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Magosi ‘technically’ on suspension…

In 2019, the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) Brigadier Peter Magosi’s job was reported to be on shaky grounds after speculation that President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has slapped him with a suspension letter.

Magosi was accused of presenting before courts several flawed high profile corruption, terrorism and money laundering cases that have immensely bruised the government’s image. When this publication inquired then, Magosi denied and rubbished the allegations, claiming that he and Masisi have a very tight professional relationship. However, reliable sources within the intelligence community revealed to this publication this week that speculation that Magosi was placed on suspension is indeed true.

After numerous reports indicating that Magosi was on suspension, he toned down, and was no longer seen actively being involved in guarding the President. But he has re-emerged of late. Magosi is record stating that the President’s life is under threat. It is however alleged that Magosi’s suspension has been kept as top secret by the intelligence unit and Office of the President (OP). Sources further revealed that this decision came long and hard.

Allegedly, Magosi currently does not have direct contact with the President. He however camouflages this by attending some of the events Masisi is seen at, the latest being at the Budget Speech on Monday. Despite this damning allegations, information received is that Magosi will not entertain any suspension and has been seen at the State house on his duties from time to time. WeekendPost has gathered that Masisi and Magosi in their routine meetings, discussed the matter relating to preserving DIS credibility.

Masisi is said to be very concerned by the manner in which Magosi does his business, as it has the potential to further tarnish the image of the institution.  “Not like he was hard on him, but it was just an advise for Magosi to tone down and not be trigger happy as it could put the institution in a bad light,” revealed a source.
 The meeting is said to have been staged prior to elections where Masisi expressed his concerns.  UDC has also reported Magosi to the Ombudsman for acts of mal-administration and abuse of office.

“It is our greatest concern that the Director General has overstepped his security functions and crossed into political landscape. His overzealous body guard behaviour, seemingly to impress his political appointor, has left many Batswana puzzled by the state of affairs. The important question is; can an unethical and unprofessional public servant be expected to deliver on his mandate? In the case of Mr Magosi, we say he can’t,” wrote the UDC President Duma Boko in a complaint letter to the Ombudsman.


MAGOSI TROUBLES OUTLINED 


The Sebina brothers, Tshepo and Kegone Sebina have swiftly moved an application to counter sue the State, over an ex parte search warrant that was issued against them earlier this year, after being sought by Magosi. Earlier this year, Magosi successfully applied for ex parte search warrant on the brothers before the Village Magistrate Court.

The two brothers were accused of being involved in corrupt dealings with former DIS spy Chief, Colonel Isaac Kgosi.

It was alleged that the brothers had been corruptly awarded tenders from about 52 companies in which 48 of these pointed to have the three brothers as Directors/shareholders. Whilst the properties of Kegone and Tshepo were raided and the properties were also allegedly linked to Kgosi.  The investigators allegedly made way with documents. Former President Khama and his brother Tshekedi Khama, along with Ms. Tahlia Naledi Khama (Tshekedi’s daughter) are also suing the Director General, for defamation of character.

This came after Magosi revealed that an amount of P5.6 billion was stolen from the Bank of Botswana when Dr. Khama was President; and the monies were maintained in a certain ‘‘offshore’’ bank account in Ms. Tahlia Naledi Khama’s names.

High profile investigative officers at the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) have also written a letter in which they complained about the interference of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) in the operations of the DCEC.

The letter, which has been seen by this publication, details the frustrations of investigating officers and make allegations against the Director Generals.

The officers complain that they have lost their independence to the DIS Director General and in some instances the Financial Intelligence Agency (FIA) Director General. They complain that their Director General, Brigadier Joseph Mathambo, gets operational direction, especially regarding high profile investigations from the two DGs at FIA and DIS. In the letter, they complain that in terms of the DCEC Act and international best practices, investigations must remain confidential and not communicated to any unauthorized persons.



They allege that in their case, the DIS Chief, Magosi dictates to their DG Mathambo, on who to investigate and who not to investigate. Because of this, some reports are not authorized for investigations and if authorized, the investigations are being frustrated and investigating officers victimised. They state in the letter that when he first addressed them after his appointment, Mathambo told them that he was appointed by DIS DG Peter Magosi and President Mokgweetsi Masisi and he has to serve their interests.  â€¨â€¨â€¨

The officers say that they are inundated with reports against the DIS DG but because of his close relationship with their DG, they are scared of forwarding the reports for classification to investigate. The officers complain that they were investigating their DG and his wife, who was working at Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC), on accounts of corruption and also for insurance fraud, but they don't know what happened to his files after the departure of Bruno Paledi.




They also complain that they have been investigating the DIS DG Magosi but they don't know what happened to his files after the appointment of Joseph Mathambo. Magosi’s investigations involved his time at the Botswana Defence Force (BDF). At the time when the DCEC was investigating this case, the DCEC DG was an Inspector General at the BDF doing audits, it is alleged that he was already close to the DIS DG at the time. Attempts to reach Magosi for comment were unfruitful as he declined this publication’s calls.

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Jackdish Shah loses interest in BDP

17th May 2022
Jackdish

As the preparations for the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) congress are about to kick off, reports on the ground suggest that the party’s Deputy Treasurer Jackdish Shah will not defend the position in August as he contemplates relocation.

According to sources, the businessman who joined the BDP Central Committee in 2015 at the 36th Congress held in Mmadinare is ready to leave the party’s politburo. It is said he long made up his mind not to defend the position last year. A prominent businessman, Shah, when he won the position to assist Satar Dada in 2015 was expected to improve the party’s financial vibrancy. By then the party was under the leadership of Ian Khama.

According to close sources, Shah long decided not to contest because he has fallen out of favour with the party leadership. It is said he took the decision after some prominent businessmen who are BDP members and part of football syndicate decided to push him out and they used their proximity to President Mokgweetsi Masisi to badmouth him hence the decision.

“The fight at the Botswana Football Association (BFA) and Botswana Football League (BFL) has left him alone in the desert and some faces there used their close access to the President to isolate him,” said a source. Media reports say, Shah does not see eye to eye with BFA President MacLean Letshwiti who is also Masisi’s buddy hence the decision.

BFL Chairman Nicholas Zackhem is said to be not in good terms with Shah, who at one point Chaired the then Botswana Premier League (BPL). “He is seriously considering quitting because of what is unfolding at the team (Township Rollers) which is slowly not making financial gains and might be relegated and he wants to sell while it is still worth the investment,” said a highly placed source.

Shah is a renowned businessman who runs internet providing company Zebra net, H &G, game farm in Kasane, cattle farm in Ghanzi region and lot of properties in Gaborone. He also has two hotels in USA, his advisors have given him thumbs up on the possible decision of relocating provided he does not sell some of the investments that are doing well.

Asked about whether he will be contesting Shah could not confirm nor deny the reports. It is said for now it is too early as a public decision will have to be taken after the national council meeting and prior to the national congress. “As a BDP Central Committee member he cannot make that announcement now,” a BDP source said.

BDP is expected to assemble for the National Council during the July holidays while the National Congress is billed for August. It is then that the party will elect a new CC members. The last time BDP held elective congress was at Kang in 2019. The party is yet to issue writ.

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Govt ignores own agreements to improve public service

17th May 2022
Govt

The government has failed to implement some commitments and agreements that it had entered into with unions to improve conditions of public servants.

Three years after the government and public made commitments aimed at improving conditions of work and services it has emerged that the government has ignored and failed to implement all commitments on conditions of service emanating from the 2019 round of negotiations.

In its position paper that saw public service salaries being increased by 5%, the government the government has also signalled its intention to renege on some of the commitments it had made.
“Government aspires to look into all outstanding issues contained in the Labour Agreement signed between the Employer and recognised Trade Union on the 27th August 2019 and that it be reviewed, revised and delinked by both Parties with a view to agree on those whose implementation that can be realistically executed during the financial years 2022/23, 2023/24 and 2024/25 respectively,” the government said.

Furthermore, in addition to reviewing, revising and de-linking of the outstanding issues contained in the Collective Labour Agreement alluded to above and taking on a progressive proposal, government desires to review revise, develop and implement human resource policies as listed below during the financial year 2022/23,2023/24,2024/25

They include selection and appointment policy, learning and development policy, transfer guidelines, conditions of service, permanent and pensionable, temporary and part time, Foreign Service, expatriate and disciplinary procedures.

In their proposal paper, the unions which had proposed an 11 percent salary increase but eventually settled for 5% percent indicated that the government has not, and without explanation, acted on some of the key commitments from the 2019/2020 and 2021/22 round of negotiations.  The essential elements of these commitments include among others the remuneration Policy for the Public Service.

The paper states that a Remuneration Policy will be developed to inform decision making on remuneration in the Public Service. It is envisaged that consultations between the government and relevant key stakeholders on the policy was to start on 1st September 2019, and the development of the policy should be concluded by 30th June 2020.

The public sector unions said the Remuneration Policy is yet to be developed. The Cooperating Unions suggested that the process should commence without delay and that it should be as participatory as it was originally conceived. Another agreement relate to Medical Aid Contribution for employees on salary Grades A and B.

The employer contribution towards medical aid for employees on salary Grades A and B will be increased from 50% to 80% for the Standard Option of the Botswana Public
“Officers’ Medical Aid Scheme effective 1st October 2019; the cooperating unions insist that, in fulfilling this commitment, there should be no discrimination between those on the high benefit and those on the medium benefit plan,” the unions proposal paper says.

Another agreement involves the standardisation of gratuities across the Public Service. “Gratuities for all employees on fixed term contracts of 12 months but not exceeding 5 years, including former Industrial class employees be standardized at 30% across the Public Service in order to remove the existing inequalities and secure long-term financial security for Public Service Employees at lower grades with immediate effect,” the paper states.

The other agreement signed by the public sector unions and the government was the development of fan-shaped Salary Structure. The paper says the Public Service will adopt a best practice fan-shaped and overlapping structure, with modification to suit the Botswana context. The Parties (government and unions) to this agreement will jointly agree on the ranges of salary grades to allow for employees’ progression without a promotion to the available position on the next management level.

“The fan-shaped structure is envisaged to be in place by 1st June 2020, to enable factoring into the budgetary cycle for the financial year 2021/22,” the unions’ proposal paper states. It says the following steps are critical, capacity building of key stakeholders (September – December 2019), commission remuneration market survey (3 months from September to November 2019), design of the fan-shaped structure (2 to 3 months from January to March2020) and consultations with all key stakeholders (March to April 2020).

The unions and government had also signed an agreement on performance management and development: A rigorous performance management and reward system based on a 5-point rating system will be adopted as an integral part of the operationalization of the new Remuneration System.

Performance Management and Development (PMD) will be used to reward workers based on performance. The review of the Performance Management System was to be undertaken in order to close the gaps identified by PEMANDU and other previous reports on PMS between 1st September 2019 and 30th June 2020 as follows; internal process to update and revise the current Performance Management System by January 2020.

A job evaluation exercise in the Public Service will also be undertaken to among others establish internal equity, and will also cover the grading of all supervisory positions within the Public Service.
Another agreement included overtime Management. The Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) was to facilitate the conclusion of consultations on management of overtime, including consideration of the Overtime Management Task Team’s report on the same by 30th November 2019.

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Health Expert rejects ‘death rates’ links to low population growth

17th May 2022
Health-Expert

A public health expert, Dr Edward Maganu who is also the former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health has said that unlike many who are expressing shock at the population census growth decline results, he is not, because the 2022 results represents his expectations.

He rushed to dismiss the position by Statistics Botswana in which thy partly attributes the low growth rates to mortality rates for the past ten years. “I don’t think there is any undercounting. I also don’t think death rates have much to do with it since the excessive deaths from HIV/AIDS have been controlled by ARVs and our life expectancy isn’t lower than it was in the 1990s,” he said in an interview with this publication post the release of the results.

Preliminary results released by Statistics Botswana this week indicated that Botswana’s population is now estimated to be 2,346,179 – a figure that the state owned data agency expressed worry over saying it’s below their projected growth. The general decline in the population growth rate is attributed to ‘fertility’ and ‘mortality’ rates that the country registered on the past ten years since the last census in 2011.

Maganu explained that with an enlightened or educated society and the country’s total fertility rate, there was no way the country’s population census was going to match the previous growth rates.
“The results of the census make sense and is exactly what I expected. Our Total Fertility Rate ( the average number of children born to a woman) is now around 2.

This is what happens as society develops and educates its women. The enlightened women don’t want to bear many children, they want to work and earn a living, have free time, and give their few children good care. So, there is no under- counting. Census procedures are standard so that results are comparable between countries.

That is why the UN is involved through UNFPA, the UN Agency responsible for population matters,” said Maganu who is also the former adviser to the World Health Organisation. Maganu ruled out undercounting concerns, “I see a lot of Batswana are worried about the census results. Above is what I have always stated.”

Given the disadvantages that accompany low population for countries, some have suggested that perhaps a time has come for the government to consider population growth policies or incentives, suggestions Maganu deems ineffective.

“It has never worked anywhere. The number of children born to a woman are a very private decision of the woman and the husband in an enlightened society. And as I indicated, the more the women of a society get educated, the higher the tendency to have fewer children. All developed countries have a problem of zero population growth or even negative growth.

The replacement level is regarded as 2 children per woman; once the fertility level falls below that, then the population stops growing. That’s why developed countries are depending so much on immigration,” he said.

According to him, a lot of developing countries that are educating their women are heading there, including ourselves-Botswana. “Countries that have had a policy of encouraging women to have more children have failed dismally. A good example is some countries of Eastern Europe (Romania is a good example) that wanted to grow their populations by rewarding women who had more children. It didn’t work. The number of children is a very private matter,” said Maganu

For those who may be worried about the impact of problems associated with low growth rate, Maganu said: “The challenge is to develop society so that it can take care of its dependency ratio, the children and the aged. In developed countries the ratio of people over 60 years is now more than 20%, ours is still less than 10%.”

The preliminary results show that Mogoditshane with (88,098) is now the biggest village in the country with Maun coming second (85,293) and Molepolole at third position with 74,719. Population growth is associated with many economic advantages because more people leads to greater human capital, higher economic growth, economies of scale, the efficiency of higher population density and the improved demographic structure of society, among many others.

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