Member of Parliament for Gaborone Bonnington South, Ndaba Gaolathe
Member of Parliament for Gaborone Bonnington South, Ndaba Gaolathe has met Bank of Botswana Governor Linah Mohohlo and Minister of Finance and Development Planning Kenneth Matambo with the view of cajoling them to assist in navigating the ensuing liquidity crisis in Botswana’s banking system.
Gaolathe met Mohohlo and Matambo following the urgent motion that he noticed on the 23rd of March with the Speaker of Parliament, urging parliament to assist navigate the ensuing liquidity crisis in Botswana’s banking system.
Gaolathe told this publication that although the matter was delicate, it was vital for it to be raised in Parliament, “The delicacy of the subject derives from the complex nature of the Bank of Botswana and its mandate; and what made the subject exceptionally vital is based on the reality that failure to inject adequate liquidity in the banking system could compromise recovery of the Botswana economy or even lead to business failures and retrenchments that could subsequently become systemic,” he said.
Speaker of Parliament, Gladys Kokorwe summoned Gaolathe to her office following his intention to notice a motion on urgent basis whereupon she did the same with the Minister of Finance, Matambo. The Minister in turn roped in the Governor of the Bank of Botswana and her two deputies to the meeting to discuss if there were merits in pursuing the motion on urgent basis as was being proposed, and to which proposal the Speaker had already agreed.
Matambo proposed during the meeting that he be accorded time to mobilize his officials and monetary authorities (Bank of Botswana) to provide the all-party caucus with a full professional appraisal of the liquidity situation in Botswana. Matambo argued that it was necessary to provide Members of Parliament with a factual account on a basis on which they could nourish the debate, once the motion was brought to the floor.
Following the meeting, Bank of Botswana issued a statement, in which they announced a decision to alleviate the austere liquidity situation. According to the Statement, the bank acted to reduce the primary reserve requirement from 10% to 5%.
The Bank calculations and predictions were to the effect that about P2 billion would be added to the system and would hopefully add to loanable funds which could be utilized for productive activity and in turn promote economic expansion and employment creation.
“The decision by the Bank of Botswana to act on this matter is commendable, and whether or not this is a decision made in response to the pressure applied by the proposed motion or not should not be of consequence,” Gaolathe said.
Gaolathe said it was bad governance practice to tell experts what they should or should not do but noted that parliament’s role is to provide the big picture leadership. He said the spirit of the intended motion was not to tell the Bank of Botswana what to do in the face of the ensuing liquidity crisis.
“The intention had been to respond to a fact that is clear for all to see. You do not need to read statistics or craft mathematical equations to observe that there has been no money in the system to fund viable ventures, or expansions of businesses,” he observed. “This could compromise the economy’s recovery and worsen the already apparent spate of retrenchments.”
Gaolathe, a former Botswana Institution for Policy Development Analysis (BIDPA) think tank, said parliament has for a long time neglected its role of providing oversight on the executive or on statutory institutions. Gaolathe is of the view that the oversight role, along with an approach to “guide” and “nudge” in the right direction should be a duty that Parliament perceives in serious light and accord to it as much or almost as much regard as that of legislation.
Gaolathe, noted that Parliament had not been involved in guiding Monetary policy in Botswana, though monetary policy remains a vital cog in the management of any economy, with the potential to influence economic growth, unemployment, prices, financial stability and overall health of an economy.
“In fact, poor management of monetary policy could choke an entire economy, create unsustainable bubbles in some sectors, cause the collapse of enterprises and fuel unemployment,” he said.
The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Secretary General contended that evidence of the dire consequences as an outcome of poor monetary policy decisions abounds around the world and throughout history, “For instance, one of the gravest economic recessions of the United States, the Great Depression of the 1930s is firmly associated with failure to timeously deal with austere liquidity circumstances in the banking system. This has been the case even in recent times, across the world,” he observed.
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.