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.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.