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Morupisi confronts Masisi

Former Permanent Secretary to the President, Carter Morupisi confronted President Mokgweetsi Masisi to express his disappointment for using him to fight his political battles with former President Lt Gen Ian Khama.

According to sources, a fuming Morupisi was able to set-up a meeting with Masisi last week. Chief on the agenda was Morupisi’s displeasure at how Masisi treated him, including among others the decision to not offer him contract extension, despite having earlier indicated his desire to serve two more years. “He went to tell Masisi off, I think he feels betrayed. Anyone would. Imagine being there and standing by someone only for them to turn against you,” revealed a source close to developments.


The meeting however did not end well, as Masisi did not take kindly to Morupisi’s confrontation resulting with the latter being shown the exit door. Following Masisi’s ascendance to presidency at the beginning of April in 2018, Morupisi became a key man in the fallout between Masisi and his predecessor, Khama. At the height of Masisi-Khama tension in the build up to 2019 general elections, Morupisi was used as the hitman, unleashing on the onslaught on his hapless former boss.

Morupisi’s civil service career found momentum during Khama’s presidency after being elevated from a Permanent Secretary position to head Directorate on Public Service Management (DPSM), and later assuming the reigns as the head of civil service in 2014. However, Morupisi found himself being saddled with the task of delivering the sad news to Khama every time. Unbeknownst to him, Morupisi at one point told WeekendPost that his loyalty lies with the current President as required by the position he held.

It is however believed that Masisi has always had plans to replace Morupisi with Elias Magosi, who was appointed as Morupisi’s understudy at the beginning of Masisi’s term in 2018. Magosi was announced as the new PSP three weeks ago, a development which incensed Morupisi. Though Morupisi had been on suspension since September 2019 owing to corruption charges relating to dealings at Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) and Capital Management Botswana (CMB) he had hoped his contract would be extended.  

Sources reveal that during his suspension from office, Morupisi proposed to have his contract renewed but he was turned down. During the heated meeting recently, it is alleged that Masisi felt no remorse at all when Morupisi confronted him on how disappointed he was. A few days before seeing off his contract, Morupisi had called a press conference in which he promised to spill the beans. In the invitation directed to the media, Morupisi quoted the iconic human rights activist Dr Martin Luther King Jnr, “Our lives begin to end the day we choose to be silent about things that matter”, he wrote.

The Office of the President however moved swiftly to warn Morupisi that should he proceed with such a press conference, there would be serious implications on his part. Morupisi developed cold feet and cancelled the press conference at the eleventh hour. It is reported that government threatened to withhold his terminal benefits should he contravene the Public Service Act, which govern Morupisi, who was at that time, a government employee.  

Initially when Morupisi’s contract ended, it was alleged that Morupisi was given a period of three months to seek alternative accommodation while waiting to vacate his official residence at Extension 11 in Gaborone. However on Thursday last week, Morupisi was slapped with another secretive eviction letter that indicated that he needed to vacate the premises within a week. This, sources close to the developments say was done immediately after Morupisi and Masisi’s heated meeting. “Morupisi wanted Masisi to know that he is disappointed, I think he never thought at some point he would change on him. Now the tables have turned, he is amongst those who have faced the axe from the current regime,” said the source.


This publication reported that as the year slowly unfolds more heads are expected to roll within government enclave as Masisi is prepared to phase out more top civil servants from their duties and replace them with his new brigade. When reached for comment Morupisi denied having met the President on such grounds, indicating that the only encounter he had with the President was when he went to say his goodbyes since his contract was nearing an end.


More developments revealed by reliable sources to this publication indicate that the former PSP is now trying to rekindle his relationship with Khama.It is reported that Morupisi had recently met with the former President in a brief meeting. Morupisi made startling revelations at a media briefing in Gaborone last year which was aimed at discussing the pension and benefits of former presidents, in which Khama was at the receiving end.  

The public service chief said former presidents; the late Sir Ketumile Masire and Festus Mogae never wanted special treatment extended to them from government with regard to pensions and benefits, but Khama continues to expect preferential treatment. Morupisi revealed that Khama had been a burden as he wanted to be treated with kid’s gloves and offered special treatment. He also revealed that all the favours propelled to Khama were not within the legal framework as they had to go an extra mile for him.

“In all honesty it will not be fair and authentic to the late former President Masire if I state that he wanted the government to treat him with kid’s gloves and extended his benefits beyond what is in the rule book,” he stated. According to Morupisi, Masire never troubled government, even though he had many financial shortcoming and needs. In nursing his relation with Khama, Morupisi would have to face the bitter realities. When Khama was at the receiving end of Morupisi directives in 2018, he accused the latter of using him in order to ingratiate himself to President Masisi in order to keep his job.

 Khama warned Morupisi that all that he is doing to him in his endeavour to protect his job will soon catch up with him. Khama, who referred to Morupisi as a ‘pretender’ said he was concerned in his bid to please Masisi, he was doing so by undermining him, disparaging, frustrating and sabotaging him.

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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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