Government will have paid former Bank of Botswana governor, Linah Mohohlo an easy P1.3 million by the time she finishes her parallel mandate as coordinator of Selibe Phikwe Economic Revitalization Program.
This was confirmed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade Investment and Industry (MITI), Peggy Serame this week before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). Serame also confirmed under oath that Mohohlo is paid at the level of Permanent Secretaries, who are the highest ranking officials in the civil service. It was not clear whether Mohohlo will be enjoying other personal benefits associated with Permanent Secretaries during her three year tenure.
Serame had however disclosed that Mohohlo enjoys the use of an office, computer and transportation, before committee members cut in. Mohohlo has also been assigned assistant and other officials. Mohohlo was appointed by President Ian Khama in the wake of the closure of BCL mines. She reports only to the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry, Vincent Seretse. The same Ministry also houses the Selebi Phikwe Diversification Unit (SPEDU) which was set up in 2008.
Cabinet Secretary Carter Morupisi had noted at the time: “His Excellency trusts that with her unparalleled immense experience in the financial and economic fields, Mrs. Mohohlo will greatly contribute to the economic recovery of Selebi Phikwe.”, Committee members had asked Serame whether Moholho’s portfolio was the right place to inject money whence the Selibe Phikwe Diversification Unit had existed for that purpose all along and why a parallel structure was formed when SPEDU could be doing the job.
Specially Elected MP Bogolo Kenewendo had asked her: “Is this the right place to inject money for three years? Did you recommend her?” At that point Serame could be heard murmuring, face in palm: “potso e e ya mpalela waitse.” Serame further told PAC that the Ministry came up with the revitalisation strategy which they recommended to government. “I led the task team. A decision was taken that PS should continue and in wisdom government thought it should have a coordinator who was not PS.”she stated.
Serame also stated that in her view, the SPEDU unit is doing a stellar job as five companies are already on the ground setting up house. “I didn’t expect such progress in 6 months.” she quipped. Asked whether government is getting value for its money, Serame responded: “indeed we are getting value for money, when I come here next year, if il still be here, il come bearing tangible results.” Furthermore, she stated that there are other 20 companies that she is hopeful will set up shop in the region in 12 to 18 months and others apart from the 20.
She further highlighted that among the investors, there are pharmaceutical, tourism, manufacturing and two ICT companies. SPEDUwas established following a study on Selebi Phikwe town’s economic diversification that was commissioned through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning with funding from the European Union. The study recommended the establishment of a diversification unit to spearhead the implementation of the regeneration programme proposed for Selebi Phikwe. SPEDU was then established as a regional economic development agency in 2008 through a presidential directive.
Its mandate is to manage the diversification programme; identify projects and progress them to potential investors; work with existing project promoters and with government in respect of public sector projects; help promote and enhance the image of Selebi Phikwe and identify and secure outside technical assistance to carry out feasibility studies and other specialised tasks.
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.