Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) has parted ways with over 40 employees, including three in executive position as the new Managing Director, Bashi Gaetsaloe start to implement his strategy. BDC Corporate Communication Manager Boitshwarelo Lebang informed this publication that 40 employees have parted ways with BDC, but contending that it was in an amicable way.
“Upon approval of the new Structure aligned to the new BDC business model, all vacancies in the new structure were advertised internally and were open to all staff members, “ she said, “Those that were not filled were subsequently advertised externally.”
BDC has advertised three executive management positions namely; Chief Finance Officer, Chief Operations Officer, and Chief Risk Officer while the other seven post advertised were not in executive management positions. “All employees, save for those in the service cadre – were affected by the Re-Modelling Programme,” said Lebang.
Gaetsaloe has already made his intentions clear when he addressed members of the press following his appointment at the government’s investment arm, announcing that he is going to make major shift changes in the staff of BDC and will keep only those who will fit into his strategy. Those considered surplus to requirement will be shown the door in favour of suitable candidates.
It was inevitable that majority of senior management employees who going to be relieved of their duties while few where retained. BDC previously had eleven key port- folios for senior management which are, General Manager-Management services, General Manager-Business Development, Chief Financial Accountant, Manager-Marketing and Research, Management Accountant, Chief Information Officer, Manager-Legal Division, Group Internal Auditor, Manager-Property Development, Manager- Agribusiness, and Manager-Corporate Communications and Public Relations.
However, as part of the new MD’s strategy some portfolios were restructured resulting in the creation of completely new portfolios with different roles and duties. Gaetsaloe revealed earlier upon his arrival that the new BDC model will come with a new requirement of skills and his intention is to build a new BDC operating under an appropriate and relevant mandate and business model with the right set of skills.
Gaetsaloe pointed out that key skills that they will be looking for are ‘tested business acumen and business analysis skills.’
“BDC’s new Corporate Strategy envisions a BDC that is more flexible, more innovative and that will invest in commercially viable projects in Botswana and internationally. As such new posts have been created to drive BDC’s mandate,” said Lebang, who is now fully appointed as the Corporation’s chief spokesperson on permanent basis after acting in the position for a period of time.
Gaetsaloe had pointed out that the re-positioning of the BDC will involve dismantling existing foundations to build the new one. The three year strategy will start with Phase one in three to six months where the corporation will restructure itself which will lead to retrenchment of some employees.
“There are some people who are not going to fit in the new BDC so we are going to be forced to retrench some of them,” he told the press in April. This phase will result in overhaul of key processes such as risk management and governance models.
In the last phase, the BDC is expected to expand randomly regionally and internationally. It is the view of Gaetsaloe that BDC can expand its business and boost it revenue.
Since 2011 the corporation has been in everyone’s lips, the last shock being in 2013 when a P500 million Glass Manufacturing Project was liquidated. Botswana has lost one key front on the battle to diversify the economy from both diamonds and government as per the Economic Diversification Drive (EDD) strategy of 2010.
Gaetsaloe inherited an entity which has been marred by controversy and corruption scandals involving the past senior management and the Board of Directors. The corruption scandal at BDC has resulted in several changes including the hauling out of the whole board and resignation of Managing Director Maria Nthebolan early last year.
Gaetsaloe told journalists that the corporation has made poor decisions and invested where it should not have and approved projects that were not viable. Over the years, the corporation has overlooked investing in commercially viable institutions. Gaetsaloe said that BDC is willing to invest in other areas such as solar energy since Botswana is a prime area for solar power generation.
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.