With days of a looming cabinet reshuffle drawing closer, the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) insiders talk of growing tensions among power bidders with others extremely worried that they may lose out on their current cabinet positions. spirants are equally counting their prospects from both inside and outside Parliament. Members of the Ntlo Ya Dikgosi have already paved the way for a bill seeking to increase Specially Elected Members of Parliament from four to six by approving the request.
Passing the Bill is expected to top of the agenda of the next sitting of Parliament, with the President not bound to waste any time in assenting to move on to the next stage of picking his team, in what is anticipated to be his last major reshuffle. With less than two years remaining on his reign, it is expected that President Ian Khama will be looking at spending up delivery to secure his legacy and hence would be looking at reinforcing his Cabinet with strong and highly skilled individuals. The reshuffle will also result with the creation of extra ministries, something that members of the opposition have been against on grounds that it is a costly move at a time when sources Government revenue are drained.
Some ministers and their juniors have been jittery to the extent of doing all possible to impress. Meanwhile President Khama has left his charges guessing about their futures, revealing very little about his next move. As a military man, keeping strategy under wraps has remained his strong attribute with sources however confirming that he has been frustrated by poor performance of some of his trusted ministers. The older generation ministers are reportedly worried about their future post the 2018 era after the new President assumes office.
The only minister who has been out of his radar has been Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, who has been allowed to campaign for the African Union chairperson. Should she emerge victorious, it will mean President Khama will have to appoint a new Foreign minister, opening more options for the ruling party MPs. Sources close to the corridors of power have intimated that President Khama has remained unassuming as ever leaving them guessing on who will survive, face a transfer, be demoted or shown the exit door for good. It is yet unclear which new names will be included in the President’s new cabinet. Party insiders confided that some backbenchers are hopeful that they will be appointed to cabinet and are worried over the allegations that President Ian Khama might bring outsiders to fill the posts leaving them out.
The possible SEMP
Though President Khama is playing it close to his chest the two people that he will nominate as specially elected, those close to the ruling party have revealed that former BDP Secretary General Mpho Balopi, former Botswana Defence Former commander Lieutenant General Tebogo Masire and the head of civil service – Permanent Secretary to the President Carter Morupisi are among possible new MPs.
He is the fourth BDF commander and the only one whose contract was extended by a year when he reached the end of his contract in 2012. A close associate of Khama, sources at the BDP have revealed that he is one of the front runners to be appointed Specially Elected MP, having missed out after the 2014 General Elections though he was among those considered by the party. A trained pilot who has flown all the four presidents of Botswana, he is expected if nominated to replace Shaw Kgathi as the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security. Kgathi will most likely retain a full cabinet position. Masire has been growing his profile as a businessman following his appointment to the Board of BIHL, Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) and Air Botswana among others.
The past immediate Secretary General of BDP and a shrewd businessman, Balopi is expected to be rewarded with the specially elected position and might even be appointed an assistant minister of Trade and Industry. The current assistant minister Sadique Kebonang is expected to be appointed a full minister.
As Permanent Secretary to the President, Morupisi is not only the Secretary to Cabinet but Khama’s right hand man. Of recent he has appeared like a man who wants to hog the limelight and his increased participation in developments at his home village in Tswapong has raised suspicion that he is preparing ground for political office. He recently fired a public servant for failing to render expected service in his home village. His recent tour of the country where he addressed public servants about ensuring successful implementation of the Economic Stimulus Package (ESP) has been seen by some to go beyond the expected call of duty but an act of someone working hard to advance his profile. President Khama knows his troops well and keeps the most efficient very close to him. With Morupisi being one of trusted men, it is highly possible that he is in line for a promotion.
One of the assistant ministers who could be dropped from cabinet is Fidelis Molao following his recent negative publicity over the Sebina saga – where a Facebook conversation allegedly involving him and area councillor was leaked to the public. The area councillor allegedly sought his advice on how to deal with an incident in which he had impregnated a teenager. Molao has since claimed that his account was hacked and was never involved in such discussion with the councillor.
Having been recently recruited from the Botswana Congress Party (BCP), the Okavango MP Bagalatia Arone is most likely to be rewarded with an assistant minister’s appointment. Having been very vocal on education matters, he is most likely to be appointed one of the assistant ministers.