Botswana’s Civil Servants entrepreneurship policy which allows civil servants to do business with the same government they are working for is akin to incubating corruption.
This view was expressed by participants of Business Botswana Ethics Forum (BBEF) during a seminar at Maun Lodge. BBEF is a strategic forum initiated by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and University of Botswana and is aimed at promoting good governance and business ethics in all sectors of the economy.
Speaking, John Riley, a local Maun businessman said the policy of civil servants engaging in business with government could be unethical and pose a threat of unfair competition. He said civil servants are therefore a referee and a player at the same time and therefore this pose a ripe environment for corruption. Riley asked rhetorically: “Where does a civil servant who is in to business draw a line between personal interests and office duties when it comes to tenders that he has direct interest in?
Riley further observed that there is an emerging form of corruption known as ‘corruption by time wasting.’ He said this is where civil servants deliberately delay service delivery as a deliberate bottle neck to solicit bribes on members of the public desperate for service. Participants felt that the policy puts DCEC in a tight corner and should have not been implemented without any convincing monitoring mechanism on the ground.
Lentswe Mothoganetsi, head of DCEC in Maun said Botswana’s ranking as least corrupt country in Africa does not mean that there is no corruption in Botswana. He observed that in Africa, Botswana is already compared to severely corrupt countries hence the reality is that the country is only better in Africa but not internationally it is ranked at grade C when it comes to corruption.
Mothoganetsi told the gathering that DCEC has partnered with Statistics Botswana to undertake a survey that which will show the true extent of corruption by Botswana standards. Mophutolodi Molatedi, acting Assistant Director, Corruption Prevention Division at DCEC, said ethical frameworks like BBEF, whistle blowing arrangements, conflict and asset declaration are needed for the promotion of anti-corruption.
Molatedi further posited that of recent days, Botswana has witnessed dissolution of boards, discreditation and dismissal of Executive leadership in both private and government owned establishments on account of among others reports of fraud and mismanagement of funds. She said, “These are the few highlights that we are here today to positively reflect upon. Today we have been presented with an opportunity to take a stance on how integrity in our economy and particularly our specific sectors will be instilled and safeguarded going from here.”
Professor Oluwatoyin Kolawole of the University of Botswana’s Okavango Research Institute said government and the private sector have a duty to solve the grave realities of corruption, fraud and anti competitive realities and to devise appropriate strategic interventions for the problem. Kalawole noted that the business sector, state owned enterprises and civil society as the engine of economic growth, job creation and entrepreneurship continue to be riddled with undesirable reality of facilitating business through corrupt means such as bribes. “All this goes against principles of integrity, corporate governance, legal requirement and good corporate citizenry” he said
He further posited that forums like BBEF are created at various levels to dialogue and address pertinent issues adding that at national level such forums could comprise of representatives of key private sector associations and stakeholders from civil society. Lecturer in the Department of Humanities at UB, Abel Tabalaka said good ethics are needed for business to thrive adding that the world economic crunch is an example of what can go wrong when good business ethics are no followed. The Maun Seminar was held under the theme: “pioneering Business Ethics in Botswana.”
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.