Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) President, Ndaba Gaolathe says Mangole, Modubule violated and denigrated party constitution
Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) President, Ndaba Gaolathe has in a written letter to the party National Executive Committee (NEC) told members that Advocate Sidney Pilane’s re-admission will only be decided by the party at its next congress.
The two letters dated 21 October 2015, seen by this publication- were addressed to the party Secretary General, Gilbert Mangole and the other to members of the NEC in essence, de-recognising the decision to re-admit Pilane back into the party. In the letter addressed to the NEC members, Gaolathe explains that if indeed such a decision was taken, members of the NEC will have presided over and participated in a denigration of the constitution of the party.
“The unconstitutionality, violation of procedure and the array of circumstances around this matter would leave the NEC or the party with no choice, but to place such a decision, if indeed it was taken, in abeyance and then be referred to the Movement’s highest organ, the National Congress for proper and fair resolution,” the letter to the NEC reads in part.
“There is no urgency in the matter and it would be addressed by the National Congress at it next regular meeting.”
Gaolathe further explains that membership application in terms of Article 5 of the constitution should be submitted to and considered by a Brand Committee, which may accept or refuse it. He further states that any such acceptance or refusal is subject to review by the next higher organ of the party, which in this case is the Regional Committee.
“The Constitution does not countenance a situation where an applicant for membership “shops” around, going from Branch Committee to Branch Committee receiving rejections until he or she arrives at one that would grant an acceptance,” said Gaolathe who was outside the country in Switzerland when the decision was reportedly taken.
Gaolathe who is also the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Secretary General explained that any attempt to “shop” around in the manner Pilane has done offends against the Constitution and is improper as it amounts to violation of the Constitution.
“The proper process should have involved a request by Pilane to have the refusal of his membership application by the Gaborone North Branch Committee reviewed by the next higher organ of the party, and this is the Regional Committee,” he said.
The Gaborone Bonnington South legislator further remarks in the letter that the NEC remains vested with powers to overturn the acceptance of any membership application.
“…Even acceptance of a membership application that is proper and regular, does not immediately confer full membership on the applicant. It confers only provisional membership which may only become full at the expiration of 8 weeks from date of notification of the granting provisional membership,” he stated.
“In the ultimate instance, any decision of any organ of the party is subject to review, ratification, alteration or rescission by the highest organ, the National Congress. This is in terms of Clause 14.3 of the constitution.”
On the other letter addressed to Mangole, Gaolathe is calling on the party Secretary General to explain why the NEC presided over and participated in such a denigrating act to the party’s constitution.
“I am keen to learn from you and the Chairman, Nehemiah Modubule why this decision, if indeed it was taken, was reached in these divisive circumstances including in the absence of the Vice President Wynter Mmolotsi, who is acting on my behalf, along with other reputable members of the NEC, and who clearly expressed and demonstrated refusal to participate in the flagrant denigration of the constitution of our Movement,” reads the letter in part.
The party president is also unimpressed by the fact that Mangole communicated directly to the media before he informed or notified Mmolotsi or even himself as party president. “In my view, you as the Secretary General along with the Chairman, knowingly or unknowingly have acted in ways that are divisive to our party, and have gone against the spirit of unity in our large Movement, the Umbrella for Democratic Change,” he stated.
The former party National Policy Director further remarked that Mangole and Modubule’s conduct has been both inappropriate and unfair to the party and the masses that have lent the party their goodwill. “I expect that you will revise your conduct, or the people, when the right time comes, will revise it for you,” he said.
Gaolathe told Mangole that in previous NEC meetings, he has been reluctant to involve himself in the Pilane matter, to preclude the idea that he may be conflicted about considering the application of a member with previous presidential ambitions.
“I did so inspired by my faith in yourselves, as fair and responsible leaders on whom the future of our collective vision could be entrusted,” he said. “Your actions and sense of judgement have discredited my faith in you.”
The letter further states that Mangole is expected to respond in writing providing explanation to Gaolathe and also do so verbally at the next NEC meeting. According to the letter, the Pilane matter will be referred to party congress in 2017.
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.