Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) secretary general, Gilbert Mangole’s membership drive in the Ngami constituency has been blasted as unconstitutional by party officials in the area.
Following the poor performance of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), both at council and parliamentary level in the Ngami Constituency in the 2014 general elections, the BMD secretary general embarked on a journey around the constituency to spread the Moono slogan. Mangole said just like in other constituencies in the Northern parts of Botswana, by the time they went for the 2014 elections, the UDC was yet to entrench itself in the North of Dibete.
The membership drive led by Mangole and his team aims at promoting the UDC in the northern part of the country, but others in the party do not see it that way.
In the previous elections, the Ngami constituency was won by Thato Kwerepe of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) with 7063 votes, against the BCP’s 7015 for Taolo Habano; Cosmos Moenga of the UDC got a paltry 802 votes.
However, Komana/ Toteng council candidate, Thapelo Kentse expressed displeasure at the membership drive saying that secretary general and his team did not inform the Ngami regional and branch committees before the recruitment escapade.
Kentse said issues of this nature could end up fuelling factions within the party. He further suspected that the drive is targeting the BMD president, Ndaba Gaolathe. He is of the view that Mangole and his team are covertly canvassing support for Sidney Pilane, who wants readmission into the BMD. He declared Mangole’s actions as a nightmare for BMD.
“Ke belaela gore ba leka go recruata batho ba Ngami gore fa go iwa ko congress ya phathi ba e go nna mo lekgamong la bone ba seka ba tlhopha Rre Ndaba Gaolathe, he said in vernacular. (I suspect they are recruiting Ngami members to prepare for the congress and ensure that they vote against Ndaba Gaolathe.)
Despite the concerns from some BMD members in the district about the drive, told this publication that the results of the last election has informed them as the UDC that the Moono slogan is yet to reach rural areas hence the membership drive in the Ngami.
Mangole said they performed poorly in the previous elections due to lack of resources. He said limited resources do not allow them to stretch to the North as much as they intended to. According to Mangole the UDC used its limited resources in areas where the party was strong and they had hope of winning especially in the south.
“For the past three weeks we were in Bobonong and we did exceptional well and we hope to succeed in Ngami, where we have targeted close to 5000 members. We are still roaming around Ngami constituency mobilising and registering new members,” he said.
Mangole said they are registering members of the BMD and individuals from other political parties which are non-UDC members like BCP and BDP. The BMD secretary general urged people of Ngami to be part of the political change in 2019 by voting the UDC. He appealed to the youth to be part of that change as the leaders of tomorrow.
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.