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Statistics Botswana exposed

Statistician General Anna Majelantle

Statistician General Anna Majelantle has presided over the alleged inappropriate appointments of some senior employees at Statistics Botswana, overriding the recommendations of the human resource office to hire her friends ahead of qualified and deserving candidates, Weekend Post can reveal.

Documents passed to this publication reveal acts of maladministration in regard to appointments to key senior positions at Statistics Botswana. Central to these appointments was the appointment of Ms Phetogo Zambezi who was appointed the Director- Standards, Methods and Information System (DSMIS) at Statistics Botswana despite failing two interviews for lower ranked positions.

In the first instance, Zambezi failed the interview in which she sought to be appointed Principal Statistician (Environment and Agriculture). Documentation suggests that she was appointed to the position of Director – Standards, Methods and Information System (DSMIS) at the behest of Statistician General on a condition she goes through a support and developmental programme. Majelantle devised a program intended to help Zambezi to perform to expectation in her new role of DSMIS. She was initially given three months’ probation on her new position.

Following Zambezi’s unsatisfactory performance in the new role during the probation period, her supervisor recommended that her probation be extended by a further three months, but the Statistician General overruled the supervisor and affirmed that Zambezi’s performance was satisfactory. She personally invited the Board Human Resource Committee to approve the confirmation of Zambezi to the position of Director Standards, Methods, and Information Systems against the advice of Zambezi’s supervisor.

The Human Resource Board committee, comprising of Emang Maphanyane, Dr Tebogo Seleka and Daniel Matsatsing expressed in their comments their discontent with Zambezi’s appointment. Maphanyane wrote that it is not clear what else Zambezi has done to achieve better than satisfactory.

Dr Seleka noted that management needs to work more on interpreting performance levels, contending that a grading of “satisfactory” appears too low for a high position such as “director.”

Following her appointment, Zambezi played a role in the controversial appointment of other key employees in the organisation. In one scenario, two candidates who did not meet the requirements and were not recommended for interviews as advertised internally were appointed ahead of those who were shortlisted for an interview.

On the 28th of April 2014, Human Resource and Administration Manager, Jabulani Dick wrote a letter to the Director of Corporate Services seeking advice, after Director of Standards, Methods, and Information Systems insisted that a certain Tirelo Ipopeng and Boitumelo Gaongalelwe be invited for interviews despite the two not meeting the desired requirements and were not recommended for the said interviews. It has transpired that Boitumelo Gaongalelwe was later appointed the Senior Statistician – Field and Regional Coordination (North) ahead of the five candidates who were the only ones recommended for the interview leading to the appointment.

According to other notes passed to this publication, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) is questioning the state of affairs at Statistics Botswana following a tip off relating to the dealings of the organization. Suspicions are that a number of appointments were improper.

The notes conclude that the appointment of Director – Standards, Methods and Information System was inappropriate in the sense that the supervisor to the person who was ultimately appointed to the position recommended that her probation period be extended to six months but the Statistician General refused and recommended to Statistics Botswana Human Resource Committee to approve her confirmation and she was confirmed. “The appointment was not properly done because the officer failed the interview twice and was not interviewed after the re-advertisement,” reads an extract from the notes.

The paper notes also reveal inappropriateness in relation to the appointment of Principal Statistician (Education and Health) because a person with an irrelevant qualification was appointed without interviews being conducted for prospective candidates.

Statistics Botswana is accused of manipulating the hiring process in order to create jobs for preferred candidates. At the time of re-advertisement of the post of Principal Statistician (Education and Health), new educational requirements were added – post graduate degree in Health Information Management/ Educational Planning and Management with statistics.

The statement this publication is privy to reveals that the appointments were based on personal relationships.

Another appointment which raised eye brows was that of Principal Human Resource Officer (Recruitment and Staff Welfare) in which Mpho Moeti was appointed despite her not being shortlisted and recommended for the interview. Moeti was not recommended because her experience was not relevant to the job she applied for.

It has also transpired that Statistics Botswana has been implicated in financial mismanagement including missing funds which could not be accounted for. The organisation issued a press statement last week refuting media reports to that effect, but evidence in the form of a Bank Statement from one of the commercial banks shows that an amount around P1.4 million was cashed over the counter immediately following its electronic transfer into the organisation’s account.  

Minister Matambo expressed shock at the news this week, saying it is a matter which seriously needs to be looked into. Meanwhile the Member of Parliament for Goodhope-Mabule, James Mathokgwane has promised to bring forward a motion in Parliament requesting for an investigation into the affairs of Statistics Botswana. Mathokgwane says he has ample evidence which he hopes will compel government to institute an investigation.

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Botswana economic recovery depends on successful vaccine rollout – BoB

5th May 2021

Bank of Botswana (BoB) has indicated that the rebounding of domestic economy will depended on successful vaccine roll-out which could help business activity to return to its post pandemic days.

Projections by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggest a rebound in economic growth for Botswana in 2021.

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Inside the UB-BDF fighter Jet tragedy report

5th May 2021

Despite being hailed and still regarded as a hero who saved many lives through his decision to crash the BF5 fighter Jet around the national stadium on the eve of the 2018 BDF day, the deceased Pilot, Major Clifford Manyuni’s actions were treated as a letdown within the army, especially by his master-Commander of the Air Arm, Major General Innocent Phatshwane.

Manyuni’s master says he was utterly disappointed with his Pilot’s failure to perform “simple basics.”

Manyuni was regarded as a hero through social media for his ‘colourful exploits’, but Phatshwane who recently retired as the Air Arm Commander, revealed to WeekendPost in an exclusive interview that while he appreciated Batswana’s outpouring of emotions and love towards his departed Pilot, he strongly felt let down by the Pilot “because there was nothing wrong with that Fighter Jet and Manyuni did not report any problem either.”

The deceased Pilot, Manyuni was known within the army to be an upwardly mobile aviator and in particular an air power proponent.

“I was hurt and very disappointed because nobody knows why he decided to crash a well-functioning aircraft,” stated Phatshwane – a veteran pilot with over 40 years of experience under the Air Arm unit.

Phatshwane went on to express shock at Manyuni’s flagrant disregard for the rules of the game, “they were in a formation if you recall well and the guiding principle in that set-up is that if you have any problem, you immediately report to the formation team leader and signal a break-away from the formation.

Manyuni disregarded all these basic rules, not even to report to anybody-team members or even the barracks,” revealed Phatshwane when engaged on the much-publicised 2018 incident that took the life of a Rakops-born Pilot of BDF Class 27 of 2003/2004.

Phatshwane quickly dismisses the suggestion that perhaps the Fighter Jet could have been faulty, “the reasons why I am saying I was disappointed is that the aircraft was also in good condition and well-functioning. It was in our best interest to know what could have caused the accident and we launched a wholesale post-accident investigation which revealed that everything in the structure was working perfectly well,” he stated.

Phatshwane continued: “we thoroughly assessed the condition of the engine of the aircraft as well as the safety measures-especially the ejection seat which is the Pilot’s best safety companion under any life-threatening situation. All were perfectly functional.”

In aircrafts, an ejection seat or ejector seat is a system designed to rescue the pilot or other crew of an aircraft in an emergency. The seat is propelled out of the aircraft by an explosive charge or rocket motor, carrying the pilot with it.”

Manyuni knew about all these safety measures and had checked their functionality prior to using the Aircraft as is routine practice, according to Phatshwane. Could Manyuni have been going through emotional distress of some sort? Phatshwane says while he may never really know about that, what he can say is that there are laid out procedures in aviation guiding instances of emotional instability which Manyuni also knew about.

“We don’t allow or condone emotionally or physically unfit Pilots to take charge of an aircraft. If a Pilot feels unfit, he reports and requests to be excused. We will subsequently shift the task to another Pilot. We do this because we know the risks of leaving an unfit pilot to fly an aircraft,” says Phatshwane.

Despite having happened a day before the BDF day, Phatshwane says the BDF day mishap did not really affect the BDF day preparations, although it emotionally distracted Manyuni’s flying formation squad a bit, having seen him break away from the formation to the stone-hearted ground. The team soldiered on and immediately reported back to base for advice and way forward, according to Phatshwane.

Sharing the details of the ordeal and his Pilots’ experiences, Phatshwane said: “they (pilots) were in distress, who wouldn’t? They were especially hurt by the deceased‘s lack of communication. I immediately called a chaplain to attend to their emotional needs.

He came and offered them counselling. But soldiers don’t cry, they immediately accepted that a warrior has been called, wiped off their tears and instantly reported back for duty. I am sure you saw them performing miracles the following day at the BDF day as arranged.”

Despite the matter having attracted wide publicity, the BDF kept the crash details a distance away from the public, a move that Phatshwane felt was not in the best interest of the army and public.

“The incident attracted overwhelming public attention. Not only that, there were some misconceptions attached to the incident and I thought it was upon the BDF to come out and address those for the benefit of the public and army’s reputation,” he said.

One disturbing narrative linked to the incident was that Manyuni heroically wrestled the ‘faulty’ aircraft away from the endangered public to die alone, a narrative which Phatshwane disputes as just people’s imaginations. “Like I said the Aircraft was functioning perfectly,” he responded.

A close family member has hinted that the traumatised Manyuni family, at the time of their son’s tragedy, strongly accused the BDF ‘of killing their son’. Phatshwane admits to this development, emphasising that “Manyuni’s mother was visibly and understandably in inconsolable pain when she uttered those words”.

Phatshwane was the one who had to travel to Rakops through the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) aircraft to deliver the sad news to the family but says he found the family already in the know, through social media. At the time of his death, Manyuni was survived by both parents, two brothers, a sister, fiancée and one child. He was buried in Rakops in an emotionally-charged burial. Like his remains, the BDF fighter jets have been permanently rested.

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Uphill battle in Khama’s quest to charge Hubona

5th May 2021

A matter in which former President Lt Gen Ian Khama had brought before Broadhurst Police Station in Gaborone, requesting the State to charge Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) lead investigator, Jako Hubona and others with perjury has been committed to Headquarters because it involves “elders.” 

Broadhurst Police Station Commander, Obusitswe Lokae, told this publication this week that the case in its nature is high profile so the matter has been allocated to his Officer Commanding No.3 District who then reported to the Divisional Commander who then sort to commit it to Police Headquarters.

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