The Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Shaw Kgathi
The Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Shaw Kgathi who was previously a Minister in the Office of the President, refused to meet the government appointed taskforce on the Bobirwa chieftaincy dispute, the Weekend Post has established.
Former Speaker of the National Assembly, Ray Molomo, Dr Rodgers Molefhi, Kingsley Sebele and Shaw Mokgadi who were members of the said taskforce that was set up to establish the origins of Bobirwa chieftainship had summoned Kgathi among other notable Babirwa to make submissions.
The taskforce started off with an indoor investigation involving the traditional leadership in the Bobirwa region to establish the tribe's royal lineage. Members of the community were scheduled to make submissions indoors later and while the members of the public were to follow in a Kgotla meeting.
Minister Kgathi who is a nephew to the embattled and outgoing Chief, Mmirwa Malema, was scheduled to make his submissions as a credible national leader, and as family. Kgathi however refused to meet the taskforce, defying the Bangwato regent, Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane‘s order and advice to the Bobirwa community to be cooperative and submissive to the taskforce for its smooth and effective operations.
Sources at the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development say they have since learnt that Kgathi was frustrated by a succeeding campaign to oust his uncle, Kgosi Malema hence his efforts to frustrate the efforts of the taskforce.
The taskforce was commissioned following Mmirwa Malema’s revelation that he would retire this year and would hand over to one of his children. Adam Masilo was recommended as the rightful chief of Bobirwa as it was discovered that Malema himself, became chief through an election that was held in 1972.
In an interview with Weekend Post, the taskforce leader, Molomo said Kgathi may have declined due to political reasons, “Maybe he didn’t want to be involved,” he said when quizzed over why he did not meet with them when they requested his audience.
This publication has established that Masilo may however not take over from Malema following an illness understood to be a minor stroke. Sources say he is highly likely to appoint a regent to put the tribe’s worries at rest.
The Task Force was, among other things, instructed by the Ministry of Local Government to determine the lineage of Babirwa and also to determine if that Bogosi was hereditary or not. Another of the terms of reference had asked the Task Force to determine who the rightful “Moemela Kgosi yo Mogolwane ”(Senior Tribal Representative) was in Bobirwa.
According to the reports, all evidence given by a varied number of people from across Bobirwa villages and settlements, including Bobonong, Tsetsebjwe, Molaladau, Gobojango and Semolale showed that the Bobirwa chieftainship has always been hereditary.
The Task Force was able to determine that among the three claimants [Malema, Masilo and Serumola] the descendant of Sekoba was the most senior. Sekoba is a past Bobirwa Kgosi who ruled before the current confusion ensued. And, as it turns out, Masilo is the direct descendant of Sekoba, the Report revealed.
The Task Force was further instructed by government to determine how Kgosi Mmirwa Malema, who currently sits as the Senior Tribal Representative, had ascended the throne to start with. The Task Force discovered that Malema was voted as part of an election that was held in 1972.
“The last Mongwato, Oampona Ngwato, resigned in 1972 and there was an election between Mmirwa Malema, Batshedi Kgathi and Gaonyatse Randome. Malema won the election,” reads the report.
Additionally, the Task Force also discovered that all the three claimants to the throne were indeed related, but that Masilo was incontestably the most senior. Given its clear discomfort in making public the findings of the Molomo Task Force, it remains to be seen what steps the government will take since Malema’s contract officially elapsed in May this year, though he has not been replaced as of yet. Efforts To get a comment from the Minister hit a snag as he is currently outside the country. His secretary said he will only be in the office on the 29th of this Month.
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.