President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s recommendation of former Attorney General Phandu Skelemani as the Speaker of the National Assembly was an effort to neutralise the North-South narrative and ensure that at least one of three arms of government is led by someone from a minority, WeekendPost has learnt.
This publication is reliably informed that when the parliament curtain closed in August, the party had agreed that the former Deputy Speaker Kagiso Molatlhegi will fill the post that was to be vacated by Speaker Gladys Kokorwe. The script, it is said, had long been drafted that Molatlhegi will not contest the BDP primaries last year, and instead will take over the Speakership role.
However, after election, dynamics turned out different. Masisi had changed the tone and suggested the name of Skelemani before the party caucus for endorsement. Another name that was suggested was that of Mochudi East MP Mabuse Pule, for the Deputy Speaker role. This was contrary to what the party had agreed and hoped for. In the initial plan, Buti Billy, the Francistown East legislator was to understudy Molathegi. Billy has since been appointed Assistant Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development.
“It is clear Masisi was trying to balance the tribal landscape. He did not want to appear like he is swinging the pendulum of leadership one side, so the idea was to recognize the deep northerners hence he came up with Skelemani’s name,” an informant close to the actions told WeekendPost. Skelemani was born in Mapoka (North East) and worked in the civil service for 30 years starting out as State Counsel. He went on to become a Senior State Counsel and progressing through the ranks to become a Deputy Attorney General. Skelemani was appointed Attorney General in 1992, where he advised the cabinet and attended cabinet meetings.
“His institutional memory of the government machinery and the process were key factors in him getting the position, but most importantly where he comes from,” added a source. Just like Masisi, head of Executive is from Moshupa, with Terrence Rranowane who is leading the judiciary and is from Thamaga. The two villages are 14 kilometres apart and already nepotism and favouritism accusations have been flying around. Now the head of legislature had to be someone from the northern, so as to extinguish the claims that all the key arms of government are led by the southerners, informant says.
Another gesture was to retain Tsogwane, a northerner as the country’s Vice President. Molatlhegi is from Mahalapye in the central region and it is believed advisors close to Masisi suggested that he go for Skelemani so that other northerners also feel included. When asked about intentions to come back to parliament Molatlhegi said; “I took a decision to focus on me and my family, but if the legislators do need my services I will definitely come, my fate lies in them to be honest,” he said in August.
Molatlhegi rose to the Deputy Speakership role after 2014 elections, assisting Kokorwe. Kokorwe revealed that he will not be vying for another term post 2019-election, a factor which made her Deputy (Molatlhegi) a front-runner for the role. The Botswana Parliament is created by Section 57 of the Constitution and it is composed of the President and the National Assembly.
The role of parliament is to make laws as stipulated in Section 86 of the Constitution, which states that: ‘Parliament shall have the power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of Botswana.’ In this way it means Parliament exercises legislative powers as one of its core mandates. In addition, Parliament performs functions such as representation, scrutiny and oversight.
Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng together with Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Elias Magosi, this week refused to name and shame the worst performing Ministries and to disclose the best performing Ministries since beginning of 12th parliament including the main reasons for underperformance.
Of late there have been a litany of complaints from both ends of the aisle with cabinet members accused of providing parliament with unsatisfactory responses to the questions posed. In fact for some Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers a meeting with the ministers and party leadership is overdue to address their complaints. Jwaneng-Mabutsane MP, Mephato Reatile is also not happy with ministers’ performance.
Bokamoso Private Hospital is battling a P10 million legal suit for a botched fibroids operation which resulted in a woman losing an entire womb and her prospects of bearing children left at zero.
The same suit has also befallen the Attorney General of Botswana who is representing the Ministry of Health and Wellness for their contributory negligence of having the unlawful removal of a patient, Goitsemang Magetse’s womb.
According to the court papers, Magetse says that sometimes in November 2019, she was diagnosed with fibroids at Marina Hospital where upon she was referred to Bokamoso Private Hospital to schedule an appointment for an operation to remove the fibroids, which she did.
Magetse continues that at the instance of one Dr Li Wang, the surgeon who performed the operation, and unknown to her, an operation to remove her whole womb was conducted instead. According to Magetse, it was only through a Marina Hospital regular check-up that she got to learn that her whole womb has been removed.
“At the while she was under the belief that only her fibroids have been removed. By doing so, the hospital has subjected itself to some serious delictual liability in that it performed a serious and life changing operation on patient who was under the belief that she was doing a completely different operation altogether. It thus came as a shock when our client learnt that her womb had been removed, without her consent,” said Magetse’s legal representatives, Kanjabanga and Associates in their summons.
The letter further says, “this is an infringement of our client‘s rights and this infringement has dire consequences on her to the extent that she can never bear children again”. ‘It is our instruction therefore, to claim as we hereby do, damages in the sum of BWP 10,000,000 (ten million Pula) for unlawful removal of client’s womb,” reads Kanjabanga Attorneys’ papers. The defendants are yet to respond to the plaintiff’s papers.
What are fibroids?
Fibroids are tumors made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They develop in the uterus. It is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of women will develop fibroids in their lifetime — however, not everyone will develop symptoms or require treatment.
The most important characteristic of fibroids is that they’re almost always benign, or noncancerous. That said, some fibroids begin as cancer — but benign fibroids can’t become cancer. Cancerous fibroids are very rare. Because of this fact, it’s reasonable for women without symptoms to opt for observation rather than treatment.
Studies show that fibroids grow at different rates, even when a woman has more than one. They can range from the size of a pea to (occasionally) the size of a watermelon. Even if fibroids grow that large, we offer timely and effective treatment to provide relief.
The Alliance for Progressives (AP) President Ndaba Gaolathe has said that despite major accolades that Botswana continues to receive internationally with regard to the state of economy, the prospects for the future are imperilled.
Delivering his party Annual Policy Statement on Thursday, Gaolathe indicated that Botswana is in a state of do or die, and that the country’s economy is on a sick bed. With a major concern for poverty, Gaolathe pointed out that almost half of Botswana’s people are ravaged by or are about to sink into poverty. “Our young people have lost the fire to dream about what they could become,” he said.