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Masisi denies witch-hunt on parastatals CEOs

Dr Patrick Molutsi, CEO of Human Resource Development Council (HRDC)

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Chairman and Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi has quashed reports indicating that government is on a purging mission, eliminating Chief Executive Officers who are not sympathetic to the ruling party.

By the fall of 2015, reports had been growing thin that the ruling party is determined to have all quasi-government institutions led by only those who are sympathetic to the BDP. Such allegations were not helped by the fact that influential members within the BDP, including MPs had requested that the Economic Stimulus Programme be piloted by ruling party activists.

Masisi denied that government has devised any plan whatsoever to remove CEOs who are perceived as sympathetic to opposition parties.  “The policy remains the same. We appoint based purely on merit,” he told a press conference this week.

The ruling party chairman conceded that adopting such a stand will be divisive to the nation adding that ‘party affiliation’ has never been requirement for employment in top parastatal positions.

According to reports, a list of CEOs including Dr Patrick Molutsi of Human Resource Development Council (HRDC), Cross Kgosidiile of Motor Vehicle Fund (MVA) and a number of others are on their way out for not showing loyalty to the ruling party.

Prior to his role as acting CEO of HRDC, Molutsi who is considered one of the finest academics in the country served as CEO of Tertiary Education Council (TEC) which has now been transformed into the HRDC and with a new mandate. Molutsi has been acting as CEO of HRDC since 2013, but the government is yet to appoint him as the substantive CEO.

Meanwhile MVA boss, who joined the organisation in 2006 is reported to be leaving the organisation after failing to secure extension of his stay despite having led the organisation admirably.

President Lt Gen Ian Khama also lent credence to the fears in one of the Kgotla meetings last year when he said that if government experiences sabotage in implementation of its policies he will be forced to start recruiting BDP members for those top positions.

Last year MP for Letlhakeng Liakat Kablay told parliament that government should consider appointing BDP card-carrying members to senior government positions. Kablay argued that this exercise is necessary to avoid a situation where BDP policies are sabotaged by opposition sympathisers in the civil service.

There is a general thought within BDP that the executive has allowed technocrats to be influential in implementation of policies, therefore the success of government policies are at their mercy.

One strong critic of the ruling party’s involvement in parastatals is MP for Gaborone Bonnington South and Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Deputy President Ndaba Gaolathe.

Gaolathe opines that government is excessively interfering in the affairs of quasi-government institutions which compromises their quality of governance.

In his inaugural contribution to parliamentary debates two years ago, Gaolathe told fellow MPs that it was not by mistake that public institutions like Botswana Development Corporation (BDC), Botswana Meat Commission (BMC), and Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) have experienced some sort of scandals relating to corruption and maladministration.

He is of the view that the root cause of poor governance and performance in public institutions is the government itself through appointment of CEOs and boards based on personal relationships and political affiliation, and with high disregard for competence and excellence.

While Vice President Masisi has dismissed such talk of appointing CEOs and other senior executives only loyal to BDP, BIUST’s Professor Hilary Iyang caused a stir. The Ghanaian- American academic left the BIUST a few months into his job amid accusations of political interference.

It is also confirmed that University of Botswana Vice Chancellor Thabo Fako will not be given another stay at the helm of the country’s highest learning institution. Fako had a massive fall-out with government after criticising its approach towards education.

In a candid presentation to stakeholders last year, Fako blamed UB for its woes, warning that the creation of BIUST will literally lead to the collapse of UB. Fako said government preferred BIUST over UB.

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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

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.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021

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.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

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.

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