Head of Investigations Unit at the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), Itumeleng Phuthego, has returned to work following a controversial decision to put him on indefinite suspension.
WeekendPost has it in good authority that, Phutego was among individuals who were restored to their positions in the civil service following the ascendance of President Mokgweetsi Masisi to the state presidency last month. Phuthego reported for duty three weeks ago, WeekendPost can reveal.
Meanwhile in his absence, a new director general, Bruno Paledi was appointed, replacing Rose Seretse who has since joined the newly formed Botswana Energy Regulator Authority (BERA). The ascendancy of President Masisi has seen him making several key decisions with deployment in government agencies, including the sacking of Isaac Kgosi, the former Director of Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS).
Information gathered by this publication has indicated that the DCEC had planned to frustrate Phuthego by throwing him in the wilderness for a while and eventually sack him. In recent months, there has been discontent within DCEC as some staff were redeployed or transferred unceremoniously.
The suspension of Phuthego, the man in charge of the most important unit in the DCEC, had sent panic within the institution and raised concern over the independence and resilience of the crime busting agency. His suspension along with other officers followed investigations launched against the then Minister of Lands, Water and Sanitation, Prince Maele. Maele is no longer part of cabinet. According to informants, DCEC accused Phuthego of having divulged important information to the media relating to an ongoing investigation of the then minister Maele.
Maele, who has been subject of the DCEC investigation more than twice, has since been dropped from cabinet by Masisi. Sadique Kebonang, another minister who was also a subject of DCEC investigations was also dropped from the newly constituted cabinet. Last year DCEC denied any witch-hunt against its staff following revelations that it was trying to protect the elite against alleged corruption.
“There is no dispute that there are a few DCEC officials who are on suspension, the fact of the matter is that none of these officers were suspended on the basis of having questioned management as to why certain cases are not prosecuted. It must be stated that suspension of public officers is an internal administrative issue anchored on the remits of the Public Service Act and other regulatory instruments regulating the conduct of public officers,” a statement from DCEC explained.
The reports of DCEC top brass developing cold feet and deciding against investigating high profile officials in corruption matters was not helped by the agency’s failure to instigate prosecution against Isaac Kgosi, the former Director General of the Directorate of Intelligence Security Services (DISS).
In 2014, embarrassing information was leaked to the media, indicating that the DCEC had completed investigations on Kgosi, which could have warranted legal action against him. DCEC officials were at pains trying to explain the reason the docket was not sent to Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) for prosecution. The docket has been lying at DCEC offices for years now, with reports from sources within DCEC indicating that Kgosi had infiltrated the corruption investigation organisation.
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.