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Molf accuses political parties of nepotism

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The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and opposition parties have been accused of practising nepotism at their constituency offices at the expense of other deserving unemployed citizens.

Former Member of Parliament for Gaborone West Robert Molefhabangwe did not mince his words in an exclusive interview with The Midweek Sun as he said that those employed in various constituency offices have been handpicked since they are friends of the sitting Members of Parliament (MP).

When fully staffed, a constituency office has five employees comprising an office Administrator, Secretary, Messenger/cleaner and two security guards. Allegedly, all of them get the job on the basis that they campaigned for the incumbent MP towards the election.

All parties including Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) are guilty of this practice, says the outspoken former MP.

“When an MP employs a friend or relative or only members of his or her political party, then this is broad daylight robbery as, out there, there are better qualified job seekers ready to work. I have always maintained that constituency offices should not represent any party but the constituency as a whole since there are a lot of citizens who are not involved in politics as well as foreigners. A constituency is comprised of those who might be against the MP and those who are neutral and it is very important for MPs to desist from employing their friends and party mates since the office belongs to the government and not any party,’’ he said.

Molefhabangwe said that during his tenure as MP, he lost a lot of friends from his party by insisting that all citizens must be given an opportunity to work at constituency offices irrespective of political party affiliation.

When contacted for a comment on the allegations of partisan employment, BCP Publicity Secretary Dithapelo Keorapetse said that it is not the policy of his party to employ constituency office civil servants basing on political party affiliation. Keorapetse said when they employ constituency office workers they do not require one’s party affiliation as this is tantamount to favouritism. “What I am aware of is that we advertise as per government procedure and pick any candidate who qualifies for the job,” he said.

A BCP member who did not want to be disclosed said that all workers employed at various constituency offices are linked to the party in control of the constituency. “Comrade Keorapetse knows very well that no political party will ever employ an outsider into its constituency offices. Those who are normally given the job are derived from the campaign team of the MP as he knows them very well and it would be suicidal to do otherwise,” the source explained.

He added that sometimes conflicts arise when the other members of the campaign team feel they are more deserving than those who got the jobs ahead of them. Reportedly, the fallout becomes so serious that they invest a lot of time and other resources to decampaign the MP in the next election. Deputy President for BMD Wynter Mmolotsi explained that there is a difference between a political party member and a political party activist.

“At BMD, we have no problem to employ any opposition card carrying member as long as they are not activists where they are coming from. Normally a simple card carrying member is always neutral as compared to an activist whose aim is to appease his party at any cost. It will be illogical for me as an MP to recommend an opposition activist in my office since they will by all means work very hard to make my office look unproductive so that their party can wrestle the constituency from me. Those who are simply card carrying members are considered since this is a government job open to all Batswana,’’ he said.

When quizzed to disclose party affiliation of his office employees, he claimed not to be aware of their political affiliation as he said that as per government policy, they should not employ based on partisan lines.

Moeti Mohwasa the BNF spokesperson explained that constituency office workers should be those trusted by their MP. “A constituency office administrator is more like a personal assistant to the MP and this should be a person known and trusted by the MP for the smooth operation of the office. MPs have the right to choose carefully for civil servants to work for them,’’ he said.

He pointed out that their position at BNF is that all constituency workers should be employed following the laid down employment procedure for civil servants. Efforts to solicit a comment from BDP Secretary General Botsalo Ntuane hit a snag at press time as his mobile was off air.

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BMC secures beef market in Seychelles

Dikarabo Ramadubu

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Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) will soon start to sell its beef to the Island of Seychelles. Not only will they sell frozen raw meat, but will also send corned beef for trial in the Island.

All this is thanks to last week’s visit by President Mokgweetsi Masisi who included in his delegation executive management of the BMC, led by Chief Executive Officer, Dr Akolang Tombale.
The agreement signed between BMC and two leading Seychelles companies, will see BMC exporting at least 48 tonnes of raw beef to the island possibly from October. The names of the two companies that BMC signed an agreement with are Seychelles Trading Company which is a quasi-government organisation, and Rosebelle Company which is privately owned.

Although both have agreed to trade with each other, BMC cannot start immediately, as they have to wait for the green light from Seychelles companies who still have to apply for import permits in accordance with the law of their republic.

Speaking to The Midweek Sun, Tombale expressed gratitude that they managed to get good business in Seychelles through the assistance of President Masisi. “We are ready to export any time from now. As you know Seychelles is an island surrounded by mountains and cannot produce much if not anything. “They therefore depend much on imports even from as far as Brazil and Europe. Their economy is driven by tourism and they do not differ much with the European market in terms of the demand for beef as most tourists come from Europe and United States.”

Dr. Tombale said they agreed with the two companies that since “we are not sure about the logistics we will start by selling 24tonnes to each company per month, meaning we will be supplying the Island with a total of 48 tonnes per month. The idea is to start small and grow bigger as the people get used to our beef.” BMC has also negotiated to sell small stock meat to Seychelles and successfully negotiated for local chicken farmers to start selling their range chicken to Seychelles as well.

According to Tombale, he negotiated the deal after being approached by local chicken farmers amongst them Kgosi Mosadi Seboko of Balete, who requested that “we should try to find a market for chicken farmers as we go around the world searching for the beef market.” Tombale revealed that for a start both range chickens and small stock will not be supplied in tonnes or large quantities as they will be sold on a trial basis.

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G-west community reunion-walk a resounding success

Keletso Thobega

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Multitudes turned up for the Mosengwaketsi community walk and braai session this past Saturday in Gaborone West. The walk was held in the morning and was preceded by football games and a braai session that went on until late in the evening.

According to the event director Tshenolo Palai, the aim of the community day event was to revive community spirit and address crime and social ills. “The Mosengwaketsi community reunion will be held not only to create a platform to build unity but also address the social ill of passion killings,” he said.

Palai said that they had also invited health stakeholders for a wellness segment because they had realised that there are many health related conditions that affect the quality of people’s lives hence they had joined forces with religious organisations, the business community, neighbourhood outreach policing and other stakeholders in the area to encourage a culture of unity and create dialogue between all the parties.

He noted that they had wanted to create a relaxed environment conducive for different people to engage and strengthen their networks. He said they were also concerned with the high rate of crimes of passion in Botswana and also wanted to create a platform for both men and women to open up on issues that affect them because most people tend to be more relaxed in a social setting.

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