In a case that could demonstrate why Botswana needs whistle-blower protection law, the outgoing permanent secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Khumo Matlhare effectively leaked a letter alleging maladministration and corruption by one of his senior officers. He availed the said letter, authored by the junior to the attention of the Minister, to the concerned senior officer.
As if this was not enough, our sources at the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development have informed is publication that the officer based in the Central District, has been charged with misconduct and accessing confidential information.
She is expected to go through disciplinary proceedings this month and faces three counts. The permanent secretary is said to be incensed by the fact that the junior officer did not route her letter through the same officer she is complaining about.
In addition, the permanent secretary is said to have instructed the Botswana Police and some members of the Central Investigation Department (CID) to search the office of the officer, confiscate her memory sticks, CPU, laptops and other gadgets. It is understood that this was done to ensure that she does not have access to any information that could be deemed confidential. She was accused of accessing information from her supervisor’s office.
The policer officers who were instructed to seize property from the officer were under the impression that the instruction had come from the Office of the President only to learn that it was the permanent secretary who arranged the heist.
The officers who were not armed with a search warrant were meant to wait for a letter authorising the confiscation of the computers from the permanent secretary, but the letter was never faxed and they ended up leaving the office without confiscating any property. They were under the instruction to collect the computers and keep them in the office of the District Commissioner (DC).
On follow up, this publication gathered from a CID officer in Palapye that he heard that the three officers who were sent to the Local Government officer were actually very senior. There was an Assistant Superintendent, an Inspector and a Sergeant, all three from the Serowe CID department.
The Minister, Mr Slumber Tsogwane was given the letter of complaint and he passed it on to his permanent secretary, Matlhare for action. According to information reaching this publication, the officer has since been instructed to leave her work station with immediate effect. “But we learn that she is fighting back through her attorneys because she sees this as harassment,” said an officer at Local Government.
In the original letter in which she was alleging acts of corruption and maladministration, the officer who works in the office of the District Commissioner in the Central District had filed a chilling letter detailing what she described as ‘maladministration’ in the Central District at the District Commissioner’s office. The letter is currently making life very uncomfortable in the office of the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Tsogwane.
“Firstly there are several issues which I am alive to which border on maladministration that I have stood against, which without doubt contributed to this transfer; therefore transferring me is a desperate attempt to silence me. This maladministration practices will be elaborated at a later stage,” she wrote.
After stating her case against a forced transfer, the officer went on to elaborate on a number of instances where she was instructed to make unprocedural payments and refused.
“I was requested by my supervisor (names withheld) to write a letter to Supplies Office to request for direct appointment of a company (name withheld) to clear the District Commissioner’s official residence contrary to financial instruction. I did not accede to the instruction as I was not comfortable with being involved in malpractices and this did not sit well with my boss,” she wrote.
A number of local government officers are complaining about acts of maladministration and alleged corruption in the Ministry. They allege that when they refuse to be party to the actions they are victimised with unjust transfers and disciplinary actions.
Another piece of information leaked to this publication by a disgruntled Ministry of Local Government officer this week suggests that at one point last year she was made to pay P12 000 for 12 ordinary diaries and when she complained to the supplier about the price her supervisor told her that she has negotiated the price from P12000 to P7000. She further indicated that Morupule Colliery Mine once donated P5000 to the Public Service Choral Choir and the money never went to the choir because it was used to buy alcohol for a party organised by her supervisor.
Other officers who spoke anonymously to this publication shared their frustrations on transfers indicating that there are officers who are never transferred. “They buy their way to stay at one station by being used to approve shady deals. Some of them benefit immensely because they are transferred to their preferred stations on promotion and a year letter they are transferred back to their favourite stations,” one of the employees alleged.
Khumo Matlhare is expected to pass the baton to the next person because he has been shifted from the position of permanent secretary to that of coordinator effective May 1st.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.