Following the major purge of staff seen to be resisting change with regard to the new Strategic Plan of Botswana Council of Non Governmental Organisations (BOCONGO), its new Executive Director Botho Seboko is undertaking a vigorous rebranding exercise at the organisation.
The organisation, members and the board has been embroiled in disputes in relation to governance issues, role clarity, and power struggles that saw the former Executive Director Bagaisi Mabilo and all staff at the Secretariat being wiped out. The board, with the headship of Chairman Oscar Motsumi thereafter head hunted Seboko to persuade him to take the hot seat filling the shoes of Mabilo. Seboko is on a 3 year contract precisely to implement the new BOCONGO Strategy 2017 to 2020 subject to renewal in terms of performance.
In a one-on-one interview with WeekendPost this week the former Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) Secretary General who almost raised the oldest party from the ashes said he found BOCONGO in a similar case and is devoted to re-branding it. At BPP he introduced the slogan which caught frenzy in social media dubbed #RonaKoBPP. Since leaving the party, it slumped to sleeping mode.
“When I arrived in BOCONGO it was an organisation in limbo. Remember it did not have an Executive Director for close to 6 months. Neither did it have qualified people in the absence of the Executive Director except for its Communications Officer,” he said. He continued to say that “it has lost relationships with donors, we have lost communications with key stakeholders, and we were not in dialogue and engaging with government.”
Seboko also said he found BOCONGO’s financial books in disarray and that at the last Annual General Meeting the organisation failed to present an audit. “We had so many creditors or debts,” he said, adding that they did not have any existent donor save for normal subvention funds from the Ministry on Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs.
According to Seboko, the new strategy was adopted in 2015 but due to a conflict between the board and then Director it suffered a one year loss so in 2016 there was literally no implementation until he occupied the position earlier this year in February 2017. “My job coming into BOCONGO therefore was and is still to ensure that at the end of the strategy the organisation is back to its members; to ensure that there is a fresh look on BOCONGO in terms of the manpower that is employed in the inside organisation and the outward picture in the form of logo and branding material.”
In the 8 months in office, Seboko says BOCONGO has moved to a new office. “We developed the new branded logo, brought new phones; website is now functional, staff emails also working. We have a new staff of Executive Director, Programs Manager, Chattered Accountant, Communications Multi-Media and Graphics interns, Front Desk Officer and, Administration Officer.”
The new strategy states that there is a need to decentralize power from Gaborone to other areas where there are BOCONGO members around the country. In the strategy there are 7 regional networks; Gantsi, Ngamiland, Chobe, Francistown, Selibe Phikwe (BOMASE), Serowe/Palapye and Greater Gaborone. BOCONGO will also be divided into 4 thematic groups and there is need to align them with the Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDG’s), National development Plan (NDP11), Vision 2036 and Africa vision 2063.
The thematic groups are; inclusive social policy, sustainable environment and resource management, economic justice and democracy and governance. Members will be now categorized in the groups and composition of the board will be chosen amongst the 7 regions while 4 will come from the thematic groups. As BOCONGO he added that they have also facilitated for the funding of a new NGO, Botswana Watch, at the tune of 50 000 US dollars from OSISA.
The Executive Director said time has turned and NGOs are doing the implementation of the projects while the Secretariat is holding the money for them. “As such the role of BOCONGO has changed. BOCONGO reports financially to the donor while NGOs report narrative.” Furthermore, Seboko revealed that BOCONGO has also requested for funds to resurrect the defunct Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Botswana office. According to him, MISA will start operations soon as OSISA has approved funding for it at the tune of US$ 50 000.
“We did a proposal for EU as well for 2019 General Elections focusing on the disabled particularly the blind, for the first time in this Republic we will see documentation in Braille for the blind,” Seboko said. “The project was funded for 144 000 Euros to be spent in the next 2 years. The blind will be able to vote and teach others on how to vote in the next elections owing to the project.” This, Seboko pointed out, will be done in conjunction with the Botswana Society for the Deaf and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and the Botswana Coalition on Education for All (BOCEFA).
“We have also approached the Canadian Embassy to lure them to fund us so that we assist hold Councillors accountable. They have thereafter funded us with 2 000 Canadian dollars. We need to develop for our communities a check list based on management system based on public office bearers at District level that the communities can assess and check what the Councillors said in their manifestos,” he revealed. Seboko also highlighted that for the last 10 years BOCONGO has received 1.2 million per year consistently from government through Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs as they are obliged to do in their partnership with Civil Society. He also said they will work harmoniously with the NGO Council.
He also pointed out that BOCONGO remains non partisan and does not even provide opinions on topical political issues. Seboko also stated that they have so far pulled 3 successful panel discussions being: controversial Electronic Voting Machines; Freedom of Information (for a build up to MISA resurrection); and a debate over who is funding our political parties. BOCONGO is notorious for an acrimonious relationship between the board and the head of the Secretariat (Executive Director) which often leads to the sacking of the latter.
Before Mabilo, Boitshepho Bolele was also unceremoniously kicked out while on probation. Prior to her, Executive Secretary Mosweu Simane also abruptly resigned from the position to be the General Secretary of an affiliate member Botswana Council of Churches (BCC). He was followed by Nobantu Kalake who also left for greener pastures at the British Council. The hot position has also seen resignations from Barulaganye Mogotsi to Debswana, Baboloki Tlale and Ketlhomilwe Moletsane were also in the mix.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.