Scores high ranking public service officials including the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) commander, Lt Gen Placid Segokgo and the Botswana Police Commissioner, Keabetswe Makgophe — will be forced to leave the public service at the mandatory retirement age of 55 and 60 years.
President Mokgweetsi Masisi is said to have reminded the Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Carter Morupisi not to extent contracts of senior public officials who are in the afternoons of their lives. Masisi’s decision to follow the Public Service Act to the letter will affect mostly the defense and security fraternity as a number of high ranking officials are expected to leave their offices. The decision comes at a time when the new administration wants to phase out a number of officials who are linked to the past leadership.
Already a number of names that captained a number of institutions and ministries are likely to be swept out as Masisi also wants his new loyal brigade that will ensure his modus operandi is implemented. While it is clearly enshrined in the Public Service Act that retirement age is at the age of 60 years, the government has on many instances offered contracts to some senior official who had reached the age — this will now be history under Masisi’s administration.
Masisi, according to informant has made it known to Morupisi that whatever the qualification or skills one possesses the Public Service Act should be followed to the letter. This is intended to give other upcoming officers chance to rise through the leadership ladder. “It is clear in the Public Service Act that when you reach 60 you retire, so it is not like Masisi is imposing that. It has always been there,” Morupisi said briefly when asked about this.
It is said even to those with needed skills will not be renewed unlike in the past system. “However they could only be roped in as consultants to assist the government,” explains a highly placed source within the government. Transfers of senior officials will also be minimal as the inter-ministerial movements and parastatal will mostly be dominated by more junior officers. “President argues as to what new intellect or thinking they will bring if they are moved across institutions,” added a source.
Already a source highlights that Masisi was instrumental in ejecting former Ministry of Defense Justice and Security Permanent Secretary Segakweng Tsiane who reached the mandatory retirement age last year September. “There was extension which Masisi long said should be scrapped but after considering a number of factors it was decided that she leaves at the end of the financial year (March 31st). Permanent Secretary to the President Morupisi issued a press release stating that Matshidiso Bokole was appointed on promotion as Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security with effect from 01st April 2019.
Reports however continue to maintain that the dreaded axe is also coming to others including the current Botswana Defense Force (BDF) Commander Lt Gen Placid Segokgo. Segokgo was aged 53 when he assumed BDF high office in 2016 and he is currently 56, a year above the disciplined forces’ mandatory retirement age of 55. His contract is yet to be fully extended by the head of state and an informant says it will not be. Lt Gen Segokgo is likely to be one of BDF commanders to have served the shortest of periods as commander of the army.
Retired Lt Gen Gaolatlhe Galebotswe served as BDF commander for the four years. Retired Lt Gen Tebogo Masire is the only BDF commander to have his contract extended by the President. Masire took over from Lieutenant General Matshwenyego Fisher in 2006 and his contract was extended for two years when he reached the retirement age of 55. The soft spoken Botswana Police Commissioner (BPS) Keabetswe Makgophe is another name facing the chop. He is currently 57 years, two more years after reaching the retirement age of 55. Already the government is running helter skelter to find Makgophe’s replacement but sources highlight one name, Tapudzani Gabolekwe who is the Assistant Commissioner.
Makgophe replaced the then Police Commissioner, Thebeyame Tsimako, whose contract was extended. Makgophe’s appointment came after the former deputy commissioner, Kenny Kapinga, was redeployed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as an ambassador. By far government through PSP has made two transfer and redeployments of Brigadier Joseph Mathambo who has been appointed as Director General, Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) from the 02nd April 2019. On the other hand Victor Paledi is transferred to the Ministry of Defence Justice and Security as the Secretary Defence Justice and Security from 02nd April 2019.More deployments and transfers are expected after Kang congress, reports say.
Over 2,000 civil servants in the public sector have been interdicted for a variety of reasons, the majority of which are criminal in nature.
According to reports, some officers have been under interdiction for more than two years because such matters are still being investigated. Information reachingÂ WeekendPostÂ shows that local government, particularly councils, has the highest number of suspended officers.
In its annual report, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) revealed that councils lead in corrupt activities throughout the country, and dozens of council employees are being investigated for alleged corrupt activities. It is also reported that disciplined forces, including the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), police, and prisons, and the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) have suspended a significant number of officers.
The Ministry of Education and Skills Development has also recorded a good number of teachers who have implicated in love relationships with students, while some are accused of impregnating students both in primary and secondary school. Regional education officers have been tasked to investigate such matters and are believed to be far from completion as some students are dragging their feet in assisting the investigations to be completed.
This year, Mmadinare Senior Secondary reportedly had the highest number of pregnancies, especially among form five students who were later forcibly expelled from school. Responding to this publicationâ€™s queries, Permanent Secretary to the Office of the President Emma Peloetletse said, â€śas you might be aware, I am currently addressing public servants across the length and breadth of our beautiful republic. Due to your detailed enquiry, I am not able to respond within your schedule,â€ť she said.
She said some of the issues raised need verification of facts, some are still under investigation while some are still before the courts of law.
Meanwhile, it is close to six months since the Police Commissioner Keabetwe Makgophe, Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katlholo and the Deputy Director of the DIS Tefo Kgothane were suspended from their official duties on various charges.
Efforts to solicit comment from trade unions were futile at the time of going to press.
Some suspended officers who opted for anonymity claimed that they have close to two years while on suspension. One stated that the investigations that led him to be suspended have not been completed.
â€śIt is heartbreaking that at this time the investigations have not been completed,â€ť he toldÂ WeekendPost, adding that â€śwhen a person is suspended, they get their salary fully without fail until the matter is resolvedâ€ť.
Makgophe, Katlholo and Kgothane are the three most high-ranking government officials that are under interdiction.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.
The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.
Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa
A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.
COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”
According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.
“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”
Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”
Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.
Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.
“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.
For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.
“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.