When Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) announced the historic visit of the IAAF president Sebastian Coe to Botswana this week, the custodians of local sport Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) and Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) were missing in action. Quizzed about the unusual absence of key stakeholders being BNOC and BNSC ahead of the historic visit, BAA spokesperson, Ipolokeng Ramatshaba said they had invited both organizations to the meeting but they were ‘too busy’ to attend.
Coe, the most influential figure in world athletics is expected in Botswana tomorrow (Saturday).BNOC has however come out to deny that they were invited. Tuelo Serufho, the BNOC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) told BG Sport in an interview that the matter was news to them. “When exactly was the event?” he asked. For his part, BNSC Sports Development Director-Technical Bobby Gaseitsiwe also poured cold water on BAA’s claims, saying they should provide proof that indeed they (BNSC) were invited to the event.
“I just recently came from South Africa; I do not recall ever receiving such an invite. They should also be specific as to who told them we are busy,” said Gaseitsiwe. Responding to the matter this week, Ramatshaba then admitted that it could have been an oversight on their side but emphasized that both BNSC and BNOC are crucial partners in the IAAF president’s visit. It was only proper that they attend the meeting.
“They are the ones financing the whole visit, we need them on board,” he said. Gaseitsiwe continued to say that they have been working hand in hand preparing for Coe’s arrival and they (BAA) have been briefing them all the time. However, he maintained his stand that his office was not aware of the particular meeting.
Meanwhile, some key BAA affiliates claimed that they had not received any communication from the local athletics mother body with regards to the high-profile IAAF visit. “We have just sent out invites to all affiliates including a few selected athletes,” Ramatshaba said on Wednesday afternoon.
Coe is expected to arrive at Sir Seretse Khama Airport tomorrow afternoon. He will then proceed to meet the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Thapelo Olopeng at Avani Hotel. In the evening, Coe will attend a training session at a Centre of Sports Excellence in Mogoditshane Senior School.
The day will end with a meet and greet session at Avani.On Sunday morning Coe will have a meeting with BAA officials then proceed to tour the BAA allocated plot in Block 8. Before heading back home, the World Athletics Chief will have a one-hour media briefing with members of the press at Lekidi BFA.
The thrill of the popular Gaborone derby between BTC Premiership log leaders, Township Rollers and the struggling Gaborone United has undoubtedly died a slow and painful death. Even the upcoming match between the two sides scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday) at the national stadium in Gaborone might turn out to be yet another dull and zero vibe game. In the past, GU had established itself as Rollers hoodoo team.
In the recent past the Gaborone derby was held in high esteem and buzz would be created across the city as with supporters salivated over the revered football encounter that rarely disappointed.Supporters would on the day fill the stadium to the brim. The popularity of the derby was mainly due to the strong support base and the historic significance of both teams in the premier league.
However, throughout the recent years, performance and poor results downed the excitement. Not to mention the financial struggles that interfered both in and outside the pitch. The latest financial doldrums nearly crumbled the GU side to the ground, as they found themselves knee deep in debt. It seems things might soon normalize as GU officially reunites with their long-term sponsor, Nicholas Zakhem.
Both Rollers mouthpiece Bafana Pheto and Moyagoleele Chairman, Boitumelo Nsunge agree that the derby excitement is no more. Pheto blames it all on the lack of competition, “The morale has dropped and performance is stagnant, the game became a bore for supporters and they abandoned attending the games,” Pheto said.
The Rollers spokesperson says now when play against GU, it is more like they are playing one of the small teams in the league. In fact, the Kgatleng based outfit Mochudi Centre Chiefs (MCC) brings out the desired fanfare even in their darkest days. “With Chiefs, even when they are not doing well in the league, the rivalry is always noticeable,” Pheto said.
Pheto also added that the vibe of the derby has proved hard to sustain because when Rollers performs well, GU is struggling and when GU picks up the pace, Rollers are also facing their own struggles.Nsunge wants nothing more that the derby to be revived. He is thirsty for that Gaborone derby that will bring the capital to a total standstill.
“Funds allowing, we could have a motorcade on Saturday morning. Set the mood by painting the town red,” he said.However, the biggest task is to get supporters on board. Nsunge expressed concern that the fan base has pulled away but they are busy doing damage control and launching branches across the country.
He expressed confidence that the team will soon be up and rolling. “We are very close to making it official with Zakhem, only a few loose ends to tie,” he said. The last time GU managed a win against Rollers in a premier league match was back in 2016. However, during the inaugural 2018 BTC Charity Cup held in Gaborone in August, GU managed to rewrite the history books, beating Rollers 5-4 during penalty shootout.
Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) is celebrating 40 years of existence and the festivities were launched in Gaborone this week.Speaking at the launch, BNOC Chief Executive Officer, Tuelo Serufho said that the organization was established back in 1978 and International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognized it in 1980.
Serufho noted that the BNOC facilitated Botswana’s maiden appearance at the Olympic games in 1980 in Moscow. The country has since competed in every single Summer Olympic games and to date, Botswana has competed in a total of 10 editions, the recent being the Rio 2016.Prior to the founding of BNOC, a group of passionate Batswana made it possible for the country to compete at the commonwealth games for the first time in 1974.
Botswana has only missed the 1978 edition of the Commonwealth games. Serufho took pride in Botswana's success stories in both the Olympics and commonwealth games. In 2000, Glody Dube became the first Motswana to make it into the finals of any competition at Olympic games, followed by the men’s 4x4 relay Team, making it into the final in 2004. In 2008 Botswana’s golden girl, Amantle Montsho also made it to the women’s 400m final.
Montsho then became the first Motswana to win a gold medal at the 2010 commonwealth games. “In 2011, Montsho continued to shine, bristly registering Botswana’s first Gold medal at the World Championships. Who can forget that in 2012 Nigel Amos had his own share when he won the first ever-Olympic medal for the country,” Serufho said.
He noted that they have had their own share of downfalls in the past 40 years; he said that they had wished to build their own headquarters at their piece of land in block six Gaborone but were financially constrained and the process is still pending.Another concern is that local athletes continue to fall prey to doping cases. BNOC wishes to have zero doping cases, given the small population of Botswana, saying just one doping case shatters the dreams of sport excellence in the country.
When sharing his experiences, former 800m runner Dube said that Olympics are bigger than any other games, “When one competes at the Olympics, you are already a top athlete because you go there on qualification,” he said. He said registering your name as an Olympian opens many doors because the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) will register the athlete in their books even if they had not won any medal.
Dube noted that the IAAF knows how hard it is to compete at the Olympics hence they cherish everyone. He advised that Botswana should strive to win more Olympic medals because that will assist in selling the country. “Pay attention to codes that are doing well and invest more on them because you are sure to reap significantly in future,” he said.
Beleaguered Mochudi Centre Chiefs are likely to lose three points after failing to honour a fixture against Miscelleneous Sporting club in Serowe last week. Magosi who have been on a free fall since last season are seemingly descending into further chaos.
Losing three points will come as a harsh and weakening blow to the former Kgatleng Giants. The team management are alleged to have failed to pay players their full salaries after their impressive showing against the reigning league champions, Township Rollers last week. The Botswana Football Association (BFA) Play Rules and Regulations are clear regarding the abandonment of games.
Clause 8.2 of the regulations that addresses the stoppage and abandonment of games states that, “Where a game is abandoned on account of misconduct of one of the participating teams, the guilty team shall lose the game with three points and two goals.” The play rules further state that the three points awarded to the other team will not be regarded as soft points.
Reached for comment on the matter, the Botswana Premier League (BPL) Chief Executive Officer, Thabo Ntshinogang said the matter was expected to go before the league’s Disciplinary Committee this past Thursday. This means Chiefs are likely to know their fate by today (Friday). Ntshinogang could not speak further on the matter as the case has been passed to the BPL DC. Magosi are currently occupying position 12 with seven points after eight games.
Losing three points means the popular Kgatleng outfit might go down two or three places. Meanwhile, Miscelleneous have decided to wait for judgement from the BPL DC regarding the matter. In a brief interview this week, Miscelleneous Chairman Seiphetlho Shako said the BPL secretariat will handle the matter and the outcome of the case will guide his team on how they pursue the matter further.
In other matters, Sefhako said his team has since secured a new technical sponsor in the form of Star Set, a satellite television company. Miscelleneous is expected to host BR Highlander at the Serowe sports complex while Magosi is scheduled to face Black Forest at the Molepolole Sports Complex.
It is at this point that the nation expects to hear and understand the president’s roadmap. In his inaugural speech in April this year, the President was full of promises, which have largely become just simple talk and less action. The president, upon assuming office had Batswana with high hopes that at least after 100 days, his ‘Out’ tray would carry people’s hopes and morale, tenets that have been dampened in the past 10 years of iron fist rule.
Observers maintain that so far the president has been more vocal on simply reversing Khama’s policies, firing people from the public service and cabinet and focusing on the internal fights of his party Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). While there was hope that there would be a clear roadmap from the president, nothing has come to the fore.
The Monday address is the opportunity for the president to prove that indeed he is fixing things by focusing on issues of national importance and restoring Batswana’s confidence in his administration, which some are now beginning to doubt.
He has to stick to his statement that he hates corruption and would not tolerate it. This is not a new statement as his predecessor sang the same song. Little, if not nothing, has been done to deal with corruption especially at government enclave. We still have high profile cases of corruption where people occupying high offices of leadership are not being prosecuted.
During oversight Parliament committees such as the Statutory Bodies and State Enterprise and Public Accounts Committee, it has been revealed that corruption is the order of the day. The president should take this seriously and act and not hang on the usual praise of international rating agencies who claim corruption is low in Botswana.
As promised by the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Nonofo Molefhi the Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Bill should be brought before Parliament during the SONA session. The minister must also make his commitment in strengthening and empowering the institutions that deal with these matters.
“As you all know, Botswana faces a myriad of challenges such as unemployment, poverty, crime, HIV and AIDS, alcohol and drug abuse, amongst others. Therefore, one of my top priorities as the President of this country will be to address the problem of unemployment especially amongst the young people who constitute the majority of our population.
The young people, who make 60 percent of the population of this country, are the future leaders and therefore investing in them is building the bridge to the future,” President Masisi said in April. This is yet to get underway.
Nothing much has been done and Batswana await the implementation of a combination of strategies required to stimulate economic growth which was to be implemented as a matter of urgency. We have new graduates who recently joined other unemployed youth. The issue of unemployment is a ticking bomb and needs the attention it deserves. Unemployment has in some quarters been associated with most of the social ills in the country.
These are the future leaders who demand answers now. There is still skills mismatch and this has made the industry to shun new graduates; therefore, the president has to firmly speak about the country’s vocational education.
Economic Diversification Drive (EDD)
This is one animal that is yet to be understood. Results are still to be realised and tangible proof be availed to the effect that indeed the programme is benefiting Batswana. The EDD has been introduced as an important strategy that is aimed at giving Batswana an opportunity to set up industries, to empower themselves and, in turn, create the much-needed employment. But where are we? Where are our success stories and what is being done to improve the programme?
The president explained early this year that in order to give concrete effect to the economic diversification aspirations, Government will prioritise the implementation of Cluster Development across various sectors, particularly the prioritised sectors of diamond beneficiation, tourism, beef, mining and financial services.
He said Government will also expedite the implementation of the Special Economic Zones which will contribute immensely to the socio-economic development of this country. It has however been observed that even SPEDU is struggling to get things running. It has emerged that companies in the SPEDU area are failing to sustain themselves.
The SPEDU revitalisation strategy has taken time to be implemented. It was reported recently that so far around 750 jobs have been created but the number continues to fluctuate because of challenges faced by companies that operate in the SPEDU region. There is lack of serviced land which makes it difficult to attract investors to set up businesses in the region.
Land and housing
Land allocation acceleration is also key and thousands of people are still waiting to be allocated land, especially for residential use. Others have already died before they could have a place they call home. This has depressed many citizens and it now seems to be igniting tribal fights as some tribes especially those in the periphery of the capital city feel cheated over their rights to own land.
The problem in the delay of allocation of land which all along has been an urban issue has now spread to rural areas. The Botswana Land Policy, which was adopted in 2015, has to be implemented. Government’s promise to give priority to the youth when allocating land for agriculture and business purposes still remains a dream for most of the young people who want to go into business.
His commitment in working with labour movements, and not against, has to come out clear. After promising to resuscitate the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC) the government moved swiftly to derecognise most of the public service sector unions. This left thousands of public servants without a place to deliberate on their salaries and conditions of service.
Government being the largest employer has the responsibility to protect the country’s economy. For the past 10 years, public servants have been disgruntled and with the recent developments, trade unions have started to think they were sold a dummy, as the current administration is just a continuation of the past one, after all.
As a guarantee for a free press, the laws that were promised, especially the Freedom of Information should reach parliament with the same urgency that the Declaration of Assets and Liabilities is likely to. The media industry has through various structures such as Editors Forum and Botswana Media and Allied Workers Union placed their pleas before the President.
The industry is also on the brink of collapse because of the unwritten policy of advertising ban, which has to be lifted. If the industry is allowed to collapse because of this policy, democracy would be jeopardised as checks and balances and accountability would have no one to act on.
Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) has accused Botswana People’s Party (BPP) of betraying them in their survival struggle within the coalition movement.BMD was last week expelled from Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), following its suspension in September this year. BMD, which has been enjoying the support of BPP within the UDC especially at leadership level has now found itself out in the cold fighting as a lone ranger.
The relationship between the two has been one of the stumbling blocks for other contracting partners- Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Botswana National Front (BNF) to bulldoze the BMD especially during National Executive Committee meetings.Things have now taken a nasty twist when a decision to suspend BMD was taken in September. The BMD, following the suspension, has maintained that BPP was on its side until BPP President publicly declared that they stand by the NEC decision.
This week BMD President Advocate Sidney Pilane could not describe what really happened to their good friends. He revealed that BPP is better placed to explain what really went wrong.“They are the ones who can tell you what really happened. As BMD, we have played a great role in the recognition of BPP and making it active in UDC activities. When we arrived at the UDC following our Lobatse congress, we enquired as to why BPP was not visible in UDC activities.
We approached them to find out what could be the problem. They laid out their issues with us but we convinced them that they have to be involved in UDC activities even NEC meetings while they pursue their grievances,” Advocate Pilane stated.BPP refrained from UDC activities, including attending NEC meetings on grounds that their queries were not attended to by the party leadership.
One of the issues that the BPP had raised was that they were only allocated four (4) constituencies. The BPP wanted an additional four. While the UDC leadership was reluctant to attend to the matter the BPP turned the tables and never attended the UDC activities. At one point the BPP leader questioned one of the meetings that was sanctioned by UDC President Advocate Duma Boko, saying the meeting was illegal.
The meeting resulted in two of the BPP central committee members being suspended from the party as they were said to have unlawfully attended the meeting and a rally purporting to be representing the BPP. The relationship between BPP and BMD got strengthened then and was cemented when the latter gave the former Francistown West constituency on a silver platter. This was after BMD negotiated for a swap with BCP, in exchange for Maun West.
The new developments, according to Pilane came as a surprise that their friends have joined others to betray them. He said they trusted the BPP as much as they trusted the BNF, whom they have built the UDC together to be the brand it is today. BPP Secretary General Venter Galetshabiwe said there is no betrayal that has been done by his party.
He said the decisions that were taken, from the suspension to the expulsion of the BMD was a collective, following robust deliberation on matters on the table. “You were there when UDC president made the announcements. It was a collective decision and cannot be used against the BPP by other contracting partners as if it was a BPP decision. We abide by that decision and BPP cannot add or subtract anything,” said Galetshabiwe.
Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) might fail to put forward its name at the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to contest for 2019 general elections.This is because of the internal fights in the coalition which will soon be fought in courts of law.
Reading between the lines from the statements uttered by the enraged Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), their colleagues in the UDC- Botswana Congress Party (BCP), Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana People’s Party (BPP) should brace themselves for a protracted legal battle. BMD, which has since been expelled from the UDC and given 30 days to appeal the decision to the UDC National Congress, has since revealed that it is taking the matter to court.
“We are going to court and that is where we will fight for our rights. We would lay out all the truth that Batswana need to hear. We cannot appeal to the National Congress which is a body that is controlled by people who have expelled us. Remember this is not happening for the first time because during the February 2018 congress at Boipuso Hall they attempted to expel us.
The situation was saved by UDC President Advocate Duma Boko so the expulsion is nothing new but something that they have been working on for a long time. We have faith in our courts. We want people who will be objective and honest when dealing with our matter,” BMD President, Advocate Pilane stated this week.
While it was highly expected that the BMD would launch the case as soon as this week, the party has revealed that ‘there is no rush’. According to sources, the BMD will delay the case until elections, next year. The case is expected to reach the Court of Appeal if any of the parties loses at the high court. The case if it follows normal procedure is highly likely to be heard sometimes next year at the high court since it would not have been launched through urgency application.
Responding to a question on when the case is anticipated to reach the court, Advocate Pilane stated that they are not in any hurry. He said all they are engaged in is to collect all the necessary information and evidence that they would be using in court. “We are preparing our papers for court. We are not in a hurry and when we are ready, we will let you know and will be heading to court. In the meantime, the real UDC is here and we are moving forward.
We will be working around the clock to ensure that we get candidates for Parliament and council seats across the country. We want to teach our friends at BCP and BNF that honesty and trustworthiness are key in liberating Batswana. It is now crunch-time and the question of rights arises and we will argue this in court. We will also in detail while in court, demonstrate how processes and procedures were not followed,” the BMD leader stated.
BCP and BNF are also on the other hand, addressing rallies around the country, updating members on what has transpired to trigger BMD expulsion. BMD still regards itself a UDC member in good standing. Recently, Advocate Boko stated that they are ready to handle the matter in court. This week he also took to social media to accuse their ‘colleagues’ of feeding people with lies, stating that “Some of the lies they tell would actually be comical if they weren’t so farcical!
We will put them to the sword, you just wait and see. They, that have lived by the sword will perish by it.”
Two years later, the Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture (MYSC) continues to be dogged by a litany of financial indiscretions arising from its conduct of the Bots50 Celebrations.The improprieties are captured in the Auditor General’s report. Among some of the alarrming findings is the awarding of a tender worth P2, 753 – 440 to a Chinese company, Jiansu Jianhu Pytote for the provision of fireworks at 15 different sites on Independence Day, 2016.
The AG’s report shows that the Secretaraiat (Bots 50) had advanced P2, 000, 000 to Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) on 26th April 2016 to facilitate the provision of fireworks for the big day. A compnay was awarded the tender at a cost of P 1, 907, 043 and according to the AG’s report, was paid 50 percent mobilisation fee of P953, 521.
Additional funds of P953, 521 were further advanced to the BNSC thus bringing the total funds towards provision of fireworks to P2, 953, 521. According to the AG’s altogether, the contractor was paid P1, 907, 043 leaving a balance of P1, 046, 478 of the money advanced which BNSC should account for to the Secretariat.
But there’s a catch here, since the Bots50 Secretariat has since disbanded, it begs the question who will the BNSC account to? The AG’s report further notes that the contract agreement for the provision of the fireworks was signed by Bots50 Coordinator, Charity Kgotlafela in March 2016 while the supplier signed in April 2016 (a month later).
But odd enough, the Ministerial Tender Committee awarded the tender on “direct appointment” in June 2016, which was after the signing of the contract and making the 50 percent advance payment of P953, 521.In defense of his Minisrty, Permanent Secretary Kago Ramokate told the Auditors that the direct appointment of the Chinese manufacturer was based on “competitive price and high quality product”.
But he owned up that the contract agreement signed prior to June 2016, which was the date of the award by the MTC, was “therefore improper and without force.”He said this is because performance contracts are entered into and signed following award of the tender. He explained that the total amount spent for fireworks was P2, 003, 533. 40 with P217, 118, 61 paid to Botswana Unified Revenue Services for withholding tax and P1, 786, 414.79 paid to Jiansu Jianhu Pyrote.
The difference of P949, 987, 6 was “allocated to other expenses”.However, it seems this matter is not yet dead and buried, as the PS is expected to be grilled by the Parliament’s Accounts Committee next week to account for these lapses.
Sources say it was highly irregular for the Coordinator to travel to China with the Deputy Permanent Secretary, Peter Mongwaketsi, who incidentally, also sits on the Bots50 Board, and unilaterally award the tender to the Chinese company outside the purview of the MTC, whilst procurement was ongoing in Botswana with two selected companies.
Furthermore, the award was irregular because it was not vetted by the Attorney General Chambers, which is normanl government procurement policy. Yet another tender that the PS will be asked to defend before the PAC is the award of a tender worth P12, 753, 440 to Red Pepper for production of the opening ceremony and another tender of P2, 580, 408 for the cooordination and directing of events on the Eve of Independence Day 2016 making a total of P15, 333, 848 that was paid to the company.
The Auditor General observed that this amount was however “negotiated down”to P14, 495, 000 and that an advance of P7, 247 500 or 50 percent was paid. The AG’s noted that since an amount of P15, 833, 644 had already been advanced to BNSC to cater for the services, this left balance of P1, 338, 644 to be accounted for to the Secretariat.
However, the AG observed that, “I have not been able to obtainn information as to how the funds were accounted for”. However, in his response to the Auditors, the PS stated that Thapelo Letsholo’s company, Red Pepper, was awarded a total P15, 333, 848 - 00 and that contrary to the AG’s obsevation, the tender was “not negotiated down”to P14, 495, 000 - 00, but rather it was noted that the deposit of P7, 247, 500 – 00 “assumed to be 50 percent was actual 47 percent of the contract sum” and the “shortfall” was fully paid to Red Pepper”.
When he appears before the PAC, Ramokate will have to flex his muscles and convince the Committee members who authorised the payment of P15, 8million whilst the contract stipulated P14, 495 million. He will be called upon to account for the P1, 3million shortfall.
Other complaints, although not captured in the AG’s report, are beginning to emerge imputing favouritism, which has led to mass resignations at the ministry.
It is said that a certan lady (names withheld but known to this paper) unduly benefits from many trips with the Ministry’s headhonchos at the expense of proper candidates. In fact, an insider whispered that the lady is already being eyed for promotion! Other disgruntled employees have been forced to leave because their authority is undermined.
For instance, one lady was investigated by an officer and the matter escalated to Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC) which recommended that she be suspended but the authorities that be, allegedly refused.
With only five (5) weeks left before Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) elective congress, the union might find itself embroiled in a controversial congress in Kasane.
The congress is expected to be held from the 10th to the 13th of December this year, with two warring factions eyeing the leadership of the union, now unleashing war on each other by the pass of every week. One faction is led by BOPEU President Masego Mogwera while the other is led by Zibani Philemon, who has been tipped to challenge Mogwera for the presidency.
In July this year, Philemon was controversially appointed acting president at a Cresta Lodge meeting in Gaborone. The two warring factions have torn BOPEU into two since July in a power struggle that has culminated into legal battles.
The legal battle has pitted BOPEU as 1st Applicant followed by Ogaufi Masame, Zibani Philemon, Mosalagae Tlhako and Motswaledi Monaiwa against union President, Masego Mogwera as 1st Respondent followed by Tlhabologo Galekhutle (Treasurer), Martin Gabobake (1st Deputy President), Topias Marenga (General Secretary) and Ketlhapelang Karabo (Deputy General Secretary).
It has emerged this week that as the fight between the two continues, Mogwera has pulled the plug on her nemesis and slapped them with letters of disciplinary hearing. The four members who were appointed interim as National Office Bearers (NOB) are said to have refused to appear before a three-member Commission on Disciplinary.
The other seven (7) have been given letters to show cause why disciplinary action cannot be taken against them. Eleven NEC members participated in the July meeting that suspended Mogwera and team. According to observers, this could cause more tension and members facing disciplinary hearing according to the Constitution would not be part of the December congress and would not contest any National Office Bearers (NOB) positions.
NOB is composed of the President, 1st Deputy President- Collective Bargaining, 2nd Deputy President- Gender and Human Rights, General Secretary, Deputy General Secretary and Treasurer General. According to Article 25.1.2 of the BOPEU Constitution to be eligible to hold office as NOB, a member shall have served at least one full term in Regional Executive Committee (REC) or any other national statutory structures of the union and also have been a member of the union in good standing for a period of not less than 4 years.
Article 20.1.3 states, “to be eligible to be elected to the REC, a member shall have served in any other union structure for a period of not less than 3 years and shall have been a member of the union in good standing for a period of not less than 4 years”. This, according to some sources, means key NEC members who were serving in various regional committees are facing disciplinary action and could not be able to contest for NOB as the disciplinary process would not have been completed by the December congress this year.
The suspended members are also part of the two cases that were launched against Mogwera at the high court, which she won. The remaining seven (7) members were written letters, dated 15th October 2018 referenced “Show cause why disciplinary action cannot be instituted and or taken against yourself.”
The letters signed by Mogwera states, “You are hereby requested to show cause why disciplinary action cannot be taken and or instituted against you in respect of allegations of serious misconduct levelled against you. It is alleged that on or about 28th of July 2018, at Cresta Lodge acting in concert with other members of the National Executive Committee, you purported to have continued with an adjourned meeting of the NEC without any lawful authority.”
It is further alleged that the members signed, without authority, a power of attorney instructing an attorney to institute legal proceeding in the name of BOPEU against President Masego Mogwera Tlhabologo Galekhutle (Treasurer), Martin Gabobake (1st Deputy President), Topias Marenga (General Secretary) and Ketlhapelang Karabo (Deputy General Secretary) of BOPEU.
“It is alleged that you knowingly signed the power of attorney despite being aware that you possess no authority and or power to do that. It is further alleged that you participated in an illegal meeting which purportedly suspended the president, 1st Deputy President, General Secretary, Treasurer General, and Deputy General Secretary of BOPEU. On this basis, it is alleged that you are working against the interests of the union.
The purported resolutions of the illegal meeting are annexed hereunder for ease of reference.” Mogwera further asks the affected NEC members to show cause within seven days of service of the letters. When contacted, Philemon who is leading the pack of the suspended members and has been linked to challenging Mogwera said any member who qualifies is eligible to contest.
He would not want to be drawn into discussing the union matters with the press. He has however indicated that he heard about letters of disciplinary hearing but he has not been served. According to Philemon, it is not his job to continue fighting the leadership of the union but it is up to members of the union to stand up for their rights and protect the union they have worked so hard to build.
“It is now time for the membership to rise to the occasion. If they believe something is not right they have to seek answers. This is not about Philemon, it is about the union and its legacy,” he said.For her part, Mogwera rubbished claims that she is trying to purge people who want to challenge her. She explained that the union has a membership of 35 000 and the congress would be attended by 500 delegates.
Mogwera revealed that just because people have been suspended, they should not think there are no capable BOPEU members who can contest in the December congress, adding that this would be taking BOPEU members for granted. She has however confirmed that the seven NEC members have received their letters.
“As for the four who once instituted a case against me they are playing hide and seek to come for disciplinary hearing. We will however give them time and allow the work of the commission to go on uninterrupted. The 11 members were found to have acted grossly by a commission of inquiry in the July meeting.
The commission was made up of two lawyers and an honorary member of BOPEU,” said Mogwera. She said BOPEU members know exactly what is going on as they have been briefed during the various regional congresses that have been held. She is optimistic of a calm and successful congress.
Francistown Industrial court last week passed an order attaching the machinery of Bash Carriers, a road construction company which was funded under the ESP to the tune of over 400 million pula.The company was to construct a bituminous road project between Tshesebe village and Masunga through Mosojane which was terminated by the responsible ministry for incompetency.
The order followed another similar one, which was passed by the same court on the 18 of October 2018 the previous week, giving the contractor 7 working days to have paid the aggrieved workers over 1 million pula, which they are currently owed.
Last week Thursday, Kagiso Kaizer Melemo and 199 other former employees at Bash Carriers approached the Industrial Court making an urgent application for the machinery of their former employer to be attached by deputy sheriffs since the contractor was nowhere to be found, having left hundreds of workers stranded without their August, September and October 2018 salaries and unpaid severance benefits.
As if that was not enough, the aggrieved workers revealed that they made the urgent application after discovering that although their employer had disappeared into thin air, his equipment in the construction sites was being secretly moved elsewhere without their knowledge.
When their demands were granted, the jubilant workers informed this publication that they will be assured of their payments in the event the said equipment amounting to more than 5million pula is auctioned. Efforts to call the Director of Bash proved futile for the past week as all his mobile numbers given to this publication did not go through, a habit which the aggrieved workers had raised before the industrial court.
The Tshesebe- Masunga ESP -funded project which was signed on the 6th of April 2017 crumbled way before it could be completed.Bash Carriers Pty Ltd is a 100 percent citizen owned contractor and the company pocketed a sum of BWP 430,047,693.11 but could not even complete 50 percent of the constructions of the road, which has a number of bridges.
On the third of October 2018, workers were given employment termination letters. Before they could vacate the site, they inquired about their severance benefits only for them to be referred to the office accountant in Gaborone who then issued them with a table detailing their payments schedule, only for the company to secretly move equipment elsewhere.
When the North East council full house resumed at the beginning of this year, councillors complained of the snail’s pace of the contractor whom they accused of failing to adhere to his contractual obligations which required that by February 2018, the project should be at least 50 percent in progress.
When contacted for a comment, North East District Chairperson Florah Mpetsane confirmed that the contractor for the project left the site and laid off dozens of employees. She also revealed that as per a directive from the responsible ministry, the tendering for a new construction company will soon take place but warned that the bidding process takes a long time.
The project will see the upgrading of the existing gravel road of Tshesebe – Masunga Road (approximately 23km) from gravel road to bituminous standards with associated geometric improvements. It starts at Tshesebe junction on Francistown – Ramokgwebana A1 section, traverses through Mosojane, and ends at the junction with the Sebina – Zwenshambe tarred road in Masunga village.
The road has the following access roads: Mosojane access road (0.1km), Mosojane Masukwane road (5.7km), Pole access road (1km), Masunga Letsholathebe access road (6.7km), Mosojane -Mulambakwena access road (8km), Masunga access road (0.2km) and Masukwane Kgari access road (7km).
The project was awarded for construction to Bash Carriers Pty Ltd at a sum of BWP 430,047,693.11 while the supervision was awarded to Rites Africa in association with Pula Consultants Ltd at a sum of BWP 18,751,082.00 including VAT.