The Office of the President (OP) has this week appointed with immediate effect former Acting Director of Tribal Administration, also former District Commissioner for North East District Council Loeto Porati as Private Secretary to former President Lt Gen Ian Khama.
Even though Porati has not yet resumed duty, Khama on Thursday said he will write back to OP to say they did not follow the due process of appointing a Private Secretary. “During my time in office, the general procedure has been that, you recommend a name and government as the appointing authority will dully appoint the person if they are available. In the event that the person is still holding public office they will either release them or tell you to recommend another name,” Khama told WeekendPost.
Khama said a Private Secretary is someone very close, someone you discuss personal things with so it cannot be a stranger but someone you trust. “I cannot say I know him (Porati), this is someone I once bumped into whilst I was still in office. What baffles me is why is he being imposed on me, why would the President insist on him, why? People have been telling me that he is being sent to spy on me,” said Khama. Khama said during former Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Carter Morupisi’s tenure, they wrote to him to recommend the name of his choice of Private Secretary.
“Even though they rejected the name at least they had the decency to write to me and ask if I do recommend the name,” he said. Khama said this is the general practice which he had held in high esteem during his time in office. Khama was left without a Private Secretary in 2018 when Brigadier George Tlhalerwa decided to resign after government refused to allow him to continue serving on the same salary and package at the end of Khama’s tenure.
After the departure of Tlhalerwa in September 2018, Khama proposed the name of former intelligence chief, Colonel Isaac Kgosi but the then Permanent Secretary to President and Secretary to Cabinet Cater Morupisi refused to appoint him. Khama through his lawyers Toteng and Company, served government with a statutory notice demanding that Kgosi be appointed as his Senior Private Secretary within a reasonable time failing which he will institute review proceedings and seek an order declaring that President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s decision is unreasonable, irrational and unlawful and be set aside.
Government maintained its stance regarding the refusal to employ Kgosi, a move that left Khama without a Private Secretary for almost two years now. In the interim, one Mabedi Letsholo has been executing the duties on acting basis. The former President was quoted in one of the local newspapers when asked about Letsholo saying: “We worked together at the Office of the President and he has been doing so well to save the situation.”
At the time Khama said he badly wanted to continue with Tlhalerwa or his most trusted ally Kgosi because they come a long way and previously worked together. “You just do not pick anybody to be your Private Secretary. It has to be somebody you know and who knows you,” he emphasised. However, approximately two years without a Senior Private Secretary, government has this week appointed with immediate effect Loeto Porati to take the position at former President Khama’s Office. A source who spoke on anonymity said there is a suspicion that Porati is sent by Masisi to monitor Khama’s office and report to his masters.
The appointment taking effect immediately has been made without notice, consultation or any agreement with the former President or his office. The fallout between Khama and his successor President Masisi has profoundly deteriorated to a point where there is a reported continuous harassment of officers who have been working under Khama for many years, the latest being Tiggy Letswapong, Khama’s Executive Secretary, the two have worked together for 22 years.
Letswapong’s contract is coming to an end this month and government has taken a decision not to renew it. Again, Khama’s long-time medical officer who has also worked with him for more than 20 years was relieved of his duties at the former President’s office on Monday. It has not been established where the officer is currently stationed. Khama was also quoted saying, “Officers (are) removed from my office without consultation, without reasons. Why is my Senior Executive Secretary’s contract not being renewed while (the one) for former President Festus Mogae has been renewed”.
Impeccable sources told WeekendPost that all cabinet Ministers and former President Mogae are entitled to the services of Private Secretaries of their own choice and selection. “In this one President Masisi has instructed his PSP Elias Magosi that Khama’s Private Secretary must be appointed by him personally,” said a source close to OP. It is alleged that at the centre of controversy is Khama’s continued charity work which must be put to rest.
“A special team is reported to be working around the clock, to end Khama’s legacy more especially the Presidential Housing Appeal which continues to bring Khama some respect despite government’s continued effort in trying to tarnish his name. Khama continues to receive countless requests to assist charitable projects and activities across the country,” alleged the source.
Following the now dreaded standoff between Masisi and his predecessor, a few weeks back the Masisi led administration withdrew BX vehicle registration number plates, which were alleged to be for use by President Mokgweetsi Masisi and Vice President Slumber Tsogwane respectively. Efforts to reach Permanent Secretary to the President Elias Magosi proved futile as his phones rang unanswered.
In an era where the advocacy for the rights and inclusion of marginal groups, especially individuals beset with profound and multiple impairments, grows more fervent, the Ministry of Education and Skills Development is actively devising schemes to integrate these individuals comprehensively.
Embarking on a pioneering venture, heralded by the Minister Douglas Letsholathebe, the establishment of a novel facility designated for individuals faced with disabilities is on the horizon, set to inaugurate in Maun by mid-2024.
This forthcoming entity, bestowed with the title “Maun Center for Learners with Severe and Multiple Disabilities,” is set to emerge as a sanctuary for those grappling with intense and diverse disabilities in the expanse of the Ngamiland District. Its mission extends beyond serving as a haven; it aims to elevate educational standards and secure outstanding scholastic achievements for this special cohort.
With palpable optimism, Dr. Letsholathebe heralds that this sanctuary, a collective effort of the ministry’s allies, is constructed and awaits its ceremonial launch in the June of 2024, marking a significant epoch in the winter season.
“Construction of the Maun Center for Learners with Severe and Multiple Disabilities has concluded, now in the stewardship of my Ministry. We are poised for its operational unveiling come June 2024,” Dr. Letsholathebe revealed, signaling a new chapter of assurance.
The Government of the Republic of Botswana is steadfast in elevating the status of individuals with disabilities, fostering an environment where their rights are fervently protected and upheld.
Echoing this commitment, the recent adoption of the Persons Living with Disabilities Act marks a historic stride. Its foremost objective is the establishment of the National Disability Coordinating Office alongside the National Disability Council, aligning with the mandates of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). This movement is expected to significantly influence the integration of disability-centric issues.
Moreover, this legislative framework is set to fortify ongoing initiatives, increasing the economic participation of disabled individuals, thereby enhancing their living conditions and steering them towards securing a life marked by dignity and fulfillment.
In light of historical evidence, individuals bearing disabilities have consistently encountered significant obstacles in securing employment, often finding themselves at the margins of the workforce. Constraints to equitable employment opportunities compared to their non-disabled counterparts were a common plight.
A substantial portion of employers harbor reservations about integrating people with disabilities into their workplaces, fearing potential complications. Only a select few are open to the idea of employing individuals with disabilities. Consequently, these individuals face heightened unemployment rates and a lack of social support, exacerbating their vulnerability to economic hardship. The International Labour Organisation (ILO), along with the nation of Botswana, champions the cause of workplace inclusion for people with disabilities.
Statistics from Botswana’s multi-topic survey for the fourth quarter of 2021 underscore the situation. The labor force comprising individuals with disabilities saw an uptick to 11,553 from 8,649 in just a year. Among these, 4,313 were males and 7,240 were females. The unemployed tally stood at 2,195, against 9,358 who were employed. A notable majority resided in Urban Villages, with the remainder spread across rural locales and cities.
During this quarter, individuals with disabilities accounted for approximately 1.3 percent (9,358 persons) of the overall 717,418 employed populace, marking a significant increase from the previous year. The distribution of employed persons with disabilities across various areas also saw changes, with urban regions employing a majority, followed by rural areas and cities.
The report further delves into the occupational landscape for people with disabilities, noting a predominant employment in service/sales roles over elementary positions – a contrast to the broader employment data.
Despite a reduction in unemployment figures for individuals with disabilities from the preceding year, the unemployment rate stands at a worrying 19.0 percent, with disparities between genders. Urban areas house the majority of the unemployed, with rural areas and cities following suit.
Unemployment across different age groups reveals a balanced distribution, highlighting a widespread issue across the demographic spectrum. This paints a vivid picture of the ongoing challenges and gradual progress within the sphere of employment for people with disabilities.
Majority of employers are still hesitant to employ people with disabilities because they believe they may bring problems in the workplace. Only a few employers are willing to hire workers with disabilities. This as a result makes people living with disability to be affected by high unemployment and insufficient social protection which then further increases their risk of poverty. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) is advocating for the inclusion of people with disability in the world of work and Botswana as a country too is advocating for their inclusion in the workplaces.
According to statistics Botswana, multi-topic survey quarter 4, 2021 labour force module report, the total labour force for people with disability was estimated at 11,553 persons, an increase of 2,904 persons over a period of twelve months (from 8,649 persons recorded in Q4 2020). From this total, 4,313 persons were males while 7,240 were females. In addition, 2,195 persons were unemployed whereas 9,358 persons were employed. Furthermore, the data showed the majority of labour force with disability were in Urban Villages (6,185), 3,708 were in rural areas and 1,661 in Cities & Towns.
The essence of community and local flair reigns supreme as St Louis Lager takes a bold step with its ambitious “Hype the Homegrown” Initiative, designed to bolster the visibility and support for local artists and home-based brands, weaving them into the fabric of mainstream success through revolutionary partnerships.
The launchpad for this endeavor has been set with a plethora of creative projects. Among them, a musical odyssey titled “The Journey,” featuring the fusion of local House and Pop virtuoso Hanceford Magapatona, widely celebrated as Han C. Enriching the project further are talents like the visionary Producer Flex the Ninja and the RnB Phenom, Priscilla K, whose track “Away” has captured hearts. This six-track EP, ripe with local genius, is up for grabs across all streaming services, inviting listeners to a world of Botswana’s finest.
But “Hype the Homegrown” transcends the bounds of musical exploration, delving into the realms of fashion and lifestyle, stitching a dynamic collaboration with Collections by B.K. Proctor. This venture, rooted in 100% local ownership by the trailblazing Rapper and Entrepreneur Bokang βBKβ Proctor alongside Digital Maverick, Fifi Wale, showcases a vibrant melding of St Louis Lager and Collections by BK Proctor insignias across a series of street-savvy sneakers and tees. These exclusive pieces have hit the shelves at the Collections by BK Proctor boutiques within the bustling hubs of Gaborone Fairgrounds Mall, Grand Palm, and Toro Junction Mall in Francistown.
Unveiled by the marketing maestro of Kgalagadi Breweries Limited, Gaamanngwe Ramokgothwane, this initiative not only shines a spotlight on KBL’s enduring commitment to the arts but also underscores the wealth of creativity brewing within Botswana, deserving of grand stages and accolades. Ramokgothwane passionately advocates for a collective embrace of this homegrown brilliance, positioning “Hype the Homegrown” as not merely a campaign but a clarion call to action for institutions far and wide to champion and elevate local talent.
Echoing this sentiment, KBL’s steward Carlos Bernitt envisions a future where these artisans not only sparkle locally but also etch their mark on the global canvas, all through the unified backing of Batswana. With “Hype the Homegrown,” a legacy of innovation, creativity, and inspiration is in the making.
The Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Seipati Olweny, acknowledged this campaign as a turning point for the creative community. She stressed the indispensable role of local talent in crafting Botswana’s cultural tapestry and stimulating economic diversification, pledging unwavering support from the ministry towards this collective journey of uplifting local flair.