The Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board (BAMB) has axed chief executive officer (CEO), Leonard Morakaladi under dubious circumstances.
Sources close to BAMB board room reveal that clandestine meetings at BAMB to undermine management progress have a bearing on his sacking. Acting Board Chairperson Ruth Mphathi comes out as the alleged invisible hand behind the decision.
In a letter dated 24 February 2021, Mphathi warned Morakaladi that his contract is ending 28th February 2021 despite the contract being left with 2 years.
“This serves to inform you that your employment contract as approved by the Ministry of Agriculture is ending 28th February 2021.The Board acknowledges that in terms of the contract signed with yourself, the duration of the contract is from the 5th March 2018 to the 4th March 2021 and based on the aforementioned your last working day is the 26th February 2021,” read part of the letter.
Those closer to BAMB Boardroom brawl revealed that the acting Board Chairperson has long hatched a plan to remove Morakaladi from office.
The source revealed that Mphathi has been with the Board for over 7 years and during that period BAMB was making a loss, until Morakaladi took over and they seem to be jealousy with tension between the two.
“The current acting Board Chair has been with BAMB for a very long time and what angered her is Morakaladi’s leadership style. The source said Mphathi was angered by Morakaladi’s introduction of Surveillance camera’s and other stringent measures that make it difficult for sorghum theft and corruption across BAMB branches country wide,’’ said the source.
The source further reveals that following Morakaladi’s business model BAMB made some strides by making profits and all those closer/or connected to Mphathi never had an opportunity to milk the organizations like they did before by way of winning transportation tenders because all stringent measures were put in place to avoid the organization to operate at a loss.
When contacted for comment, the newly appointed acting Board Chairperson, Mphathi denied any tense relationship with the CEO.
She would not discuss any contract termination “with the media as the matter is confidential.”
The past Board Chairperson Dr. Semolekae during an interview with this publication revealed and acknowledged that Morakaladi’s leadership style had brought good changes in the board except one person who was uncomfortable with the changes.
She said that person would not allow Morakaladi to survive at BAMB.
The Telegraph is in possession of documents from BAMB Human Resources Committee recommending Morakaladi’s contract extension.
In a letter dated 8th October 2019, ref 4.3 274 C 1(26) to BAMB Board Chairperson, the letter from Gone Madisa – Kgwarae recommended for the review of employment on fixed term contract for CEO on contract of employment.
The letter reads: Reference is made to the revised BAMB Conditions of service approved by the Board of Directors on the 18th July 2019.
“The Board revised the employment on a fixed term contract for the Chief executive officer from three (3) to five (5) year term. Therefore, I recommend that the current CEO’s contract of employment be revised to run for five years ending 4th March 2023 instead of 4th March 2021,’’read another letter.
The then Chairperson of the Board, Dr Semookae wrote a letter on the 19th November 2019, informing the current CEO that BAMB board of directors has extended his contract.
“This letter serves to inform you that BAMB Board of directors has amended your contract of employment from three years to five years contract as per Revised BAMB conditions of service clause 3.8.1,’’ said Somolokae.
When contacted for comment Minister of Agriculture was economical with the truth and referred all inquiries to Permanent Secretary, Jimmy Opelo.
Permanent Secretary Jimmy Opelo in the Ministry of Agriculture Jimmy Opelo confirmed being aware of Morakaladi’s dismissal from work arguing that issues of employment contract are between employer and employee relations and cannot be discussed with the media.