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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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I broke the law in good faith – Moswaane

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YES I ERRED: Ignatius Moswaane is weary of some within his party, BDP.

Member of Parliament (MP) for Francistown West, Ignatius Moswaane, has his electorates behind him. The maverick MP has recently found himself on the wrong side of the law after circulating a graphic video clip on social media depicting a woman in South Africa being brutally knifed to death.

At a consultative meeting with his constituents at the Leseding Hall on Saturday, he explained that his action was done in good faith. “I am a member of the SADC committee that deals with issues of abuse and harassment relating to women and children. I shared the video on facebook with our parliamentary group. This was to bring about awareness amongst ourselves on gender violence and brutality against women,” he said to the bemused audience. Moswaane, who admitted that he broke the law, swears that, the video was leaked deliberately by his enemies in the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) to put him into trouble with the law and jeopardise his political career.

The outspoken legislator claimed that when he shared a similar video of an unnamed country in the past, he achieved the desired results because the SADC committee he is a member of, took up the matter and an investigation was made. According to recent media reports, the MP has been viewed with suspicion of disloyalty to President Mokweetsi Masisi given the ongoing feud the state president has with his predecessor Ian Khama. Those looking at him with suspicion have suggested that he was loyal to Khama who is leading a crusade to topple Masisi from power at the general elections this year.

According to Moswaane, some with vested interests in the BDP want him out of the race for Francistown West constituency so that their preferred candidate may contest in his place. “I do not think it is the party. Maybe it is just some individuals in a faction within the party.” After the video was leaked, BDP Secretary General Mpho Balopi issued a statement expressing dismay at the circulating video.

The MP however, does not see the video clip incident in isolation. He is convinced that considering his motive of sensitising people of the brutal act, he should have been warned instead of being arrested and his cell phone taken away from him. “It is clear that DIS is looking for something else in my cell phone which has got nothing to do with the video,” said Moswaane who accused the spy agency, DIS and his political opponents in the BDP of working against him. During question and comments time, a woman who introduced herself only as Senjoba, called for financial support for Moswaane should he need the services of a lawyer.

Another speaker, Moalosi said that what was happening to the MP was an indication that no one is safe. “The opposition has always said that DIS is used for witch-hunting. It shows we are also not protected,” he said. Olebile Motsamai called on the people to protect their MP. “As the electorate, you know what to do to end these things,” said Motsamai. The legislator

recounted a number of instances where some of his constituents have come to confess to him that DIS had offered them money to help frame him but they refused. This is not the first time that the MP has accused DIS of being used for political ends. The head of the spy agency, Peter Magosi has, in the past, rubbished Moswaane’s claims that he is being followed.

Moswaane’s collision with the BDP leadership is not new as he has also clashed with the leadership of former president Khama. In 2009 Moswaane contested and won Monarch south ward as an independent candidate after rejecting the primary election results which he found controversial.

In 2013 he and the BDP were disqualified from contesting a by-election by the Independent Electoral Commission. This was after the party had neglected to hear Whyte Marobela who had challenged the primary election results involving himself and Moswaane.

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BEWARE THE BPF

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NOT TRUSTED: The BNF veterans body does not trust anything with BDP roots

Botswana National Front (BNF) Veterans Association is cautioning the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to “tread carefully” regarding a possible working relationship with newly-formed Botswana Patrictic Front (BPF).

“UDC has to tread carefully because BDP never changes and the opposition never learns,” said the Association’s Chairman Patrick Kgoadi ahead of their meeting this weekend.The BPF is the latest breakaway offspring of the ruling party and is backed by a number of former BDP’s disgruntled members among them former president Ian Khama, former minister Biggie Butale and Tati East MP Guma Moyo. At a recent meeting in Serowe, Khama confirmed the membership of Moyo while over this past weekend, Butale insinuated that former minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi was also a member of the new party.

Kgoadi said even though it might be seen to be a good thing to work with BPF, the opposition should vigorously scrutinise the party and its intended purpose as the relationship could backfire and cost the opposition victory in the national polls. The purpose of the Saturday meeting is to discuss the collapsed structures of BNF, preparations for 2019 general elections, developments at UDC and formation of new party BPF.

According to Kgoadi, they have observed that the BNF structures are not as active as they should be especially during the election year.“Our structures used to be more active on election year. This year things are just blurry and this is worrisome. Even at UDC level BNF should be playing a leading role not only in the presidency but across the country. “We always have to be taking a leading role as a party that plays a significant role in uniting opposition parties.

“So as veterans we would be discussing these issues and how we could advise both the BNF and UDC leadership,” said Kgoadi. The veterans have since the formation of the association been at loggerheads with the BNF Central Committee on how things are run both at the BNF and Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). The veterans have thus been accused by the party leadership of always blowing things out of proportion and failing to use proper party channels when discussing internal matters.

BNF Secretary General Moeti Mohwasa has on several occasions pointed out that the veterans have served the party for long and should know processes and procedures to be followed when addressing internal matters. He expressed concern that the veterans always use channels that are not sanctioned by the party and its constitution. Kgoadi said the BNF central committee has for long been disingenuous and refused to meet them since 2017.

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