The president of the Botswana National Front (BNF), Duma Boko, has called for a credible and independent Commission of Inquiry into the affairs of the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC), which he says should result in the ultimate punishment of all what has contributed to its muddle and mess.
Boko pointed out that if the Minister of Agriculture Christian De Graff lacks the decency and sense of shame to resign on his own, BNF calls upon President Ian Khama to relieve him of his duties as Minister of Agriculture. He also stated that BNF demands the reinstatement of the BMC regional offices as they served to keep BMC close to the people.
Boko further said that the government must also facilitate the establishment of Farmers Cooperatives to restore and also to ensure overall involvement by the main actors in the agricultural sector.
“Our country needs to build a diversified and integrated economy around its key resources so that the curse of poverty may be lifted from the lives of these submerged multitudes of its citizens,” said Boko.
He pointed out that BMC, as the major player in meat processing, occupies a key role in Botswana’s manufacturing sector. Boko observed that BMC is still, or was until the ruin it has been put to, the main buyer of cattle in Botswana. He further said that the very future of primary livestock depends upon an effective, transparent and well-managed domestic processing industry.
“Unfortunately the nation has for years had to contend, in relation to BMC, with endemic corruption, lack of accountability at both the political and managerial levels,” said Boko.
He also observed that a lot of failures have affected the living standards of most rural dwellers the best of whom now live at or below the level of bare subsistence farming. He stated that indigenous Batswana were shut out from the feedlot scheme under which BMC advanced funds to feedlot owners to enable them to supply cattle to BMC. Boko pointed out the fact that around eighty percent of BMC’s through put was from the small communal farmers.
“BMC was structured to favour the commercial farmer, De Graff, and his ilk. It bears no rehearsal here that the rural economy is still heavily dependent on agriculture, especially livestock,” he said.
Boko also observed that under two years, BMC has had at least four CEOs. He added that one of them, David Falepau, showed a thorough grasp of what he had to do and, in fact, called for a forensic audit of the affairs of BMC but was terminated in circumstances that can best be described as mysterious.