Auditor General’s report for the financial year ended 31 March 2019 indicates that grants paid under Women Economic Empowerment programmes go to waste. The programme’s core objective is to promote women economic empowerment, alleviate poverty and create employment through small-scale business enterprises.
When carrying out an audit of payments of grants to beneficiaries under the programme to establish whether the objective of the programme was being achieved and the terms and conditions of those grants were, Auditor General Pulane Letebele’s key findings pointed to non-compliance with applicable requirements across regions.
Out of the 1048 projects funded at a cost of over P152 million, in the period from November 2015 to November 2017, 155 projects valued at over P21 million had collapsed before graduation, while 56 projects valued at P6 million were struggling to survive.
According to the report, the main areas of non-compliance were that in the event that the beneficiary abandons a project or shows lack of commitment to the project before 5 years, the Ministry will repossess all the equipment and other assets financed by government.
The report further says this requirement was not observed in that there was no follow-up for the recoupment of assets whose values had not been ascertained. In the same report, the examples of assets for failed projects include gym equipment, toilet paper producing machine, peanut butter machine, chicken cages as well as biltong machines.
Further, guidelines require funding to be disbursed to beneficiaries in phases according to the implementation plan. However, instances had been noted where payments had been made in full at the initial stage.
In these cases, without proper monitoring, Auditor General’s report stressed that there is the possibility of grants being misapplied for other purposes. The beneficiaries were required to prepare proper books of accounts and furnish the department, 30 days after utilization of the initial funding and thereafter monthly progress reports. However, in all the 67 files sampled, accounts had not been submitted leaving the department without any form of checking projects’ progress.
Auditor General underlined that the project teams across different regions could not avail projects appraisal reports which would indicate that they had appraised the individual projects, indicating further that it was a significant non-compliance to the guidelines which require that all 40 project proposals will be appraised to determine market availability, projected profitability, sustainability and management and prospects for growth.
While the programme projects that failure may be considered moderate at 15%, the report said that it is nevertheless of paramount importance that all the requirements of the guidelines should be complied with for the good management of the programme and attainment of its objective.
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.