Frustrations over Cabinet appointments

The recent cabinet reshuffle by President Ian Khama that saw four new MPs appointed has stirred a hornet’s nest within the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) circles, especially Members of Parliament who now harbour frustrations and disappointment on the criteria used to appoint the four MPs to cabinet.

Following the passing by parliament of the constitutional amendment bill that sought to increase specially elected members of Parliament as well the number of ministries, Khama recently appointed four MPs Thato Kwerepe, Biggie Butale, Kefentse Mzwinila and Itumeleng Moipisi to cabinet.

Some members of the party and MPs who spoke to Echo News on condition of anonymity strongly feel that most of the MPs who were recently appointed to cabinet do not have a strong record of hard work or outspokenness when they were in the back bench.“We had wished to see people who are more influential being roped into cabinet, the likes Guma Moyo and others, not those we hardly hear of their contributions,” said one source.

Another member said while they can not really say much about the President’s decision on who he appoints into cabinet, the hope is always to have people who are hard workers and can add value to the executive.

“Of those four, Biggie Butale leads with a sterling parliament record of hard work that can be spoken off,” said one source in the BDP structures.

For his part the Secretary General of the BDP, Botsalo Ntuane said they are not aware of any concerns, or disappointment expressed by party members. “At least nothing formal has been put to my attention,” he said

Ntuane hastened to express that a cabinet reshuffle is a prerogative of the president as stipulated in the constitution as such they have no say on it.

“There is not even a provision for him to consult so we believe he did what is best for the country,” Ntuane added

He said as the BDP , they however stand with the President on his choice of those he can work with, citing that they are not surprised that there could be disappointments and or concerns raised by some within the party.

“It’s only normal that during every cabinet reshuffle people have these expectations, however the President see things his way, so the alleged disappointments should not worry us much,” he said

On the expected specially elected MPs, Ntuane said they are still waiting on president Khama to present his ideal names before caucus for their consideration, and he is convinced that Khama will engage them on that.

The new cabinet reshuffle and reorganisation saw Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Minister being Eric Molale assisted by Thato Kwerepe, while Shaw Kgathi retained Defence, Justice and Security.

Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security is Patrick Ralotsia, assisted by Kgotla Autlwetse while Infrastructure and Housing Development is led by Nonofo Molefhi.

Unity Dow becomes minister of Basic Education assisted by Moiseraele Goya.

Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism Minister is under Tshekedi Khama, while Ontefetse Matambo retained his post as Minster for Finance and Economic Development.

Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation is Dr. Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi while Dorcus Makgato retained Health and Wellness, assisted by Dikgang P. Makgalemele Tshenolo Mabeo is Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development.

Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services is headed by Prince Maele, assisted by newly appointed Itumeleng Moipisi,

Local Government and Rural Development remained unchanged with Minister Slumber Tsogwane assisted by Botlogile Tshireletso and France Van Der Westhuizen Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security is led by Advocate Sadique Kebonang, while Investment, Trade and Industry Minister is Vincent Seretse assisted by another new appointee Biggie Butale. Kitso Mokaila becomes Minister of Transport and Communications.

Thapelo Olopeng remains Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development: assisted by Kefentse Mzwinila.

Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology Minister is headed by Dr Alfred Madigele assisted by Mr. Fedelis M. Molao while Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs Minister is Edwin Batshu.