Mo Ibrahim shows year on year on governance decline since 2008
The 2015 Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) report indicates that Botswana’s quality of governance is deteriorating under the leadership of President Lt Gen Ian Khama.
The report which was released at the beginning of this week indicates that although the country remains at the top ten of the overall ranking of the African continent, its scores have been going down since Khama took office in April 2008.
“Since 2008, when the current leader came to power, the country has changed from being one on a positive governance trajectory (route) to one on the negative trajectory with particular widespread deterioration in the last year,” the report revealed.
According to the report, Botswana has in recent years started to show some weakening of performance in a range of governance measures although it is still performing comparatively well.
“Although Botswana continues to achieve widespread high scores across much of the IIAG, resulting impressive rank placement in many levels of the data set, its overall score in recent years has declined with deterioration in broad range of governance measures,” the report revealed.
Botswana has continually achieved top ten status in overall governance since 2000. In 2014, the country scored 74.2 out of 100, ranking number three in the 54 countries of Africa. It displayed its best ever overall governance in 2012 and has shown year on year on deterioration ever since, with the most pronounced fall back seen in the most recent years.
The Ibrahim index that measures the quality of governance in every African country on an annual basis, indicates that since 2011, Botswana has shown an overall governance deterioration of about 1.8 points. This it states, places the country within the ten largest fallers of the continent over this time period.
“Apart from Cabo Verde, Botswana is the highest ranking country to show such a decline. This weakening performance is driven by widespread deterioration in three of the four categories, safety and rule of law, participation and human rights and sustainable economic opportunities,” the report further reads.
The country scored 82.7 in safety and rule of law and ranked second in the continent and therefore, registered the country’s second largest decline of all the governance components.
“The broad nature of the deterioration across the sub categories is conspicuous as all components of the sub categories display the same trend. The country thus records the lowest score since 2000 in 2014, one of only nine countries in the continent to do so,” further reveals the report.
On matters of National security, the country is however ranked one of the Botswana’s best performers of safety and rule of law. The country scored 99.9 and showing a very slight deterioration of a small decimal place on 0.04.
“This is the most positive story for Botswana within this category with no change in four of the five indicators in which the country scores 100.0. The only driver of this slight deterioration is the indicator Political refugees with a slight decline of 0.2 points,” further reads the report.
The ten highest scoring countries in this category in 2014 included Botswana, 95.5, followed by South Africa (95.4), Mauritius (94. 6), Cabo Verde (87.9), Ghana (84.5), Namibia (82.8), Senegal (74.6), Seychelles (74.0), Zambia (71.7) and Malawi at 68.5.
Meanwhile, Botswana scored 68.7 in participation in human rights, making it the country’s second lowest performing category and achieving a continental rank of number 8 in the continent. The category shows Botswana’s largest category deterioration since 2011 of 4.4 points and thus making it one of the then biggest deterioration on the continent.
“All three component sub categories shoes deteriorating performance even though they still show relatively high scores in 2014. Botswana ranks 19th in gender and it is this sub category that shows the largest decline in this category due to a noticeable deterioration within the measures of women in senior public positions. Women in the judiciary, women in politics as well as to a lesser extent in legislation on violence against women,” the reports added.
The human development category is the only one to show both improvement and overall performance in all the underlying sub categories. The country’s best categories are seen in health and Education measures. However a cause for concern was highlighted on the Education system quality which shows a deterioration of slightly above 10 points.
The country has also ranked in the top ten countries of Africa in terms of every underlying sub category of the sustainable Economic opportunity albeit with a less positive story.
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.