually win without the other parties. Mr. Saleshando likes talking about these numbers. I want to tell him that statistics can lie big time. Statistics will tell you whatever you want to hear and Mr. Saleshando with respect must know that.
Let the following numbers from these elections talk to you for a minute;
Description No of voters Percentage (%)
Eligible voters 1,500,000 100%
People who registered to vote 824,000 55%
People who voted for BDP 321,000 21%
People who voted for UDC s 207,000 14%
People who voted for BCP 141,000 9%
People who voted for Mekoko & spoilt votes 30,000 2%
People who voted 699,000 47%
People who registered and not voted 125,000 8%
People who did not register to vote 676,000 45 %
Total people who did not vote 801,000 53%
These numbers show another story that is being ignored by all the political parties. There are 1,500,000 eligible voters in Botswana. Just fewer than 700,000 voted. Over 800 000 (53%) of eligible voters did not vote (only 47 % voted). There are three groups of people IEC and the opposition parties should be concerned about. These are:
People who did not register (676,000)
People who registered but did not vote (125, 000)
People who voted for independents (Mekoko) and spoilt votes (30,000).
Until you significantly reach these people, the talk of growth is hollow. I suggest that all the parties through parliament, should demand that IEC as part of their mandate, should conduct a basic study to determine why people did not register in such large numbers, why so many people who registered did not vote, why did we have so many independents and spoilt votes? This will help the IEC and the political parties to shape their strategies and prepare for the next elections.
My guess is that the people who did not register could not be bothered because they believed their vote would not make any difference in their lives. Their vote would not change the status quo. They did not believe the opposition was ready to lead this country.
Some were disappointed with the infighting within the opposition parties especially BNF and failure by BCP to join UDC. Some could perhaps not tolerate the long lines and inconvenience associated with queuing for registering and voting.
For the people who registered and did not register, it could be a result of our rigid electoral system that requires that you vote where you registered. People especially the unemployed move regularly from district to district in search for jobs and this requirement does restrict and disenfranchise many.
For the many independents and spoilt votes, it is most probably driven by poor internal party democracy and in some cases selfishness and unwillingness to accept defeat. Spoilt votes are most probably due to ignorance and or anxiety by these voters and IEC should find workable strategies to address to address this.
The question that should be at the lips of all the political parties should be, what should we do to get the 801,000 people to register and vote for us? For the opposition, they have their work cut out for them. There must unite under the Umbrella.
BCP in particular must swallow its pride, stop accusing UDC for their failure and stop trivilising the issues by saying they are the only party concerned about job creation, education for production, low wages and painting UDC as the same as BDP. This is cheap and will get BCP deep in the mud.
The majority (54%) of those who voted chose the opposition. The fact that the ruling party got only 46 % of the voters and is leading the country is not only an indictment on our ill-advised electoral system but also on the opposition parties who failed to unite.
Those who think there is some difference between UDC and BCP must think again. They all believe in social democracy. Their policies are the same and mainly drawn from BNF. The only notable difference is their party colours. The other differences are artificial and personal mainly driven by egocentric pride and intoxicating desire to be in front (lead) at the exclusion of others.
In conclusion UDC must remain focused on consolidating its gains under the Umbrella. The focus on individual parties must slowly fade away. UDC must with humility and strength of character continue to work towards bringing BCP to join the UDC.
They must continue to bring non aligned people to their ranks. The principled stand demonstrated by its leader DGB will bring in more people under the Umbrella shelter. Any other model other than the Umbrella will be retrogressive and must be rejected outright.
UDC must be careful of Khama’s friendly gestures. These gestures are most likely meant to derail UDC from its focus. Any dealings with Khama must be based on principle and clear conditions set out for any envisaged engagement. The confusion, Khama has already created in parliament by taking parliament to court is a clear indication that Khama cannot be trusted.
We look up to UDC and DGB to closely mark Khama to protect the interest of our people and our country. If it means bringing Khama to his knees before 2019, so be it. Good luck to all the parties and all Batswana as we start the march towards 2019.
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.”
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.
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.