When is cabinet unable to represent government well to the point where the President has to take over the responsibility?
In July this year, the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) used its majority in parliament to reject a proposal to include Standing Orders question time for the President.
The basis of such rejection, it emerged, was that cabinet ministers were able to represent government well.
Be that as it may, it would appear President Ian Khama is not altogether satisfied with the performance of his ministers to deliver on their core mandates as dictated by the government of the day to a point where he has to personally be the driver of government non-government policy.
Khama continues with his pet projects, which would otherwise have been the responsibility of his cabinet ministers.
Presidential pet projects include the constituency league, which has drawn criticism from FIFA, the Ipelegeng Project being the President’s Appeal for the Needy whose intention is to have needy Batswana housed by 2016.
Ironically, the drivers of this presidential project from the Office of the President are not government employees, save for Colonel Duke Masilo.
The project is driven by motor magnate Satar Dada of the A.S Foundation and Paul Paledi of Paledi Morrison Partnership, as committee members.
Dada is the BDP treasurer.
Added to this, the project is widely supported by Batswana of Indian extraction in the Choppies Group, A.S Dada Foundation, Mohammed Dada, Rafig Sandar, Salim Sheik and Buy’n’Build.
Satar Dada is the ruling party’s treasurer while former President Festus Mogae is the chairman of the Choppies Group.
The Office of the President, however, has played down the initiative as “non partisan” saying all stakeholders are encouraged to come to the party.
“His Excellency’s initiative came about in recognition of the fact that indeed members of civil society and the private sector have been making a notable and constructive effort to build houses for the needy. The appeal’s goal is to give these efforts greater impetus and encourage others to come forward, as well as promote synergies within civil society and the private sector. I believe we all can agree that more can be accomplished by working together, drawing on each other’s experience and resources,” said Dr. Jeff Ramsay, the government spokesman in response to Sunday Standard enquiries.
Ramsay holds that the initiative can make a limited contribution to wider efforts to eradicate absolute poverty, which will ultimately require a much greater range of existing and new interventions, as well as a change in mindset that promotes self-empowerment.
Quizzed why such a project is not left to companies and civil society to steer under the ideals of Vision 2016 without the Office of the President, Ramsay said in recent years Khama, and government as a whole, have certainly been focusing on Vision 2016 holistically.
“This is perhaps best reflected in the incorporation of Vision 2016 commitments into Government’s outcomes based planning, most notably but not exclusively with respect to NDP 10,” he said.
Ramsay says the initiative “can make a limited contribution to wider efforts to eradicate absolute poverty, which will ultimately require a much greater range of existing and new interventions, as well as a change in mindset that promotes self-empowerment.”