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Nominated Cllrs: Tsogwane wields power for now


Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Slumber Tsogwane is the most sought after Cabinet minister for now. The reason is plain; he is by law and purpose expected to announce the final list of nominated councillors, usually the last hope of redemption for election losers and political enthusiasts.


The minister is expected to announce appointment of atleast 133 specially nominated councillors. It is expected that majority of Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) who lost in the recent general elections will make the cut.
Tsogwane told Weekend Post recently that he is still waiting for recommended names of nominees to announce the final list of those who made it to the various councils around the country.


“Remember this is a process which involves a lot of people including all political parties which participated in the just ended elections,” said Tsogwane.


Tsogwane says the list will be submitted by District Commissioners throughout the country after consulting with political parties and Dikgosi in their respective areas.


Special nomination of councillors has been a debatable matter over the years, with opposition politician questioning its purpose and fairness. In the last general elections (2009), of the 133 councillors nominated by the then Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Lebonaamang Mokalake only seven belonged to the opposition while the rest were BDP members and predominately preceding elections losers.


Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Deputy President, Ndaba Gaolathe says their party has already met and submitted their wish list for specially nominated councillors.


However, a senior UDC member Abram Kesupile does not expect the nomination to yield better results for his party since there is no clear criteria used to nominate councillors. “At the moment the criteria used for selection and the final decision lies solely with the minister and based on what has happened in the past the opposition will get only few names nominated,” said the UDC deputy chairman.  


Among the nominated councillors in the last general elections who their names raised eyes bows were Thato Kwerepe who had lost 2008 party primary elections for Ngami constituency. Also nominated in 2009 were Cecilia Mlazie, wife of former Chobe MP, the late Duncan Mlazie and Gabriella Ridge, the wife of former Maun West MP Ronald Ridge. The system has always been condemned by opposition MPs as a way of bring back rejected individuals by the voters, therefore going against the wishes of the electorates.


Even in the past BDP heavy weights like former Vice President, Dr Ponatshego Kedikilwe have spoken against the practice. During the 9th parliament Kedikilwe tabled a motion in parliament calling for the system to be scrapped as it had diverted from its intended purpose and instead been turned into a patronage exercise aimed at rewarding BDP activists.


Weekend Post has it on good authority those party activists, especially those who worked hard during the campaigns and those who lost in the past general elections. BDP is also said to be working on a plan that will ensue that nomination of councillors will be used to neutralize opposition in councillors were BDP numbers fell short.  


Nominated Councillors have in the past helped the ruling party to balance power in Local Authorities. There are areas where the BDP was outnumbered by a small fraction and it used the dispensation to manipulate the scales.


After the October 24th election the ruling party has control North West District Council, Francistown City Council, Central District Council, Sowa Town, North West District Council, Chobe District Council, Southern District Council, and Lobatse Town Council among others. The UDC is expected to control Jwaneng Town Council, Gaborone City Council and South East District Council.  
 

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Government sitting on 4 400 vacant posts

14th September 2020
(DPSM) Director Goitseone Naledi Mosalakatane

Government is currently sitting on 4 400 vacant posts that remain unfilled in the civil service. This is notwithstanding the high unemployment rate in Botswana which has been exacerbated by the recent outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

Just before the burst of COVID-19, official data released by Statistics Botswana in January 2020, indicate that unemployment in Botswana has increased from 17.6 percent three years ago to 20.7 percent. “Unemployment rate went up by 3.1 percentage between the two periods, from 17.6 to 20.7 percent,” statistics point out.

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FNBB projects deeper 50 basis point cut for Q4 2020

14th September 2020
Steven Bogatsu

Leading commercial bank, First National Bank Botswana (FNBB), expects the central bank to sharpen its monetary policy knife and cut the Bank Rate twice in the last quarter of 2020.

The bank expects a 25 basis point (bps) in the beginning of the last quarter, which is next month, and another shed by the same bps in December, making a total of 50 bps cut in the last quarter.  According to the bank’s researchers, the central bank is now holding on to 4.25 percent for the time being pending for more informed data on the economic climate.

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Food suppliers give Gov’t headache – report

14th September 2020
Food suppliers give Gov’t headache

An audit of the accounts and records for the supply of food rations to the institutions in the Northern Region for the financial year-ended 31 March 2019 was carried out. According to Auditor General’s report and observations, there are weaknesses and shortcomings that were somehow addressed to the Accounting Officer for comments.

Auditor General, Pulane Letebele indicated on the report that, across all depots in the region that there had been instances where food items were short for periods ranging from 1 to 7 months in the institutions for a variety of reasons, including absence of regular contracts and supplier failures. The success of this programme is dependent on regular and reliable availability of the supplies to achieve its objective, the report said.

There would be instances where food items were returned from the feeding centers to the depots for reasons of spoilage or any other cause. In these cases, instances had been noted where these returns were not supported by any documentation, which could lead to these items being lost without trace.

The report further stressed that large quantities of various food items valued at over P772 thousand from different depots were damaged by rodents, and written off.Included in the write off were 13 538 (340ml) cartons of milk valued at P75 745. In this connection, the Auditor General says it is important that the warehouses be maintained to a standard where they would not be infested by rodents and other pests.

Still in the Northern region, the report noted that there is an outstanding matter relating to the supply of stewed steak (283×3.1kg cans) to the Maun depot which was allegedly defective. The steak had been supplied by Botswana Meat Commission to the depot in November 2016.

In March 2017 part of the consignment was reported to the supplier as defective, and was to be replaced. Even as there was no agreement reached between the parties regarding replacement, in 51 October 2018 the items in question were disposed of by destruction. This disposal represented a loss as the whole consignment had been paid for, according to the report.

“In my view, the loss resulted directly from failure by the depot managers to deal with the matter immediately upon receipt of the consignment and detection of the defects. Audit inspections during visits to Selibe Phikwe, Maun, Shakawe, Ghanzi and Francistown depots had raised a number of observations on points of detail related to the maintenance of records, reconciliations of stocks and related matters, which I drew to the attention of the Accounting Officer for comments,” Letebele said in her report.

In the Southern region, a scrutiny of the records for the control of stocks of food items in the Southern Region had indicated intermittent shortages of the various items, principally Tsabana, Malutu, Sunflower Oil and Milk which was mainly due to absence of subsisting contracts for the supply of these items.

“The contract for the supply of Tsabana to all depots expired in September 2018 and was not replaced by a substantive contract. The supplier contracts for these stocks should be so managed that the expiry of one contract is immediately followed by the commencement of the next.”

Suppliers who had been contracted to supply foodstuffs had failed to do so and no timely action had been taken to redress the situation to ensure continuity of supply of the food items, the report noted.

In one case, the report highlighted that the supplier was to manufacture and supply 1 136 metric tonnes of Malutu for a 4-months period from March 2019 to June 2019, but had been unable to honour the obligation. The situation was relieved by inter-depot transfers, at additional cost in transportation and subsistence expenses.

In another case, the contract was for the supply of Sunflower Oil to Mabutsane, where the supplier had also failed to deliver. Examination of the Molepolole depot Food Issues Register had indicated a number of instances where food items consigned to the various feeding centres had been returned for a variety of reasons, including food item available; no storage space; and in other cases the whole consignments were returned, and reasons not stated.

This is an indication of lack of proper management and monitoring of the affairs of the depot, which could result in losses from frequent movements of the food items concerned.The maintenance of accounting records in the region, typically in Letlhakeng, Tsabong, and Mabutsane was less than satisfactory, according to Auditor General’s report.

In these depots a number of instances had been noted where receipts and issues had not been recorded over long periods, resulting in incorrect balances reflected in the accounting records. This is a serious weakness which could lead to or result in losses without trace or detection, and is a contravention of Supplies Regulations and Procedures, Letebele said.

Similarly, consignments of a total of 892 bags of Malutu and 3 bags of beans from Tsabong depot to different feeding centres had not been received in those centres, and are considered lost. These are also not reflected in the Statement of Losses in the Annual Statements of Accounts for the same periods.

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