Appointment of Khama’s brother is family affair – opposition

 Thursday, 27 September 2012 (Mmegi of Botswana)
FRANCISTOWN: The opposition has characterised the latest cabinet reshuffle in which Tshekedi Khama, the President’s brother was appointed to head the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism as a reflection of a government based on family connections.
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Botswana National Front (BNF) secretary general Shampoo Shadikong has condemned the Cabinet reshuffle saying it depicts Khama as a man who is hellbent on appeasing his kith and kin at the expense of the state (Go lebega go jewa boswa mo pusong).

Shadikong said her party president; Duma Boko has always warned the public about Khama reserving Cabinet positions for his kith and kin or sycophants.”We will not be shocked if tomorrow Tshekedi could be his brother’s successor as the state President because to them there seems to be no distinction between bogosi and Cabinet positions,” she said.

She described yesterday’s mini reshuffle as “serving Khama’s interests and of no value to the public.” Opposition Botswana Congress Party (BCP) spokesperson, Taolo Lucas rubbished the reshuffle saying it was not done on any merit.

“One would have expected the President to look at the performance of his Cabinet and make proper appointments or movements on the basis of performance,” said Lucas.He cited what he termed poor performers like Minister of Agriculture, Christian de Graaf as obvious candidates for exit. “You will notice that De Graaf is entangled in a controversy relating to the ailing Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) abattoirs which has since paralysed the cattle and beef industries,” he said adding that he does not deserve to be in the Cabinet given his blunders. He also observed that a shake up in the Ministry of Education (MoE) and “probably bringing someone with a more focus to bringing stability in a ministry that is riddled with controversy.”

He indicated that reduction of personnel in the ministry was a serious contradiction after a few months ago it was stated by the Khama administration that the MoE required two assistants to match the demands of work.On Tshekedi, Lucas wondered what quality he would be bringing into Cabinet

“As he is a regular absentee in Parliament and his constituency. Ahead of seemingly qualified people, then one is tempted to conclude that competency was not a consideration.””Khama has ignored poor performers and to him it seems it is business as usual.

The introduction of his brother to Cabinet seems to be a priority,” concluded Lucas who is also University of Botswana social work lecturer.President Ian Khama yesterday made a mini reshuffle which elevated his younger brother Tshekedi Khama from the backbench to a substantial Cabinet post.

A press statement released by the Office of the President stated that Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism Kitso Mokaila will next month take over the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources as a substantive Minister. He is taking over from Vice-President Ponatshego Kedikilwe who for the last two months has been doubling as the Minister and as VP.

President Khama’s younger brother, whose appointment has set tongues wagging will take over from Mokaila as the ministry head.Dr Gloria Somolekae has been transferred from her current position as Assistant Minister of Finance and Development Planning to the Office of the President as Assistant Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration. The press release from the OP states that her job focus will be mainly to assist the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration in areas of Poverty Eradication and HIV/AIDS.

Assistant Minister Vicent Seretse has also been transferred to the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning from the Ministry of Trade and Industry in the same capacity.Assistant Minister Keletso Rakhudu has been transferred to the Ministry of Trade and Industry from the Ministry of Education and Skills Development.

Presidential spokesperson Dr Jeff Ramsay said yesterday that it was logical that as the Vice-President focused on the duties of his office, the President had to appoint other members to perform the pertinent duties.”Since the President has the prerogative of appointing Cabinet, he has found it fit to appoint people he feels are suitable in those positions,” Ramsay said yesterday.

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