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Masisi cabinet appointments a new lease of life

Publishing Date : 10 April, 2018

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Not so long ago in one of our commentaries, we implored President Mogweetsi Masisi to appoint his cabinet basing his choices on integrity among other values.

There was indeed so much at stake for the country, what of the corruption scandals rocking the country recently, and with some members of cabinet being implicated in them. What was surprising, more than anything was the fact that it was business as usual at the August house, despite the circumstances that otherwise warranted action!

We concede that we did not really anticipate the great decisions the president went ahead and took, axing some of the ministers, and indeed heeding our call and that of Batswana at large.  Three days after becoming president, he sacked Minister of Minerals, Green Technology and Energy, Sadique Kebonang who was at the heart of the National Petroleum Fund (NPF) saga and Minister of Land, Water and Sanitation, Prince Maele, who had dodgy dealings linked to his name.

Batswana had previously decried the duo’s remaining in parliament, and called for them to relieve themselves of their duties. Strange enough, it appeared the two had no intention of stepping down from public office on their own. This nudge by Mr. President is very welcome, we are certain the nation is also welcoming of this development.  Kebonang being implicated in the NPF saga, which is the biggest financial scandal in the history of this country, was no doubt the blot in the administration. 

Maele too has been subject of investigations by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) on a number of occasions. One would also note a positive development in the constitution of Office of the President; Nonofo Molefhi as Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Affairs as well as Ronald Shamukuni as Assistant Minister. This is in addition to Slumber Tsogwane who is the Vice President. 

The Office of the President is the most important public office in the land. This is so because it coordinates the public service, with key institutions such as the Ombudsman, DCEC, Directorate on Intelligence and Security Services reporting to the office. Given the goodwill that Molefhi enjoys as an individual and his high integrity and as someone believed to be fair-minded, his appointment to this ministry is a befitting one.

People with integrity are necessary to inhabit this high citizenry office because they bring confidence to the rank and file in the society. People would have faith that decisions are not made for personal gain, or processes are circumvented to the disadvantage of the public.

For the past few years, under the tutelage of Eric Molale, there have been reports of bad faith in dealing with public servants. People were grudged, and transferred from their positions, and flimsy excuses were given. Some lost their jobs, while undeserving individuals were given plum posts in the office of the president. There was serious abuse at Office of the President, not only of the public service but also of state resources. These created an impression that the office of the president was not powerful and not accountable. 

We also note the historic appointment of Bogolo Kenewendo, as a Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry. To express confidence in such a young person is unprecedented in the history of our politics.  Over the years, young people have been overlooked for roles in politics even when they are more qualified. The rise of Kenewendo through the ranks, as a woman activist and economist of note is well documented.

It is clear that in appointing his cabinet, Masisi did not begrudge those who stood against him in the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee elections at Tonota last year. Both members of the Molefhi camp; Phillip Makgalemele, Bigge Butale and Dorcas Makgato were retained in cabinet albeit in different ministries.

By doing so, Masisi has proved that he has a bigger heart, and that he is a true democrat who knows that what transpired at Tonota last year was merely a democratic process. Molefhi is an honourable man, Masisi understands that, hence his decision to work closely with him in discharging his duties. Masisi also knows that although he is the president, he cannot govern alone. He needs equally capable people around him to make his presidency a success! Good start Mr President!



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