Gaetsaloe’s contract renewal milieu
By Aubrey Lute
The incomplete Board of the Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) forced the organization into an unusual method of operation that ultimately renewed Bashi Gaetsaloe’s contract as Managing Director of the BDC.
This then ignited curiosity on the part of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) members recently as they demanded minutes of a Board meeting that never took place. The fact that Gaetsaloe and the Minister of Trade, Trade and Industry have a family relation almost doped some into a cognition that the lack of minutes of re- appointment is a dead giveaway on the level of corporate governance disregard at some of Botswana’s leading organizations.
The paper trail between the Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Vincent Seretse, the Board chairman of the BDC, Blackie Marole, and Board members and permanent secretaries inadvertently reveal the haste and panic that punctuated Gaetsaloe’s three year contract renewal. The BDC was nearly thrown into a scenario where it was to operate without a Managing Director as of March 2017. Marole had written to Gaetsaloe informing him that there have been delays in renewing his contract due to the fact that the BDC Board in part is incomplete in number.
This last minute confusion in Gaetsaloe’s contract renewal comes in the wake of a debate on whether he is doing the right things at the government funded BDC after a few questions were raised on the BDC modus operandi by the Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies chaired by Samson Guma Moyo.
In fact, Moyo, who had rubbished a proposal from the BDC for government to guarantee a P1 billion loan on behalf of the organization so as to inject the money into some local businesses, was by deduction, of the view that Gaetsaloe’s contract should not be renewed this year.
During the Public Accounts Committee sitting of 31st May 2017, the Committee instructed to be furnished with the minutes of the BDC Board meeting that resolved to extend the Managing Director’s contract. But it emerged that the individual board members were contacted, whereupon, all of them consented to the extension of the Managing Director’s appointment.
Accounting officer, Peggy Serame, indicated that the Board did not meet in a boardroom, meaning that the minutes of this decision are not available. However she indicated that a resolution was passed for a recommendation to be made to the minister to re-appoint the Managing Director.
Serame said a resolution can be in the form of a writing signed or assented to by all the Directors and it is as valid as if it had been passed at a meeting of the Board duly convened and held; further she said any resolution may consist of several documents (including facsmile or other similar means of communication) in like form each signed or assented to by one or more Directors.
She admitted that only six instead of the minimum seven required Board members participated in the exercise of re-appointment the Managing Director. She said this was done to prevent possible paralysis in the running of the BDC. There was a chance that Gaetsaloe’s contract could expire before cabinet approves his re-appointment, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Solomon Sekwakwa had raised alarm on 28 February 2017 via email to one Dorothy Matiza at the BDC. The round robin on seeking consent to renew the Managing Director’s contract was conducted between 28 February and 06 March 2017.
Minister Vincent Seretse wrote a letter re-appointing Gaetsaloe on 23rd March 2017. The appointment is for a period of three years with effect from 15th March, 2017 to 14th April, 2020. The chairman of the Board, Marole has informed Gaetsaloe, who had expressed interest in renewing his contract that his conditions of service will not change until the Board has a full complement of members who can discuss his perks.
Gaetsaloe believes that he has served the BDC with diligence and that over the past three years the Corporation has achieved great success under his leadership as Managing Director. The BDC financial results have improved steadily over the past three years culminating in BDC achieving a profit before tax of P224 million in the just ended financial year and BDC paying a dividend to the shareholder for the first time in eight years, Gaetsaloe suggested when motivating his request for contract extension.
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Local tennis team upbeat ahead of Billie Jean King cup
With almost two weeks until the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup, which will be staged in Kenya from June 12-17, 2023, the Botswana Tennis Association (BTA) ladies’ team coach, Ernest Seleke, is optimistic about reaching greater heights.
Billie Jean King Cup, or the BJK Cup, is a premier international team competition in women’s tennis, launched as the Federation Cup to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the International Tennis Federation (ITF). The BJK Cup is the world’s largest annual women’s international team sports competition in terms of the number of nations that compete.
The finals will feature 12 teams (Botswana, Burundi, Ghana, Kenya, Seychelles, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Tunisia, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, and the Democratic Republic of Congo) competing in the four round-robin groups of three. The four group winners will qualify for the semifinals, and the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup will be crowned after the completion of the knockout phase.
Closer to home, the BW Tennis team is comprised of Thato Madikwe, Leungo Monnayoo, Chelsea Chakanyuka, and Kelebogile Monnayoo. However, according to Seleke, they have not assembled the team yet as some of the players are still engaged.
“At the moment, we are depending on the players and their respective coaches in terms of training. However, I will meet up with Botswana-based players in the coming week, while the United States of America (USA) based player Madikwe will probably meet us in Kenya. Furthermore, Ekua Youri and Naledi Raguin, who are based in Spain and France respectively, will not be joining us as they will be writing their examinations,” said Seleke.
Seleke further highlighted the significance of this competition and how competitive it is. “It is a massive platform for our players to showcase their talent in tennis, and it is very competitive as countries target to get promoted to the world categories where they get to face big nations such as Spain, France, USA, and Italy. Though we are going to this tournament as underdogs because it is our second time participating, I’m confident that the girls will put in a good showing and emerge with results despite the odds,” highlighted Seleke.
Quizzed about their debut performance at the BJK Cup, he said, “I think our performance was fair considering the fact that we were newbies. We came third in our group after losing to North Macedonia and South Africa. We went on to beat Uganda, then Kenya in the playoffs. Unfortunately, we couldn’t play Burundi due to heavy rainfall and settled for the position 9/10,” he said.
For her part, team representative Leungo Monnayoo said they are working hard as they aim to do well at the tourney. “The preparations for the tourney have long begun because we practice each and every day. We want to do well, hence we need to be motivated. Furthermore, I believe in my team as we have set ourselves a big target of coming home with the trophy,” she said.
Pep Stores donates sanitary towels to Popagano JSS
The Guidance and Counseling unit at Popagano Junior Secondary School received a donation of 790 sanitary towels from Pep stores on Thursday.
When presenting the donation, Mareledi Thebeng, the Dinokaneng Area Manager, highlighted their belief in giving back to the community, as their existence depends on the communities they serve. Thebeng pointed out that research indicates one in four girls miss school every day due to the lack of basic necessities like sanitary towels. Therefore, as a company, they strive to assist in alleviating this situation. She expressed hope that this donation would help ensure uninterrupted learning for girls.
Upon receiving the donation on behalf of the students, Charity Sambire, the President of the Student Representative Council, expressed her gratitude. Sambire specifically thanked Pep Store for their generous gift, speaking on behalf of the students, especially the girl child.
She conveyed their sincere appreciation for Pep Store’s compassion and quoted the adage, “Blessed is the hand that gives.” Sambire expressed the students’ hope for Pep Storesâ€™ prosperity, enabling them to continue supporting the students. As a gesture of gratitude, the students pledged to excel academically.
During her speech, Motlalepula Madome, the Senior Teacher in Guidance and Counseling, highlighted that many students at the school come from disadvantaged backgrounds where parents struggle to provide basic necessities. Consequently, some students miss school when they experience menstruation due to this lack.
Madome emphasized the significance of the donation in preventing the girl child from missing lessons and its potential to improve the school’s overall results. She expressed the school’s gratitude and expressed a desire for continued support from Pep Stores.
Popagano Junior Secondary School, situated in the Okavango District, holds the second position academically in the North West region. Despite its location, the school has been dedicated to achieving excellence since 2017
Botswana misses out critical PAP committee meeting
The Pan African Parliament (PAP) committee on gender, family, youth and people with disability in its sitting considered, adopted and recommended to the plenary session the preliminary report on the framework for the model law on gender equality.
According to the last weekâ€™s media release from PAP which is sitting with its various committees until June 2nd,Â the committee is following up the PAP initiative to draw up a model law on gender equality to enable national governments to harmonize, modernize and standardize their legislations to address local needs is set to be discussed in Plenary.
However, what is concerning is the fact that Botswana which is a member state missed the deliberations. Kgosi Mosadi Seboko who sat in the committee representing Botswana has since been ejected by parliament and this is a huge blow for a nation that is still battling equity and gender balance.
â€śAlthough PAP has no legislative powers it makes model laws for member states to adopt. PAP also develops protocols to be ratified by countries. The input of countries at Committee state is extremely critical. It now means the voice of Botswana is missing the discussions leading up to development of protocols or model laws,â€ť said one of Botswanaâ€™s representative at PAP Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang who is attending the current session.
While Botswana is missing, the committee meeting took place on the sidelines of the Sixth PAP second ordinary Session being held under the African Union Theme of the Year for 2023, â€śThe Year of AfCFTA: Accelerating the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Areaâ€ť in Midrand, South Africa and will run up to 2 June 2023. Chairperson of the Committee, Hon Mariam Dao-Gabala expressed satisfaction with preliminary processes undertaken so far towards the formulation of the Model Law,â€ť a release from the PAP website reads.
“The law should be suitable to all countries whatever the predominant culture or religion is. The aim is to give an opportunity to women to participate in the economic, political and social development of the continent. Women are not well positioned and face a lot of obstacles. We are introducing the idea of equity in the Law because we cannot talk about equality without equity,” said Hon Mariam Dao-Gabala in the press statement.
The release has stated that among issues to be covered by the Model Law is the migratory movements of women. The Committee proffered that this has to be addressed at the continental level to ensure that migrant women enjoy all their rights and live with dignity in their destination country. The members of the Gender Committee undertook consultations to consolidate the contributions of the various stakeholders that will be the logical framework format for the Model Law.