Presidential advisers have been working overtime to offer the best advice to the President on who to pick into his cabinet as he prepares for a major overhaul. Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi, who is responsible for reviewing performance of the ministers, has also offered his own counsel from a full and detailed performance review report. Staff writer PHILLIMON MMESO has been watching developments closely, has talked to various sources close to the presidency and listened in between arguments and leaders conversations to piece together what could be up in Khama’s sleeves. He warns that the coming reshuffle will leave most in utter shock and surprise. Make no mistake – Khama wants to cement his legacy and anyone found wanting or compromising that will be dished.
The passing of the Ministerial Offices (Maximum Number) (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (Bill No. 2 of 2016) on Thursday night has given President Ian Khama the green light to create increase ministries and his ministers. The Ministry of Education and Skills Development and that of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources are expected to be divided into two.
Presidential Affairs and Public Administration - Nonofho Molefhi
President Khama will most likely use this opportunity to take Eric Molale out of his comfort zone. Having been the Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) and ascended to the ministry, nothing much has changed in his work. This easily denies his successor as PSP to stamp his own authority as the new man. This is said to have made him complacent. One of the issues that have not pleased President Khama is that Molale has failed to motivate the moral of public service employees which is currently at all-time low. The ministry has failed to implement some of President Khama’s pet projects including the poverty eradication as beneficiaries are yet to be helped with what is due to them. This has led to some of them, mostly the youth losing faith in the poverty eradication programme. Molefhi, who is currently the Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology, is expected to replace Molale. He is viewed as level headed and though having ambition of ascending to the highest office he has not let it distract him from doing his ministerial duties.
Ministry of Energy, Water and Sanitation: Kitso Mokaila
This will be a new ministry which is expected to be led by the current Minister of Minerals, Energy and water Resources Kitso Mokaila. There have been concerns that the ministry of minerals, energy and water resources was overburdened with work especially as both the sectors covered by the ministry are going through turbulent times. he mining industry, which is the economic backbone of the country, is not doing well while drought which has hit the region has led to shortage of water. This will pave for the establishment of both water and power regulator which has been passed by parliament. okaila, who has been viewed as one of the best performing ministers, is expected to set up the ministry and ensure the establishment of Energy and Water policy. The Water Policy will see the roles of Department of Water Affairs (DWA) and Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) clearly defined. WA will now act as Technical Secretariat to Water Resources Board which will replace the current Water Apportionment Board. DWA will also administer the water law and other related legislations, and liaise with riparian users of national and international resource basins regarding saving, conserving and protecting water resources. Mokaila’s new ministry will also be mandated with ensuring that all water supply and sewage is under WUC.
Ministry of Minerals - Blackie Marole
Khama is expected to appoint the former Debswana Managing Director Blackie Marole as the new Minister of Minerals. Marole, who has a vast experience in the mining industry, will try to help turn around the industry especially state-owned BCL Mine which is struggling to stay afloat. He is expected to be sworn in as the specially elected MP in November during the State of the Nation Address.
Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security – Lt General Tebogo Masire
The appointment of Shaw Kgathi as the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security shocked many and some sources said even himself was shocked as he does not have any experience in any of the departments he was politically heading. His performance at the ministry is said not to have impressed President Khama. Kgathi has moved from one crisis to another with the judicial crisis, and the Eritrean players’ saga not helping his case. Khama is expected to appoint former commander of Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Lieutenant General Tebogo Masire to the portfolio.
Ministry of Higher Education and Skills Development - Shaw Kgathi
A former teacher sports master and Director of Sports and Recreation, Kgathi is expected to find a new home in one of the most challenging ministries. This is because though he is struggling at his current ministry his drive and appetite to deliver have always won him the favour of the President. He is expected to be assisted by Fidelis Molao.
Ministry of Lower Education- Moiseraela Goya
Goya, who first tasted cabinet position is 2014, is said to be one of the best performing assistant ministers and might be rewarded with a full cabinet position to head the Lower education ministry which is currently in a mess due to poor academic results. Performance of students from primary schools to senior schools have been taking a nose dive, something that is said to be worrying President Khama. The MP for Okavango Bagalatia Arone is expected to be appointed as his assistant.
Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development – Eric Molale
With the performance of the Minister Slumber Tsogwane viewed as lukewarm. He could be demoted to backbench because some feel he has not stamped his full authority in the ministry, leaving his assistants Botlogile Tshireletso and Frans van der Westhuizen to do much of the work. The reshuffle presents President Khama with an opportunity to take former assistant district officer Molale to head the ministry and put it in order. It is at the ministry of local government that Molale started his career in public service. He is likely to be assisted by Botlogile Tshireletso and Member of Parliament for Ngami Thato Kwerepe.
Infrastructure, Science and Technology: Vincent Seretse
Vincent Seretse though a strong performer has been overshadowed by his assistant who seemed to be more vested in the ministry. A former Chief Executive Officer of Botswana Telecommunications Corporations (BTC) Seretse is well suited to replace Molefhi as the Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation- Dr Unity Dow
President Khama is expected to relieve the current minister Dr Pelonomi Venson Moitoi of her ministerial responsibilities to allow her to concentrate on her campaign for chairpersonship of the African Union (AU) Commission. In her place Dr Unity Dow is expected to replace her as she has failed to acclimatise at the ministry of Education and Skills Development. The first female High Court judge and well known human rights an activist, Dr Dow is expected to use her credentials to help push Botswana’s diplomatic credentials.
Minister of Agriculture - Kefentse Mzwinila
The current Minister of Agriculture Patrick Ralotsia has failed dismally to resuscitate the Agricultural sector and might be withdrawn to the backbench. Problems currently faced at the Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BUAN) is a clear indication that political leadership has failed. ince 2014 Ministry of Agriculture has failed to make farming more attractive to the youth. The MP for Mmadinare Kefentse Mzwinila, who is also the most educated MP in the current siting of Parliament, is the right person to turn around the agricultural sector. Though not having any academic agricultural background, his intellectual capabilities might become handy at the failing sector. He holds four degrees from Yale University in the United States where he obtained an MSc in Psychology and MA in Development Economics. Yale University has produced five United States presidents, 19 US Supreme Court Justices, 13 living billionaires, many foreign heads of state as well as former US Secretary of State and current Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.
Transport and Communications - Dorcas Makgato
Minister Tshenolo Mabeo has never enjoyed his stay at the Ministry of Transport and Communications as parastatals falling under him continued to expose his poor leadership skills. The Botswana Railways’ corruption scandals involving the purchase of coaches from Transnet in South Africa has shown that the former actor is failing on his mandate as political head. he current problems faced by the recently listed Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL) where citizens where sold a dummy as the share price of the company continues on a nose dive have not helped his case. Leadership crisis at Air Botswana which he has failed to stamp his authority is one of the reasons that will lead to his downfall. resident Khama might rope in the no nonsense Dorcas Makgato to put the house in order. Makgato has proven that she doesn’t take prisoners for a ride as shown by her tenure at trade and industry and currently at Health.
Health – Dr Alfred Madigele
He has been understudying Makgato as Assistant Minister and this has come handy as it will help him to manage the ministry not from the medical perspective only but also administratively.
Investment, Trade and Industry - Sadique Kebonang
After serving as Assistant Minister to Seretse, Kebonang, one of President Khama’s favourite assistant ministers is expected to take full charge of the ministry. He is likely to be assisted by Frans van der Westhuizen.
All other ministries are likely to be left as they are with their political heads.