A whispered campaign by cabinet to purge parastatals and staff them with Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) functionaries is feared to be more sweeping than previously thought.
The latest casualty in the Cabinet’s Tony Soprano ÔÇô like approach to human resources is the Chief Executive of the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) Dr Patrick Molotsi.
Dr Molutsi who is associated with opposition politics will be replaced by Dr Raphael Dingalo, a BDP activist.
Until recently, Dr Dingalo was a Board member of HRDC, before resigning abruptly to apply for Dr Molutsi’s post.
Sunday Standard can confirm that Dr Dingalo is now the front runner among those who have been shortlisted to head HRDC.
The HRDC Board is however not been happy with the shortlist. As a result the recruiting agency has re advertised the post, to the chagrin of some Cabinet ministers who are rooting for Dr Dingalo’s appointment.
Two successive HRDC boards had recommended that Dr Molotsi be allowed to serve two more years as CEO to see through the transition from the organization that was formerly called the Tertiary Education Council.
The Minister of Education, Unity Dow had made an undertaking that Dr Molutsi’s services at HRDC would be needed for at least two more years.
In a curious turn of events, Dr Molotsi lat last year received a surprise letter from the minister advising him to serve a three months notice up to December, 2015.
Just as he was clearing his desk, Dr Molotsi received another letter in December from the minister asking him to stay for a further three months up to end of March this year.
“Dr Molotsi was expected to serve at least two more years as part of the transition from the former Tertiary Education Council to HRDC. That much was accepted by the Board but also by the minister. What has happened with him is a classical case of constructive dismissal,” a member of the Board confided to Sunday Standard.
Dr Molutsi’s curious exit is believed to be part of a BDP whispered campaign to purge parastatal executives whose political affiliation are not trusted by the ruling party.
The purge is believed to be more sweeping than previously thought, sending shivers across the parastatal leadership.
News of a BDP plan to staff the country’s parastatal with a cohort of party faithful first surfaced recently after the Chief Executive of the Motor Accident Fund; Cross Kgosidiile was relieved of his duties following a cabinet meeting at which one minister is said to have alleged that Kgosidiile was a staunch opposition supporter. Protests from other ministers could not save Kgosidiile.
Following the meeting a decision was taken that henceforth, Chief Executives of parastatals and other Government companies had to show more than their BDP membership.
They are now expected to prove in detail what they have done to advance the causes of the party.
A former sociology lecturer at the University of Botswana, Dr Molotsi is one of the country’s foremost scholars, researchers, administrators and academics. He has previously worked as Executive Director of Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) in Stockholm, Sweden.
Molotsi openly acknowledges his opposition leanings, but insists that his professionalism has always come first.
“My politics have never been a secret. Even when I was first employed here, all my immediate supervisors ÔÇô in the board and at ministerial levels knew my politics. I have always been an opposition sympathizer, but they had the faith that I would never do anything to undermine the government and country. It is there in the Hansard that some ruling party politicians have in the past publicly called me an advisor to the late Dr Kenneth Koma. But still I have never done anything political to undermine this Government,” he said in an interview with the Sunday Standard.
While Molotsi is quick to give his employers the benefit of doubt, it has not escaped his attention that his counterpart at Botswana Qualification Authority has not been subjected to the same treatment. Together with HRDC, Botswana Qualification Authority is an offshoot of TEC.
Another Chief Executive Officer whose job is said to be on line is Professor Brian Mokopakgosi of the Botswana Examinations Council.
The manner in which Dingalo has been preferred to head HRDC has a precedent.
The current Vice Chancellor of the University of Botswana, Professor Thabo Fako was picked even as he was not among the shortlisted candidates. He was not even among the top four. Dr Fako has attended so closed BDP meetings and is believed to be sympathetic to the ruling party.
The man who topped the list to become Vice Chancellor after the interviews had been conducted was Professor Brian Mokopakgosi who is, incidentally, today hanging to his job at the Botswana Examinations Council.