Public Enterprises, Evaluation and Privatisation Agency (PEEPA) board has resolved this week to suspend Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Obakeng Moumakwa from his post reportedly owing to the allegations that have marred the organisation recently.
PEEPA is responsible for advising Government on privatisation strategies as well as implementation of privatisation, which includes commercialisation, restructuring, outsourcing and divesture interventions for the effectiveness and efficiency of public enterprises and ministries as well as promoting good corporate governance in quasi-government institutions.
Moumakwa’s suspension came effective on Thursday, with the agency’s Acting Corporate Communications Manager, Mosikare Mogegeh saying ‘the decision is taken to enable the Board to undertake an internal investigations into the allegations levelled against the agency.” In the absence of Moumakwa, Director of Strategy and Programmes Ishmael Joseph has taken over the reins on acting basis.
The decision to suspend Moumakwa comes just a fortnight after PEEPA announced that the agency have set in motion a process that will see the privatisation of BMC. The decision was announced jointly by Moumakwa and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Jimmy Opelo. PEEPA recently awarded two tenders to locally based companies; leading auditing firm Deloitte Botswana as well as leading corporate law firm Minchin & Kelly.
Deloitte was awarded the P4.2 million tender relating to assessing the value of BMC Maun abattoir, which has since been de-linked from the BMC, and would be privatised separately. Meanwhile Minchin & Kelly was awarded the tender relating to the main BMC, and has been mandated among others to explore feasible privatisation models, and make a recommendation to government.
Deloitte is expected to have concluded its work in the next 10 weeks, while Minchin & Kelly has been given up to September to complete its work, owing to the magnitude of its mandate compared to the former. While the process to award the two tenders may have been questioned, Moumakwa explained then that the process which led to the award of the two tenders was a fair and transparent. Moumakwa said the with regard to the main BMC tender, PEEPA had issued an Expression of Interest (EOI), of which five companies responded.
The five companies which responded, according to Moumakwa, were invited to submit Request for Proposal (RFP), of which four companies responded. The PEEPA then resolved to offer the tender to Minchin & Kelly based on its submissions. Relating to the Maun abattoir, PEEPA approached Botswana Accountancy Oversight Authority (BAOA) and requested names of companies registered with them, and then offered them the opportunity respond to RFP, of which 9 companies out of 10 registered with BAOA responded. The agency reached a conclusion on Deloitte.
Moumakawa’s arrival at the organisation has been clouded by controversy since day one following a disapproval from Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies and Public Enterprises. In September 2018, Office of the President Permanent Secretary Thato Ramodimoosi came under fire from the committee led by Tati East legislator Samson Guma for appointing Moumakwa without the input of the board.
Moumakwa, the onetime Kgalagadi North Member of Parliament was appointed to office during the reign of President Khama, with Eric Molale, then Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration being instrumental in his recruitment. However, sources indicate that Moumakwa may be paying the price for his political affiliation. Though Moumakwa has been not been in active politics since leaving at the end of 2007, many still associate him with the Botswana National Front (BNF), the party he represented in parliament.
PEEPA was moved from Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in 2016 amid strong resistance from opposition legislators. According to his aide, Moumakwa is fighting tooth and nail to challenge the suspension. He has engaged attorneys, to solicit for legal advice on the matter.
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.
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.
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.