Members of the Vision 2016 Council on Thursday refused to endorse their chairperson Martin Makgatlhe's decision to suspend the council coordinator of Dr Charity Kruger, and instructed him to reverse it because he did not follow the right procedure.
In a heated meeting held on Thursday morning at the council headquarters board members came hard on Makgatle for sidelining them and expecting their support. The Coordinator of Vision 2016 Council has been suspended by Makgatlhe under controversial circumstances. “What emerged is that members of the Council are in the dark as to what led to the suspension of the coordinator. Makgatlhe could only say he is constrained to divulge information to the board because he has been given instructions that Kruger is being investigated by state institutions,” said an inside source.
According to information gathered from those who attended the meeting some members questioned why a Council Coordinator will be suspended from Council duties while it cannot be stated what misconduct she committed in the Council. It is alleged that the Chairperson who was at pains to explain to the Council however did state that the Coordinator did nothing wrong in her duties as Coordinator but that she is only being investigated in her personal level. This explanation did not sit well with Council members who charged that the Chairman does not trust them to the extent that he is withholding information from them. They refused to accept that the coordinator could be suspended when she had not committed any offence on the job.
Feeling cornered, Makgatlhe is said to have told the Council that he consulted the Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration Eric Molale. He went on to tell the Council that if they want more information he can arrange a meeting for them with the Minister. Dr Kruger refused to vacate office as instructed by the council and sought legal advice from the council lawyers Chilisa Consultants on the 28th of October. “At that moment one council member blatantly stated that they know that Kruger is being investigated by Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) as instruction from the highest office,” said the source.
According to an inside source, there is a feeling among some members of the council that the issue of state institutions investigation is just a cover up on the suspension which was meant to get rid of her. Vision 2016 council which includes former Debswana Chief Executive Officer Blackie Marole and chairman of Ntlo ya Dikgosi Kgosi Puso Gaborone is said to have instructed Makgatlhe to reinstate Dr Kruger. “He cannot suspend someone without any proper hearing or concrete reasons and as such we told him to reinstate Kruger because we don’t want to be embarrassed,” said the council member.
In the suspension letter dated 26th October 2015 Makgatlhe stated that, “It has since come to my attention that you may have misconducted yourself and exhibited behavior that is incompatible with the terms and conditions of your employment as the Vision 2016 coordinator.”
According to correspondence from Vision 2016 council attorneys dated 28 October 2015, it advised that council chairman has no powers to suspend the coordinator as the powers are vested on the governing body. “We therefore advise that the chairperson exceeded his authority in purporting to suspend the coordinator. We furthermore advise that the coordinator was within her right to refuse to comply,” reads part of the correspondence penned by Mboki Chilisa adding that a resolution has to be taken first authorizing the suspension.
Chilisa said that Kruger was within her right to refuse to vacate office as the suspension was irregular. The advice was followed by another letter from Rantao Kewagamang attorneys acting on behalf Dr Kruger demanding her immediate reinstatement as her suspension was irregular and invalid.
Rantao Kewagamang Attorneys tore the letter written by Makgatlhe observing that the letter suspending their client is not even on the official letterhead of the council. There is emerging information that there is a witch hunt against the Coordinator for having invited BOFEPUSU to the review of Vision 2016 earlier at a session held in Boipuso Hall. A book by Unions detailing corruption in the Country is alleged to have been distributed and this irked authorities at Government enclave. The Coordinator was then summoned to explain why the book found its way through to participants at review of Vision 2016.
Another problematic area is that high ranking BDP activist is embroiled in a tug of war with the Council on business issues between his company and vision 2016. The Coordinator is sacrificed for having failed to put a lid to dealings between the Council and the BDP leader, said a source.
A Vision 2016 Council member who did not want to be named said they are worried by circumstances that led to the suspension of the council coordinator as it is not healthy for transition to be made from Vision 2016 Council to Vision 2036 Council. “This chaos is damaging the integrity of the vision and that's how some quarters of citizens are reluctant to own up the vision,” said the source.
Vision 2016 council is expected to wrap up its operations next year and give their report before the 50th independence celebrations in September.
Efforts to get comment from Vision 2016 Strategy Manager Mpho Makheme were fruitless at the time of going to press as her mobile phone rang unanswered since morning until the paper was put to rest.