Parliament cleans out pro-Nasha group?
Nasha’s alleged supporters transferred, fired
The office of the President and the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) have dropped the hammer on a number of Parliamentary staff allegedly as a mission to clean up the Parliament offices of supporters of the immediate former Speaker of the house, Dr Margaret Nasha.
The Parliament management has denied that the staff movement was politically motivated. Weekend Post established this week that the exercise which has been ongoing for the past few weeks has seen senior officers transferred to other departments on short notice and one dismissed from work.
As of Thursday this week, the deputy clerk had been removed from office after her contract was not renewed. The Senior Manager Corporate Services had also been removed by way of transfer to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development as District Commissioner.
Further, two secretaries, secretary to the Clerk and that of the Speaker were moved from Parliament to other government departments. Their transfers were urgent. One was moved to the Ministry of Agriculture and the other to the Ministry of labour and Home Affairs.
“The transfer of the Manager was urgent and immediate. However she pleaded with the authorities to keep her in Gaborone for a while. She was therefore moved to a different Government office in Gaborone,” an insider told this publication.
The alleged conspiracy theory is that some of the staff members are “Nasha’s people” and therefore were pushed out together with their ideologies of supporting the independence of Parliament. Nasha attempted to make Parliament more independent from the DPSM and OP during her tenure that ended abruptly last year when she was ousted by majority vote of the ruling party Members of Parliament after the 2014 general elections. She was replaced by Gladys Kokorwe after the 2014 general elections.
Nasha had wanted to table bills before Parliament that would reduce the President’s powers and make Parliament independent. In the exercise she naturally worked with Parliament staff including secretaries, clerks and the Parliament legal counsel and now sources close to the top alleges that one of the quick decisions taken by the top echelon of the administration was to prevent any of its officials taking decisions that could realise Nasha’s dream during the life of the eleventh Parliament.
“One of the victims of this exercise was the former Parliament Counsel whose secondment from the Attorney General Chambers was terminated,” the source further explained.
However the Principal Public Relations officer, Karabo Marumo maintains that the transfers were never forced and have nothing to do with the end of tenure of the former Speaker’s, Margaret Nasha.
“The immediate former Parliamentary Legal Counsel’s secondment was never cancelled, rather he was redeployed back to the Attorney General’s Chambers on the 30th November, 2014 as it is practice across the Public Service,” Marumo responded to this week’s questionnaire.
The General elections were held in October, 2014 and the new Speaker was elected in a November, 2014.
Nonetheless, Marumo contends that the transfers of all the staff were “with immediate effect to address the exigencies of the Public Service.”
The Parliament’s Public Relations office is also said to be very vulnerable and could be scattered to other government Ministries to “address the exigencies” in the public service as well.
“The Secretaries were transferred because they were suspected to have leaked confidential information to Nasha and the Principal Public Relations Officer is vilified because he is Nasha’s homeboy,” another insider spilled the beans on the alleged Parliament drama.
While Parliament staff morale is said to have hit rock bottom, questions are being asked as to who could be behind all this confusion.
“Of all the staff members, who have access to the Speaker’s Office, who can tell who Nasha’s people are? If the Director of DPSM wants to make transfers who advices him because he does not work in Parliament? The unfortunate thing is that the rest of the employees are never given the chance to speak for themselves,” another source rhetorically chipped in.
The source further stated that it was an open secret that “all those who ever worked closely with Nasha are likely to be cleaned. Parliament staff is not happy because they are vilified. They are constantly threatened with transfers or that their contracts would not be renewed.”
Some of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party Members of Parliament in particular who have adjudged the staff to have fouled their party’s interest are said to have publicly told the staff that they would be cleaned out.
You may like
Batswana owe banks P79 billion
The Minister of Finance, Peggy Serame, has disclosed that the total bank credit extended by commercial banks amounted to P79 billion, out of which P53.4 billion was retail loans and advances to households.
Parliament was informed this week in response to a question by the Member of Parliament for Selibe-Phikwe West and Leader of Opposition (LOO), Dithapelo Keorapetse.
“As at 31st December 2022, loans and other advances extended to households by banks constituted the largest share of bank-lending at 67.6 percent, the majority of which was unsecured personal loans at P36.2 billion (67.8%),” said Serame.
She added that the total household Debt to GDP ratio was 21.9%, while the total private business credit to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio was 10.8%.
On the other hand, it was noted that outstanding mortgage loans extended to households were P14.2 billion (26.6% of household debt) or 5.9% of GDP. Overall, total bank credit as a ratio of GDP stood at 32.7 percent.
It was acknowledged that there are 10 deposit-taking banks in the country, that is, nine commercial banks and one statutory bank (Botswana Savings Bank). This statistics excludes the National Development Bank (NDB), which is a development finance institution. The nine commercial banks include an indigenous bank, Botswana Building Society Bank Limited (BBSBL), which was issued with a commercial banking license by the Bank of Botswana in October 2022.
Still in December 2022, it was recorded that there were 376 non-bank lenders in Botswana consisting of 246 micro lenders, 66 finance companies, three leasing companies and 61 registered pawnshops.
According to Minister Serame, the loan book value representing the principal amount lent by these entities to individuals and to small, medium and micro Enterprises (SMMEs) is collated by the Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA), which at 31st of December 2021, the loan book values were P5.6 billion for micro lenders, P1.6 billion for finance companies, P225 million for leasing companies and P14 million for pawnshops.
Government policy is that price control is not effective or desirable, and, as such, interest rates are not regulated. Non-regulation may, among other things, result in an increase in non-interest rate fees and commissions, reduced price transparency, lower credit supply and loan approval rates.
“It is important to note that, from a macroeconomic perspective, household debt in Botswana is neither a pandemic nor considered to be excessive. Indeed, the Bank of Botswana’s periodic and continuous assessments of household debt, including through the annual Household Indebtedness Surveys, suggest moderate household indebtedness and therefore, is of no apparent risk to the safety and soundness of the domestic financial system,” said Serame.
She also alluded this assessment is validated by the recently concluded Financial Sector Assessment Programme (FSAP) on Botswana undertaken by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group.
Keorapetse however rebuked the issue of debt not being excessive and noted the Minister thinks it’s fine for Batswana to be debt burdened in a way that their debts diminishes their quality of life.
“A significant portion of Batswana’s salaries go to servicing debts and because she doesn’t see this as a challenge, there can never be any intervention from her side. There is no price regulation on interest, which can go up to 30%+ a month. Since President Masisi ascended to the high office in 2018, 2 384 Batswana were put in prison for failure to pay debts, that is 467 Batswana every year. So, for us, debt problems are big and concerning,” said Keorapetse.
He said they are worried because Batswana are drowning in debts because of relative poverty, slave wages and unemployment/underemployment, they buy basic needs and services with borrowed money and noted predatory and unethical lending has become a major problem in Botswana’s financial sector.
How to fleece P14 million from Chinese investor
The modus operandi of how five men allegedly swindled a Chinese national P14 million last week continue to unravel. Highly placed sources from the intelligence, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) revealed to this publication how the whole scam was concocted.
This content is locked
Login To Unlock The Content!
ENVIRONMENT ISSUES: Masisi asks Virginia for help
President Mokgweetsi Masisi says the issue of sustainable natural resources management has always been an important part of Botswana’s national development agenda.
Masisi was speaking this week on the occasion of a public lecture at Virginia Polytechnic, under theme, “Merging Conservation, Democracy and Sustainable Development in Botswana.”
Botswana, according to Masisi, holds the view that the environment is fragile and as such, must be managed and given the utmost protection to enable the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“It is necessary that we engage one another in the interchange of ideas, perspectives, visualizations of social futures, and considerations of possible strategies and courses of action for sustainable development,” said Masisi.
On the other hand, dialogue, in the form of rigorous democratic discourse among stakeholders presents another basis for reconfiguring how people act on their environments, with a view to conserving its resources that “we require to meet our socio-economic development needs on a sustainable basis,” Masisi told attendees at the public lecture.
He said government has a keen interest in understanding the epidemiology and ecology of diseases of both domestic and wild animals. “It is our national interest to forestall the dire consequences of animal diseases on our communities livelihoods.”
President Masisi hoped that both Botswana and Virginia could help each other in curbing contagious diseases of wildlife.
“We believe that Virginia Tech can reasonably share their experiences, research insights and advances in veterinary sciences and medicines, to help us build capacity for knowledge creation and improve efforts of managing and containing contagious diseases of wildlife. The ground is fertile for entering into such a mutually beneficial partnership.”
When explaining environmental issues further, Masisi said efforts of conservation and sustainable development might at times be hampered by the emergence and recurrence of diseases when pathogens mutate and take host of more than one species.
“Water pollution also kills aquatic life, such as fish, which is one of humanity’s much deserved sources of food. In this regard, One Health Approach imposes ecological responsibility upon all of us to care for the environment and the bio-diversity therein.”
He said the production and use of animal vaccines is an important space and tool for conservation, particularly to deal with trans-border animal diseases.
“In Botswana, our 43-year-old national premier pharmaceutical institution called Botswana Vaccine Institute has played its role well. Through its successful production of highly efficacious Foot and Mouth vaccines, the country is able to contain this disease as well as supply vaccines to other countries in the sub-region.:
He has however declared that there is need for more help, saying “We need more capacitation to deal with and contain other types of microbial that affect both animals and human health.”