By end of this week there is all likelihood that Parliament would have adjourned having elected new Specially Elected Members of Parliament. This comes after the adoption and passing of the bill on the amendment of the constitution to allow for the increment of specially elected Members of Parliament from four to six. This will pave the way for President Ian Khama to shuffle his cabinet, bringing in two new faces to it. Sources at government enclave have revealed that bill is expected to be enacted into law before the end of this parliamentary session, which comes to end on Friday.
This week political landscape at Government Enclave and at Tsholetsa House was heavily pregnant with claims that the former Debswana Managing Director Blackie Marole was the leading candidate for the SEMP together with former Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Lieutenant General Tebogo Masire.
Ahead of the 2014 General Elections there were talks that Marole was seriously considering challenging Shaw Kgathi for the party primaries. This was prompted by his attendance of meetings of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) BOMASE region which comprises Bobonong, Mmadinare and Selibe Phikwe constituencies. His strong corporate background is said to be one of the reasons President Khama is considering him as a possible candidate for SEMP, which will pave the way for him to head one of the ministries. The former Managing Director of Debswana and current chairman of Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) and African Energy Resources Botswana (Pty) Ltd, Marole has served in the civil service for more than 21 years. An economist by profession, he has been the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry Energy, Water and Minerals Resources. His roping in has fuelled the speculation that the Ministry of Energy, Water and Minerals Resources will be split into two.
Marole has extensive experience in the mining industry having served in the boards of various mining companies including being Director BCL Limited, Botswana Ash, Chairman of Teemane Manufacturing Company and Director of De Beers Prospecting (Pty) Ltd. The Semolale-born economist holds a Master of Arts Degree in Economics from Williams College, Massachusetts, United States. Speculation has also been rife that the current Minister of Energy, Water and Minerals Resources Kitso Mokaila wants out of cabinet and could quit politics soon to pursue his various business interests. In an interview on Friday, Mokaila could not confirm or deny that he wants to leave cabinet. “The term of the president who appointed me cabinet minister is coming to an end in 2018 and I might leave before or after him,” he said.
The past immediate commander of the BDF General Masire who is currently the chairman of Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) is expected to replace Kgathi as the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security due to his experience in the army. He was one of the first cadet in-take of BDF in 1977 and the only pilot to have flown all the four Presidents of Botswana. He was inducted into the International Honours Roll by US Air University in 1993. He did Squadrom Officer Course (1983), Air Command and Staff Course (1988) and Senior Defence Management Course (1996) in United States. Masire is an adorned general who received the award of Duty Code Order (DCO) in 1990, Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) from the BDF in 1997 and Grand Officer Order of International Military Sports Council (GOM). Inside sources have revealed that Kgathi is struggling to settle at the ministry due to lack of background in both judiciary and security. Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Office of the President Jeff Ramsay said that he didn’t know when the new SEMP will be announced.