Can Molale’s political career be rescued?

SHARE   |   Monday, 31 August 2015   |   By Phillimon Mmeso
Molale Molale

He has one of the most astonishing public service careers in the country having risen from being Assistant District Officer (Development) in Tsabong in 1981 to become Permanent Secretary to President (PSP) Festus Mogae and later President Ian Khama. He is regarded as a hard to knack technocrat. His acceleration into the top started in 1994 when he was appointed private secretary to the then Vice President Festus Mogae rising to be his senior private secretary when Mogae assumed Presidency in 1998. Molale saw his career shoot up when he assumed the PSP position when Mogae demoted and banished Molosiwa Selepeng to Australia as an ambassador in 2003.

No one ever had the thought that Molale, who previously was the permanent secretary in the ministry of local government, will have ambitions of joining the ‘no mercy’ political life but in November President Khama nominated him as one of the four specially elected Members of Parliament and parliament endorsed him. He was appointed Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, a very senior ministerial position. He retained control of the public service as it fell under his portfolio. The Mabule-born technocrat turned politician was now riding the powerful upwelling of support from President Khama and this did not sit well with veteran Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) stalwarts.


His rise in political life was hampered by four monkeys that he had to shake off.  The biggest of the primates clinging to Molale’s back is trade unions especially Botswana Federation of Public Sector Union (BOFEPUSU) which fell out during the infamous 2011 industrial action.
Ahead of the by-elections in Goodhope/Mabule, they launched a very strong campaign against him and some political pundits are adamant that they played a pivotal role in his dismal performance amid avalanche of resources. The short chubby-cheeked politician has clashed with some cabinet ministers during his tenure as PSP and they are now eager to show him that he is a political novice. An opportunity arose for his nemesis when he resigned as specially elected MP and contested the by- elections at Goodhope/Mabule constituency after he won the BDP primaries under controversial circumstances.

When President Khama retained him as cabinet minister without being an MP, he fuelled speculation that he was earmarking him for the bigger office and it did not sit well with some ruling party elites. This was after he tendered his resignation as MP and cabinet minister but in less than 24 hours Khama retained him as MOPAPA. During the campaign for the by-elections some cabinet ministers are said to have not helped him choosing rather to go into the constituency to refresh and enjoy Goodhope/Mabule landscape. These monkeys would torment him up to the Goodhope/Mabule by-elections where he lost to Barolong paramount chief Kgosi Lotlaamoreng II of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).
A fourth monkey that Molale might have tried to shake free off but instead chose to embrace was what many have been complaining about, his sheer arrogance. It was this monkey that angered one of the primary elections contenders Fankie Motsaathebe who even wanted to dump the party. This was after Molale accused him of campaigning against him.


The ruling party, which is politically exsanguination, was forced to dispatch a high profile team of party chairman Mokgweetsi Masisi and Secretary General Botsalo Ntuane to dose off the political fire. Molale’s attack on Motsaathebe has now set on the fast wheels of change within the ruling as there is a strong campaign not to have him retained as specially elected MP. His pugnacious will to take on those he deems are against his wishes is likely to be his downfall as one cabinet minister said.
Can he be retained as SEMP?
Though he resigned as SEMP but retained his ministerial position which he can only hold for four months, according to section 43 of the constitution, Molale - who holds BA and an MS in Agricultural Economics and a Diploma in Experimental Statistics - is eligible to be nominated as SEMP again. The four months will lapse in November just in time for the November session of parliament and this will be time when Molale’s political fate will be determined. Sources within the ruling party have revealed that there is a strong campaign for President Khama to drop him as it might put the party and government in bad light.
“President Khama must not portray the party as if there is drought of leadership to the extent of overstretching the constitution just to accommodate certain individuals. We need new blood and Molale has squandered his chances and is time we move on,” said a cabinet minister.
President Khama is known not to have permanent allies as it has been in the past when those whom many thought were close to him were dropped. Molale should ask Khama’s first cousin Ramadeluka Seretse, former assistant Minister of Agriculture Oreeditse Molebatsi who once asked God to reduce his years and give them to Khama so that he might live longer.
In an interview recently, BDP Secretary General Botsalo Ntuane said that the vacant post of SEMP will be discussed at the Central Committee meeting and passed to the party parliamentary caucus for deliberations.
Masire’s names appears
One of the leading candidates for SEMP is former Botswana Defence Force (BDF) commander Lieutenant General Tebogo Carter Masire. Since he left the army, Masire has been actively visible in BDP high profile events. Sources reveal that should he be nominated and endorsed by parliament he will take over the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security currently led by Shaw Kgathi. Since the ministry was established Kgathi is the first minister to lead it without having justice or disciplined forces background. It was first headed by former head of BDF legal services Brigadier Dikgakgamatso Seretse and when he resigned to clear his name over corruptions allegations, former Botswana Police Commissioner Edwin Batshu acted on his behalf. Seretse will later retain the ministry until 2014 as he was not retained as MP.
Kgathi is expected to take over from Venson Moitoi at Foreign Affairs and International Relations while the veteran politician will be shifted to Ministry of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration.



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