Sunday, May 22, 2022

USAID regional office relocates back to Gaborone?

The American Embassy in Gaborone has not confirmed or denied allegations that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) regional office is relocating to Botswana again.
The US Public Affairs division at the US Embassy did not respond to Sunday Standard enquiries as the Public Affairs staff were said to be out of office for a graduation party ceremony.

The USAID regional office relocated from Gaborone to Pretoria last year apparently under security concerns coupled with the lack of direct continental and international flights from Botswana.
The security concern stems from the fact that the office was adjacent to a Mosque in Gaborone West.
To this end, other than South Africa, which is the main connection destination between Botswana and the rest of the world, the country has in operation direct flights to Kenya and Zambia.

The Gaborone USAID office attracted a labour dispute regarding the separation pay of some 25 employees of its Botswana citizen staff who were retrenched when the UN body relocated to Pretoria.
The employees contend that the UN body paid them packages that were not in line with their separation pay in accordance with the USAID hand book that was commensurate with their contracts of employment. They argued that a new hand book was employed to determine their retrenchment packages, adding that they were the least paid in the region.

The US Embassy refused to appear before the country’s Industrial Court, ostensibly under the guise of diplomatic immunity and preferring to communicate to the Industrial Court through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation that it was not properly served with papers to appear before the court.

The office of the Attorney General did not wish to interpret what restrictive diplomatic immunity means as it relates to diplomatic foreign missions and referred enquiries to the Foreign Affairs ministry, which had not responded to written questions by the time of going to press.

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