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Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development Minister Tshekedi Khama is on a collision path with his line Permanent Secretary, Kago Ramokate over the ministry’s operations.
According to a document seen by the Sunday Standard, the management of the Ministry’s alleged incompetence has become a subject of intense controversy, pitting Tshekedi against Ramokate.
Khama is of the view that the Ministry has failed to live up to expectation and he believes that the management is to blame. The war of words between Khama and his line Permanent Secretary which has been playing behind the scenes came into the spotlight following the ministry and Botswana National Sports Council’s failure to send athletes to Japan for the World Relays.
It has since emerged that the ministry delayed in disbursing the funds to the BNSC which in turn was supposed to send it to the Botswana Athletic Association (BAA).
Matters also came to head recently when the ministry cancelled polka competitions that were billed for 1st June. One of the participants approached Khama and informed him that as participants they were aggrieved by the Ministry’s decision to cancel the scheduled competitions.
According to a leaked conversation seen by this publication, Khama informed his line permanent secretary that “Kago on Monday I want a plan to rectify this disaster to redeem those involved...July is not acceptable. I also want to meet next week those responsible without exception... This is most frustrating but I can assure you it will be sorted out.”
He also sought to know from Ramokate what the reasons for cancelling the event were. “PS (Permanent Secretary) what is stopping this event to go ahead this weekend as planned?” he asked. Khama stated that “I have asked Kago why he or no one in the ministry advised me that the polka selection was cancelled for the 1st June.”
Assistant Minister Philip Makgalemele was also cast into the controversy. At one stage, Khama inquired from Makgalemele “if you are in town?”
Replying Makgalemele said, “Kago answer the Minister’s question. I also want to know why not? (Why the event did not go ahead as planned.”
Makgalemele then informed Khama that he had stated his view to which the latter responded thus “I appreciate and I agree; this is messing with people’s lives, by the way the ministry title is “Culture Development.”
Khama added “what part of that do the management not understand?”
According to Khama “This is the second time in three weeks that this ministry has not delivered on its mandate, Japan being the first. I will be meeting Kago as well as the executive to explain to you what standards I have that you will work to achieve.”
Khama warned that “this ministry will not be issuing apologies as a way of management, which is not up to my standards and is the reason things like this happen.”
The Sunday Standard has learnt that Ramokate is also dragging his legs to implement a recommendation by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) to suspend an employee at the Botswana National Archives and Records Centre. Approached for a comment, Khama sent a text message that reads thus, “Sorry, I can’t talk right now.”
Ramokate’s phone rang unanswered.