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Teachers unions urge members to defy Basic Education Ministry

Tabokani Rari

Leading teachers unions have encouraged members to refuse to take any more teaching loads beyond the maximum teaching loads after the Ministry of Basic Education (MoBE) ‘unilaterally’ varied the teachers’ conditions of service.

On January 24, 2022 Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) and Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) wrote to their members following their meeting with the leadership of the Ministry management recently. This meeting followed a savingram that was authored by Simon Coles on behalf of the Permanent Secretary, in (MoBE), dated December 15, 2021, titled “time tabling considerations and staffing levels for all schools”.

According to the secretary general of BTU Agang Gabana and BOSETU secretary general Tobokani Rari, the reasons for requesting for this meeting were as a result of their concerns as they felt that Cole’s savingram is unilaterally varying the teachers’ conditions of service in as far as the teachers’ workloads are concerned.

“The savingram authored by Mr Coles is, in our view, ultra vires the existing policy, which is the Establishment Register (ER) as it introduces teacher workloads parameters that are beyond what the current ER provides. While the current ER is in the process of being reviewed, the Ministry of Basic Education (MoBE) runs ahead of the process and unilaterally vary the ER which amounts to acting in bad faith,” Gabana and Rari wrote.

The two secretary generals said in response to their concerns from the union party, the MoBE indicated that the intent and purpose of their savingram was never to vary the teaching loads for teachers outside the provisions of the ER, but rather it was to clarify and accentuate the MoBE position on teaching loads within the context of the ER.

“At this meeting, parties agreed that the MoBE would investigate the alleged instances of any misinterpretation of the savingram written by Mr Coles on 15th December and would report back at a meeting to be held during the week begin 23rd January 2022.”

It was further agreed that unions would provide evidence of instances of the varying of the provisions of the ER in terms of teacher loads. In view of the foregoing, the teachers are urged to forward evidence in the form of teaching timetables, showing instances where members are required to carry contact loads that go beyond the requirements of the ER in as far as minimum and maximum loads are concerned.

BOSETU and BTU urged that the teachers to refuse to take any more teaching loads beyond the maximum teaching loads as provided for in the ER that is in operation. In his savingram Cole said the formation of smaller classes has caused a decrease in teaching contract times for lessons from 40 minutes to 30 minutes periods.

“The teaching loads are naturally impacted by these changes hence guidelines for staffing need to be interpreted with an understanding that these parameters have changed,” Cole said. Similarly, he said the 2012 ER is being updated as enrolments in most schools have either grown or shrunk.

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The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katholo has revealed why he took a decision to engage private lawyers against the State. The DCEC boss engaged Monthe and Marumo Attorneys in his application to interdict the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) from accessing files and dockets in the custody of the corruption busting agency.

In his affidavit, Katholo says that by virtue of my appointment as the Director General of the DCEC, he is obliged to defend the administration and operational activities of the DCEC. He added that, “I have however been advised about a provision in the State Proceedings Act which grants the authority of public institution to undertake legal proceedings to the Attorney General.” Katholo contends that the provision is not absolute and the High Court may in the exercise of its original jurisdiction permit such, like in this circumstance authorise such proceedings to be instituted by the DCEC or its Director General.

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Dada to break Kwelagobe’s BDP long standing record

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Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has gone through transformation over the years, with new faces coming and going, but some figures have become part and parcel of the furniture at Tsholetsa House. From founding in 1962, BDP has seen five leaders changing the baton during the party’s 60 years of existence. The party has successfully contested 12 general elections, albeit the outcome of the last polls were disputed in court.

While party splits were not synonymous with the BDP for the better part of its existence, the party suffered two splits in the last 12 years; the first in 2010 when a Barataphathi faction broke ranks to found the now defunct Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). The Barataphathi faction was in the main protesting the ill-treatment of then recently elected party secretary general, Gomolemo Motswaledi, who had been suspended ostensibly for challenging the authority of then president, Ian Khama.

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The Gulaam Husain Abdoola – Dubai sting detailed

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Mr Abdoola has known Mr. Uzair Razi for many years from the time he was a young boy. Uzair’s father, Mr Razi Ahmed, was the head of BCCI Bank in Botswana and “a very good man,” his close associates say.

Uzair and his wife went to settle in Dubai, the latter’s birthplace. He stayed in touch and was working for a real estate company owned by Mr. Sameer Lakhani. “Our understanding is that Uzair approached Mr. Abdoola to utilize their services for any property-related interests in Dubai. He did some work for Mr.Abdoola and others in the Botswana business community,” narrates a friend of Mr Abdoola.

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