Former University of Botswana academic and Botswana Democratic Party’s Culture and Publicity sub-committee member, Dr Raphael Dingalo, has suspended political activity to take up the position of Director of Policy Research and Development in the Office of the President.
Information reaching The Sunday Standard indicates that the BDP is already looking to appoint individuals to the positions in which Dr. Dingalo was serving while he was an active member of the BDP.
Last year, The Sunday Standard exposed the Office of the President’s intention to appoint Dingalo to the plum post, where he would work hand in hand with the coordinator of government communication information systems (GCIS) Jeff Ramsay.
At the time, The Sunday Standard indicated that Dingalo’s appointment was already a given and it was only a matter of time before it is officially announced.
Ramsay could neither confirm nor deny the appointment at the time, saying that like all appointments to senior government positions, Dingalo’s appointment would be officially announced once it had been confirmed.
The appointment came to fruition earlier this month with a communiqu├® from the OP.
“This Office is happy to announce confirmation of the appointment of Dr. Raphael Dingalo as Director, Policy Research and Development within the Botswana Government Communication and Information System (BGCIS).┬á Dr. Dingalo brings to the position both his professional credentials and demonstrated record of achievement in interdisciplinary research, most recently as Deputy Director at the Center for Academic Development, Academic Program Review Unit of the University of Botswana,” read the OP release.
Dingalo had earlier indicated that if appointed he would enjoy working at the Office of the President. He also maintained that he would be up to the task as he has a PhD in policy. He has also been actively involved in media issues for a number of years, having in the past served as the Chairperson of the Press Council of Botswana’s Complaints Committee.
“I have no qualms about taking up such a demanding appointment,” he said at the time.
Asked if his active involvement in BDP politics would not compromise his appointment, Dingalo said that he would readily suspend BDP membership if he were appointed. Apart from his membership of the culture and publicity sub-committee, Dingalo was also one of the contenders for the Shoshong constituency but later dropped out of the race.
“Government bars public servants from active involvement in politics and I will readily suspend my activism in the BDP if I am appointed,” he said. With apparent reference to former Gaborone Mayor Nelson Ramaotwana, Dingalo also pointed out that members of the opposition have in the past resigned from their parties and joined the public service.
This week Dingalo confirmed that he had suspended his active involvement in BDP politics as per the regulations governing civil servants. However, he has not resigned from the ruling party.
BDP Executive Secretary Comma Serema confirmed this week that Dingalo had indeed informed them of his hiatus from BDP politics. He also announced that they are looking to appoint other people to the committees in which Dingalo was serving.
While still an active BDP member Dingalo went head to head with Molepolole South constituency chairman, Kabo Morwaeng, over the motion calling for the suspension of the central committee elections. Dingalo was of the view that the central committee elections should be suspended to allow the party to adequately prepare for the 2009 general elections. His motion caused a stir within the BDP, with some supporting him, while others, like Morwaeng, said that the party should hold elections. Morwaeng would later be quoted shooting salvos at the proponents of the postponement of the elections.
The Botswana Democratic Party central committee later gave him a reprieve when they suspended his unconditional 12-month suspension from the party after he was found guilty of using derogatory language and making unsavory comments.