Members of Parliament are going for jugular after it emerged that various Ministries who received billions of Pula at the beginning of the current financial have spent only 34 percent of the overall budget, while developments countrywide continues to stall.
Legislators made their feelings known after attending Budget Pitso held recently in Gaborone. It was revealed that up to now ministries are failing to use the budget allocated to them. The overall budget for 2018/19 was estimated at P64,28 billion. With only 34 percent used it means ministries have used P22,5 billion leaving a whopping P42 billion unused, just three months before the end of the financial year. In an interview with this paper, Nata-Gweta MP, Polson Majaga, revealed that a number of factors were revealed which lead to this anomaly.
“Tenders are not awarded leading to a number of projects not taking-off as expected; this is what we were told anyway. Further, companies given work are also sabotaging the government while others do not have capacity to carry out the job. This led to government projects stalling hence using this paltry budget,” he said. The MPs’ seminar followed the successful Budget Pitso held for both General Stakeholders and Local Authorities.
The objective of the seminar was to solicit ideas from political parties on the Budget Strategy Paper well in advance, before the presentation and debate of the 2019/20 Budget and Budget Speech. This gives the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning an idea of where arguments are likely to be centred during the debate and thus inform the structure and content when drafting the next year’s Budget Speech. A number of constituencies have been lamenting about lack of developments and what angers legislators is inability by government ministries to spend their budget.
The 2017/2018 budget pointed to a budget deficit, which is a third consecutive deficit in the last three years. At this year’s budget ministries revealed that out of all the money they were allocated 66 percent remains until the next year’s budget. “Is it possible for that to happen? They failed to use the budget for the past months, now with three months is it possible?” Majaga asked rhetorically. He stressed that it is not fair for ministries to withhold huge amounts of money while developments in the country continue to remain behind.
Members of Parliament complained of the poor transport infrastructures, education, health and other pressing needs. Not only are the ministries, Directorate on Public Service Management (DPSM) was earlier this year criticised for failing to use P1 billion allocated for employment creation despite swelling unemployment rate. Ministries however are steadfast on its insistency that the main reason behind this is due to lack of trustable contractors. They also stretched that some of the projects they had tendered have not yet been awarded.
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.