Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), Brigadier Joseph Mathambo has made startling revelations that all quasi-government institutions have been instructed to cut their budget by 4 percent owing to shortage of funds.
The statement has however been denied by Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Kenneth Matambo who said his ministry and Permanent Secretary are not aware of any budget cut. Matambo who was outside the country when reached by this publication Thursday said: “Neither I nor my permanent secretary was aware of any 4 percent budget cut since the beginning of the new financial year on 1st April 2019.”
The response from the Ministry of Finance has however been contrasted by the new DCEC boss. Mathambo, who assumed the reins as the new DCEC boss at the beginning of this month told the media this week that of recent, corruption has taken its toll in the country resulting in negative financial impact on government. Mathambo said a lot of money has gone missing without being accounted for, as a result the government asked all parastatals including the DCEC to their budgets by 4 percent.
“Just yesterday we were asked to cut our budget by 4 percent because there is no money. You can see how much of an impact [corruption] has in the country,” said Mathambo at his inaugural media press conference. “Corruption requires a certain posture and a certain character. If I sit here and continue here and do nothing, the country will continue to be at risk. I must tell you today that I am going to fight hard with my team to fight against corruption. We are not going to spare any name.”
A close source to this publication revealed that originally the government intended to deduct money from the Ministry of Basic Education but later reverted as some senior officials advised that the deduction will cripple the education sector. Ministry of Basic Education, headed by Okavango legislator, Bagalatia Arone was allocated the largest share amounting to P8.24 billion of the total ministerial recurrent budget.
Matambo said, when presenting the budget earlier, the budget allocated to the ministry of Basic Education will cater for the ongoing investment in human capital development with expenditure items covering payment of teachers’ salaries and allowances, maintenance of existing facilities, provision for textbooks, food supplies, stationery, and payment of utilities and replacement of furniture in schools.
Despite the reported shortage of funds, recently several sections of the public service have seen increment in salaries. Masisi has adjusted salary structures for Botswana Defence Force (BDF), Botswana Police as well as for the Botswana Prisons service among others. The public service have also seen an increment of 10 percent (A-B scale) and 6 percent (C and D scale) respectively for the next two financial years.
Masisi also moved approved a 4 percent salary hike and delinking Members of the National Assembly from the public service structure resulting in an increment of 11 percent. Reports also indicate that government is on the verge of adopting the recommendations of the Permandu report, which recommended among other increment of public servant salaries by 20 percent.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.