Following President Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi’s decisions to transfer some of his ministers to new portfolios in a cabinet reshuffle this week, the, Tshekedi Khama has stated that he was happier at the Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism than where the president wants him.
Masisi transferred Khama to Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development in a move seen as a demotion on the younger brother to the former president Lt. Gen Ian Khama. The animosity between Masisi and Khama has played itself out in the open with both of them admitting to it in their separate pronouncements starting with Masisi confirming in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) which Khama also did in his loaded response to the insinuations.
The removal of Tshekedi Khama from the Ministry of Tourism which is seen as one of the most powerful ministries in the country as it contributes to the country’s revenue as the second biggest income earner after the diamonds. When speaking to Weekend Post after the reshuffle on Friday, the younger Khama maintained that: “I believe my passion was at the tourism ministry and it was unmatched. Surely we were growing something there. Our reputation under tourism as a country has never been where it is. So the reshuffle surely affected me.”
According to Tshekedi, he still believes, “if I was allowed to stay a bit longer at the ministry, until the next 2019 General Elections I would be happy. We were going to finish our roadmap which we have started six years back.” He said while he respects the decision by President Masisi, it was unexpected as he thought he was doing a good job at the ministry. He acknowledged that the President can move ministers as and when he wants.
“I thought what we have done in the tourism ministry in the last six years or so has never been achieved by anyone before in the country,” he said. According to Tshekedi, under his tutelage they have accomplished 38 awards as “I gave it my all” and “I loved the ministry and people were also happy.”
TSHEKEDI REMOVED BECAUSE OF KHAMAS VESTED INTERESTS IN TOURISM?
When asked by this publication whether he is unhappy with the transfer because of his vested interests in the tourism sector he easily rubbed it off. “I have no shares in any tourism entity. There are some cabinet ministers who have interests there. Nna I don’t. That they have is their choices. As long as you declare when you are conflicted,” the Serowe West legislator fumed. Tshekedi declined to comment when quizzed if he does not see this as demotion from a powerful ministry to a lesser authoritative one and whether that signals his relationship with Masisi may be on a downward spiral.
He only said: “I don’t know Masisi’s reasons for this cabinet transfers. But it doesn’t matter. For me, that’s not demotion as some people want to suggest.” When pressed further on Masisi he emphasised: “I won’t comment on the issue of Masisi targeting me in the reshuffle. Tota nna and Masisi, we never had any dispute or argument on anything. So, I think people who are peddling these are doing so purely based on politics.”The main challenge for Tshekedi as pointed out is that of time factor as they only have nine months to the next elections and that is not a lot of time.
He added that he also takes over the ministry with the budget that is not his. On his new assignment at the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, Tshekedi observed that he takes the challenge. “I take the challenge to the new ministry. Botswana is relatively a youth country as the population of youth under 25 years is approximately 60 percent and that’s where power is. It’s a challenge that the population which makes the majority remain unemployed. Youth want to be independent and they don’t want to live with handouts,” he lashed out. He also asserted that his position on youth has always been that youth should be involved in development as they are the future of a country.
OLOPENG TO PULL THE BULL BY THE HORNS AT THE NEW MINISTRY OF TERTIARY
On his part, the outgoing Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development Thapelo Olopeng told Weekend Post separately that as the new Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology he will be merely a leader and not a lecturer at those institutions he will be heading as naysayers want to purport.
He dismissed his critics saying they should take a seat: “we need to understand what leadership is. I won’t be a lecturer at any university but a minister, we have permanent Secretaries and their deputies, Directors and lecturers who are well qualified to do the hands on.” Olopeng emphasised that his Permanent Secretaries are the crucial technocrats that will make sure that they deliver on their mandate.
He said: “I understand the challenges. I know both the two Education ministries are challenging but I know I will make it. I will work hard to make a difference at the ministry. The first thing is to understand the challenges. And how to mitigate them. I will consult. The technocrats will do the technical work and I will facilitate.” The new Tertiary minister further took a swipe at those that doubt his capabilities at the ministry saying he is unqualified when asked by this reporter saying they will eat a humble pie.
Let them judge me, he says adding that if they are honest with themselves they should give him three months to show them the results of the direction he wants to give to the ministry. “People say all these things on social media like facebook because it’s where everything goes. Let them judge me. They should give me three months and surely they will eat a humble pie. Ga ke batle go ipoka. I believe in tangible results. I will humble those naysayers with the amount of exposure I have in leadership.”
Apart from Tshekedi and Olopeng, Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Carter Morupisi also announced that other cabinet transfers made by President Masisi includes the Minister of Transport and Communications, Kitso Mokaila who has been transferred to head the Minister of Environment , Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism filling the shoes of Tshekedi Khama.
Minister of Nationality Immigration and Gender Affairs, Dorcas Makgato takes over the Minister of Transport and Communications from Mokaila. Masisi also redeployed the former Minister of Tertiary Education Research Science and Technology Honourable Ngaka Ngaka to become the new Minister of Nationality Immigration and Gender Affairs which was previously under Makgato. Masisi has made the redeployments to take effect immediately.
Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the Review of the Constitution held a meeting in Serowe this week. The meeting was to accord Bangwato, just like other tribes, a platform to give their opinions, contributions and what they think is the horse power and limitations of the current Constitution of Botswana.
Bangwato Regent, Kgosi Serogola Seretse said, he is of the understanding that the Commission has not come for anything apart from getting their opinions on how things could be made better. His contribution was that he solely knows of only two social positions in the world; Dikgosi and Pastors. He said other positions are just benedictions. He further urged that, Batswana should respect God’s ordained protocols such as Dikgosi and Pastors.
Seretse pointed out the importance of acknowledging and appreciating Dikgosi as nation builders. He cautioned and warned that, the Commission should ensure that their dealing with Dikgosi is harmonious. He called for an amendment to be made on the ‘National Order of Precedence’ noting that Dikgosi are put at number 11, but should at least be taken a little higher to number 7.
One resident, Tshepo Moloi while giving his contribution said there must be provisions of Social Justice that ensure equal distribution of resources to all citizens. He said this provision should entail an obligation that all citizen have equal opportunities to different Government Initiatives. Moloi substantiated that, all ‘Presidential Commissions’ be engraved on the Constitution
Alfred Thogolwane who is as well a resident of the biggest village in the Central District, pointed out the need for preservation of the country and resources thereof, saying “it must dawn onto all that, the calabash that fetches water for the family cannot fixed once its broken.” Another resident, Keikantsemang Sebedi advocated for Polygamous marriage, saying that men should marry as many wives as they please. She said there is no need for any socioeconomic assessment done on men who wish to marry more than one wife.
She advised that, the country should benchmark from the Zezuru culture that does it, with no complexities. On the other hand, Sebedi said that, there must be considerations done on the Old Age Pension. She said people who earned P4000 should not receive the old Age Pension upon their fullness of age. Forshia Koloi called for amendments on Section 77 and all the provisions that speaks to the subject of Bogosi and the powers infested in them. He said they should be made more detailed and avoid ambiguity in clauses.
Mr Tlhaodi said there must be Land Audits done in the country. Citing an example of the Tati Land as one that should be thoroughly audited. He further advised that, Election Day be put on the Calendar. He said, if it happens that the day be a Saturday, there should be some special dispensation for the 7th Day Adventist Church members to take part in voting without compromising on their day of worship. Tlhaodi added that there must be People’s Complaint Commission in the country.
Speakers emphasized the need for the country to review the exercise of ‘Political Party Funding’. They articulated that lack of funding political parties’ results in political parties resorting to finding funds for themselves. They reiterated that sometimes going to the extent of getting funds through illegal means. Bangwato agreed in one accord that they want the President be tried whilst in office if suspected of any criminal offences. This was revealed in their contributions. They pointed out that, the law should not to wait until the end of their tenure.
For his part, the Deputy Chairperson of the Commission Johnson Motshwarakgole expressed gratitude to the residents of Serowe. He applauded women for their kindness saying it is only them, who always take responsibility for doing things amicably in the society.
Parliament has revealed that it plans to rollout a Community Score Card (CSC) exercise as part of sweeping reforms to its role and mandate among others.
The planed shakeup, along with the rollout of CSC will see creation of new Parliamentary Portfolio Committees on Health, HIV&AIDS, Education and Skills Development, Trade and Economic Development, Agriculture, Lands and Housing and Local Governance and Social Welfare. Parliament informed government ministries and departments that the CSC is a participatory, community based monitoring and evaluation tool that enables citizens to assess the quality of public services and interact with services providers to express their concerns.
According to Parliament, the CSC will assist to inform community members about available services and their entitlements and to solicit their opinions about the accessibility and quality of certain services related to the portfolio committees mentioned. It said the main objective is for Parliament through identified oversight committees is to conduct a participatory monitoring and evaluating process that puts ownership and responsibility for delivery of services in the hands of both the Government and the service recipients.
“Through scorecards developed around identified sectors and services, communities and implementing departments remain in touch with progress made through the programme delivery cycle and are able to respond timely to bottlenecks,” the National Assembly said. Some of the measurements and expected outcomes for the rolling out of the CSC include among others, improved monitoring and economic evaluation, to determine the impact of spending, so as to be able to direct resources from where they having the least benefit to those projects and programmes where they will have a larger positive impact.
The National Assembly explained further that this could result in a willingness to close down ineffective programmes and institutions and not to implement projects that do not deliver adequate returns, improved productivity in the public services, especially given the substantial pay increases.
The National Assembly believes that the rolling out of CSC is also expected to result in efficiency savings: many public services and programmes could be delivered more effectively at lower costs, by improving management and accountability, and making use of e-services. “This would yield financial savings that could be used for development programmes or reducing the deficit,” the National Assembly said.
The exercise is also expected to result in “Careful scrutiny of subsidy schemes and termination of those that do not address market failure or assist truly needy Batswana.” The National Assembly revealed that proposed Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Wellness has been established in accordance with the Standing of National Assembly of Botswana. It explained that the mandate of the Committee is mainly to exercise Parliamentary oversight and scrutiny over Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies with portfolio responsibilities in respect of Health and HIV/AIDS.
“There is need to identify reasons for inefficiency and poor outcomes and ensure that health system reform improve productivity and value for money. Key areas of focus for scorecard, availability of drugs, staffing ratios, accessibility of health services, speciality care and services and sexual reproductively health,” the National Assembly said.
Another proposed Committee is on Local Governance and Social Welfare. The mandate of the Committee is mainly to exercise Parliamentary Oversight and Scrutiny over Government Ministries. Departments and Agencies with Portfolio responsibilities in respect of Local Governance and Social Welfare.
“Strategies under NDP 11 to improve outcomes of social uplifment include; diversiﬁcation of rural economies, development and support of small businesses, provision of social safety nets, eradication of absolute poverty, provision of quality and equitable education and harmonisation of social protection programmes,” said the National Assembly. It said social nets need to be improved so as to target these most in need (at present some social safety nets benefit many people who are not the most needy, but also miss out some of those who are needy).
“Some social development policies more broadly should also aim to reduce household vulnerability to shocks such as those arising from fluctuations in agriculture, climate change, incomes and employment and improve their ability to handle shocks, thereby building household resilience,” the National Assembly said.
Another Committee established is on Agriculture, Lands and Housing. The mandate of the Committee is mainly to exercise Parliamentary oversight and scrutiny over Government Institutions, Departments and Agencies with portfolio responsibilities in respect of Agriculture, Lands and Housing.
The National Assembly said the average growth rate of the agricultural sector since the beginning of National Development Plan 11 (NDP11) (i.e. during the 2017/2018 and 2018/19 financial years) was 2.5 percent, making it the slowest growing sector of the economy, in line with its historical performance.
“Over the same period, its share of GDP has been stagnant at around 2 percent. The sector also contributes job opportunities for about 80 000 adults. Food security has become paramount since the onset of the corona virus pandemic,” the National Assembly said. The National Assembly said the Government realises the need to increase food production for products in which Botswana has a cooperative advantage such as beef, grains and other horticulture products.
The Committee on Finance, Trade and Economic Development has also been established. One of the mandates of Committee would be to exercise Parliamentary oversight and scrutiny over government ministries, departments and agencies with portfolio responsibilities in respect of Finance, Development, Trade and Industry.
“The sector is at the core of industrialisation aspirations and strategies for economic development in Botswana. Manufacturing in particular can be the driver of economic growth through technological improvements and innovation,” the National Assembly said. Hence, it said, the development of the sector could also foster export diversification and export led-growth in Botswana while benefitting from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA).
Two senior members of Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) have threatened legal action against Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS), it has transpired. The threat is contained in an answering affidavit of Director General of DCEC, Tymon Katlholo in which he is seeking an interdiction from High Court to stop the DIS from accessing investigation files at his office.
After the DIS detained DCEC officials Joao Salbany and Tsholofelo Bareetsi on December 16, 2021, they filed an official complaint against DIS and some officials. They complained about abuse of office by DIS and five officers. Salbany and Bareetsi also complained about unlawful detention by DIS and unlawful dissemination of classified information contrary to Section 44 of Corruption and Economic Crime Act. “The DIS interviews were premised on information divulged during the course of official DCEC work product, that is the Monday media brief meeting,” they wrote.
They further requested leave to institute a civil suit against the DIS and its officers, and invariably the State for inhuman and degrading treatment they suffered and unlawful detention. They also pondered a declaratory seeking a sanction against the DIS and Botswana Police Service (BPS) and clarification of the role of BPS officers seconded to DIS.
“The envisaged suit against BPS and DIS officers and the DIS will inevitably centre on investigations done by the DCEC and the scope of the protection availed to DCEC officers for conduct done in the course and scope of DCEC official duties.” The duo said it was self-evident from the conduct of the DIS officers that there was nothing urgent about the information required by the DIS, justifying their detention at its Sebele facility from 08:30 hours on December 16, 2021 until 02:00 hours on December 17, 2021.
They reasoned that the information required by the DIS could have been obtained by a simple request to DCEC Director General. “What the DIS did was to seek to intimidate officers of the DCEC whom they knew were carrying out investigations against some of the DIS officers who were part of their investigation team. This turn of events has a chilling effect not only on the functioning of the DCEC but also on the official conduct of officers of the DCEC as to how they conduct their official duties.”
They concluded by stating that in the event the request is granted, they would further request to be advised as to the provision of legal representation as the unalwful detention and the degrading and inhuman treatment by the DIS was in relation to matters conducted by and on behalf of the DCEC.