The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) through its Central Committee has recently resolved to take over opposition held constituencies across the country.
According to a highly placed BDP law maker, the party feels that the constituencies which were won by the opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) have been neglected.
“As a party we will be taking care of those constituencies to make sure that they are not somehow neglected,” the BDP Member of Parliament (MP) pointed out.
WeekendPost has established that the responsibility entails visiting those constituencies, updating them on parliamentary business in terms of passed and proposed motions, and upcoming developments.
In the 2014 general elections, opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) garnered in their bag 17 constituencies being Gabane-Mmakgodi, Gaborone Bonnington North, Gaborone Bonnington South, Gaborone Central, Gaborone North and Ghanzi North.
Other UDC won constituencies include Goodhope-Mabule, Jwaneng-Mabutsane, Kanye South, Mochudi East, Mochudi West, Mogoditshane, Molepolole South, Molepolole North and Tlokweng.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) attained only 3 constituencies namely Ramotswa, Okavango and SelibePhikwe West.
In the new development, it is understood that for example MP for Gantsi South Christiaan Degraaf will invade and take care of the constituents of Gantsi North as well – where UDC MP’s Noah Salakae is the incumbent.
He added that Muhammad Khan’s Molepolole North will be watched over by Letlhakane-Lephepe MP Liakat Kablay and Gaborone South MP Kagiso Molatlhegi will oversee some of Gaborone constituencies which are UDC infested.
Another BDP MP Ngaka Ngaka representing Letlhakeng/Takatokwane will take over Molepolole South which is currently under Tlamelo Mmatli of UDC. It was also agreed that Tati East law maker Guma Moyo would put a watchful eye on Same Bathobakae’s Tlokweng constituency.
The BDP immaculate source also said that they will use the BDP branch committees to invade the opposition held constituencies.
According to the ruling party MP, the Central Committee reached the decision because “opposition MP’s are difficult to work with as they don’t disseminate every useful information to the electorates as they fear putting BDP on the spotlight”.
BDP Chair for Publicity and International Relations sub-committee Fish Pabalinga confirmed the new development but clarified that the issue was meant for BDP members to easily liaise with each other along the party structures.
“For example if a constituency is not under the radar of BDP, then someone would be summoned to look after the constituents so that accurate information can be properly disseminated,” Pabalinga told this publication.
He emphasized that the move is purely for the benefit of the party so that there is efficiency for trickling of information from ordinary members of the party to BDP MP’s even in areas not in the hands of the party.
However UDC Publicity Secretary Moeti Mohwasa said he is not surprised with the gesture as he believes that with the ruling BDP everything is possible no matter how absurd.
“We are not surprised with the move because with the BDP everything is possible even to reverse the outcome of 2014 General Elections. You know they won with less that 50% so they will do anything really.”
The UDC spokesperson also went on to state that the party does not understand where the problem is, however, Mohwasa hinted that the main problem could be the BDP policies and their attitude towards the workers.
He said: “they are flawed that is why there is a high unemployment rate. They should therefore address the root cause of the problem and not the political stunt of discrediting opposition MP’s by saying they will take care of their constituents.”
Government is currently sitting on 4 400 vacant posts that remain unfilled in the civil service. This is notwithstanding the high unemployment rate in Botswana which has been exacerbated by the recent outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
Just before the burst of COVID-19, official data released by Statistics Botswana in January 2020, indicate that unemployment in Botswana has increased from 17.6 percent three years ago to 20.7 percent. “Unemployment rate went up by 3.1 percentage between the two periods, from 17.6 to 20.7 percent,” statistics point out.
Leading commercial bank, First National Bank Botswana (FNBB), expects the central bank to sharpen its monetary policy knife and cut the Bank Rate twice in the last quarter of 2020.
The bank expects a 25 basis point (bps) in the beginning of the last quarter, which is next month, and another shed by the same bps in December, making a total of 50 bps cut in the last quarter. According to the bank’s researchers, the central bank is now holding on to 4.25 percent for the time being pending for more informed data on the economic climate.
An audit of the accounts and records for the supply of food rations to the institutions in the Northern Region for the financial year-ended 31 March 2019 was carried out. According to Auditor General’s report and observations, there are weaknesses and shortcomings that were somehow addressed to the Accounting Officer for comments.
Auditor General, Pulane Letebele indicated on the report that, across all depots in the region that there had been instances where food items were short for periods ranging from 1 to 7 months in the institutions for a variety of reasons, including absence of regular contracts and supplier failures. The success of this programme is dependent on regular and reliable availability of the supplies to achieve its objective, the report said.
There would be instances where food items were returned from the feeding centers to the depots for reasons of spoilage or any other cause. In these cases, instances had been noted where these returns were not supported by any documentation, which could lead to these items being lost without trace.
The report further stressed that large quantities of various food items valued at over P772 thousand from different depots were damaged by rodents, and written off.Included in the write off were 13 538 (340ml) cartons of milk valued at P75 745. In this connection, the Auditor General says it is important that the warehouses be maintained to a standard where they would not be infested by rodents and other pests.
Still in the Northern region, the report noted that there is an outstanding matter relating to the supply of stewed steak (283×3.1kg cans) to the Maun depot which was allegedly defective. The steak had been supplied by Botswana Meat Commission to the depot in November 2016.
In March 2017 part of the consignment was reported to the supplier as defective, and was to be replaced. Even as there was no agreement reached between the parties regarding replacement, in 51 October 2018 the items in question were disposed of by destruction. This disposal represented a loss as the whole consignment had been paid for, according to the report.
“In my view, the loss resulted directly from failure by the depot managers to deal with the matter immediately upon receipt of the consignment and detection of the defects. Audit inspections during visits to Selibe Phikwe, Maun, Shakawe, Ghanzi and Francistown depots had raised a number of observations on points of detail related to the maintenance of records, reconciliations of stocks and related matters, which I drew to the attention of the Accounting Officer for comments,” Letebele said in her report.
In the Southern region, a scrutiny of the records for the control of stocks of food items in the Southern Region had indicated intermittent shortages of the various items, principally Tsabana, Malutu, Sunflower Oil and Milk which was mainly due to absence of subsisting contracts for the supply of these items.
“The contract for the supply of Tsabana to all depots expired in September 2018 and was not replaced by a substantive contract. The supplier contracts for these stocks should be so managed that the expiry of one contract is immediately followed by the commencement of the next.”
Suppliers who had been contracted to supply foodstuffs had failed to do so and no timely action had been taken to redress the situation to ensure continuity of supply of the food items, the report noted.
In one case, the report highlighted that the supplier was to manufacture and supply 1 136 metric tonnes of Malutu for a 4-months period from March 2019 to June 2019, but had been unable to honour the obligation. The situation was relieved by inter-depot transfers, at additional cost in transportation and subsistence expenses.
In another case, the contract was for the supply of Sunflower Oil to Mabutsane, where the supplier had also failed to deliver. Examination of the Molepolole depot Food Issues Register had indicated a number of instances where food items consigned to the various feeding centres had been returned for a variety of reasons, including food item available; no storage space; and in other cases the whole consignments were returned, and reasons not stated.
This is an indication of lack of proper management and monitoring of the affairs of the depot, which could result in losses from frequent movements of the food items concerned.The maintenance of accounting records in the region, typically in Letlhakeng, Tsabong, and Mabutsane was less than satisfactory, according to Auditor General’s report.
In these depots a number of instances had been noted where receipts and issues had not been recorded over long periods, resulting in incorrect balances reflected in the accounting records. This is a serious weakness which could lead to or result in losses without trace or detection, and is a contravention of Supplies Regulations and Procedures, Letebele said.
Similarly, consignments of a total of 892 bags of Malutu and 3 bags of beans from Tsabong depot to different feeding centres had not been received in those centres, and are considered lost. These are also not reflected in the Statement of Losses in the Annual Statements of Accounts for the same periods.