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Gov’t urged to address CAAB financial chaos

BOPEU:President Olefile Monakwe

Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) has sent a clarion call to government and implored her to — as a matter of urgency — rescue the financially beleaguered Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB).

When addressing members of the media in Gaborone this week, BOPEU President, Olefile Monakwe, said government should extend the same help to CAAB as it did with other ailing parastatals such as Botswan a Meat Commission (BMC) and Air Botswana (AB). Monakwe rubbished claims that government is broke, saying that if it is the case, it has to be evidenced across all its entities and not only limited to CAAB.

CAAB is said to be facing financial crisis and the authority indicated that it is working around the clock to secure funding. CAAB Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Kabo Phutietsile, announced early this year in May through a memorandum that the organisation will be with-holding employees’ allowances.

In the letter, Phutietsile said: “Employees are informed that some allowances due to staff shall not be paid during the May 2020 payroll as they are still in the approval process.” This decision attracted aggressive attention from labour unions, with Botswana Federation of Public, Private Parastatals Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU), condemning the decision saying it cannot be tolerated.
BOFEPUSU’s Deputy Secretary-General, Ketlhalefile Motshegwa said it was a bad labour practice for CAAB to withhold payment benefits of employees.

Motshegwa said CAAB’s decision cannot be tolerated. He said as BOFEPUSU pointed out before, there must be measures in place to assist the workers by way of protecting their jobs and salaries. “It is the duty of the employers to continue paying employees. The federation is tremendously disquieted by unbaiting violation of workers’ rights in the private sector during (the coronavirus) COVID-19 pandemic,” Motshegwa said.

BOPEU President said they have engaged the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Communications, Alicia Mokone, who admitted that she was alive to the challenges facing the authority and efforts to rescue it are ongoing.

“The Union therefore, remains steadfast and unshaken that employees’ jobs at CAAB are protected and employees’ salaries paid accordingly without failure,” he said when updating the media about the unfolding events regarding the employer employee relations, especially on issues central to the their mandate, challenges and interventions they have tirelessly made in the quest for the protection of members’ rights and welfare.’’

BOPEU is a bargaining agent for CAAB duly recognized in terms of the Trade Union and Employers Organization Act and has a binding Collective Labour Agreement that governs the parties’ relationship in dealing with employment conditions of members at CAAB.

BOPEU CLASH WITH STATS BOTSWANA

Meanwhile, BOPEU lamented what it refers to as unflattering attitude meted on themselves by the Statistics Botswana management akin to what in the labour movement is aptly classified as ‘bargaining in bad faith.’

The Union says on or about the 14th August 2020, management submitted a position paper on salary negotiations for the financial year 2020/2021 proposing 10% salary adjustment across the board. On the 21st August 2020, BOPEU submitted its counter proposal, proposing a 10% salary adjustment for Band 5 to 8 and 12% for Band 9.

According to BOPEU President, the parties set the 26th August 2020 to commence its salary negotiations, which were going to deal mainly with Band 9 since for the other Bands parties were in agreement. To BOPEU’s dismay and shock, just before the commencement of negotiation, management of Statistics Botswana submitted what they referred to as a revised position paper on the 25th August 2020 and proclaimed to have made a mistake in their initial proposal.

As if that was not enough, management went ahead and adjusted the salaries of non-unionized staff by 6% for Band 5 to 8 and 10% for Band 9 as per the revised proposal before the parties could commerce out talks. Being overwhelmed by this decisions, the Union says it wrote a letter to Statistics Botswana on the 27th August 2020, expressing their displeasure regarding the Employer’s conduct and attitude.

The Union therefore, made a conscious decision to seek external redress and referred the matter to the Commissioner of Labour on the 3rd September 2020, seeking intervention on failure to negotiate in good faith and unilateral change of position paper for salary negotiations for the year 2020/2021 as well as non-compliance to the provision of the CLA. The mediation hearing is scheduled for the 19th November 2020.

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Free at last: Ian Kirby Speaks Out

6th December 2021
Justice Ian Kirby

The outgoing President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ian Kirby, shares his thoughts with us as he leaves the Bench at the end of this year.

WeekendPost: Why did you move between the Attorney General and the Bench?

Ian Kirby: I was a member of the Attorney General’s Chambers three times- first in 1969 as Assistant State Counsel, then in 1990 as Deputy Attorney General (Civil), and finally in 2004 as Attorney General. I was invited in 2000 by the late Chief Justice Julian Nganunu to join the Bench. I was persuaded by former President Festus Mogae to be his Attorney General in 2004 as, he said, it was my duty to do so to serve the nation. I returned to the Judiciary as soon as I could – in May 2006, when there was a vacancy on the High Court Bench.

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Civil society could rescue Botswana’s flawed democracy’ 

6th December 2021
Parliament

Botswana’s civil society is one of the non-state actors that could save the country’s democracy from sliding into regression, a Germany based think tank has revealed.  This is according to a discussion paper by researchers at the German Development Institute who analysed the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes In Botswana.

In the paper titled “E-government and democracy in Botswana: Observational and experimental evidence on the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes,” the researchers offer a strongly worded commentary on Botswana’s ‘flawed democracy.’  The authors noted that with Botswana’s Parliament structurally – and in practice – feeble, the potential for checks and balances on executive power rests with the judiciary.

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Bangwato at loggerheads over Moshupa trip

6th December 2021

Bangwato in Serowe — where Bamagwato Paramount Chief and former President Lt. Gen Ian Khama originates – disagree on whether they must send a delegation to dialogue with President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s family in Moshupa. Just last week, a meeting was called by the Regent of Bamagwato, Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane, at Serowe Kgotla to, among others, update the tribe on the whereabouts of their Kgosi (Khama). 

Further, his state of health was also discussed, with Kgamane telling the attendees that all is well with Khama. The main reason for the meeting was to deliberate on the escalating tension between Khama and Masisi — a three-year bloodletting going unabated.

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