Friday, December 3, 2021

Does President Khama have a job profile?

I want to believe a State president, just like all other public servants, or any other employee out there, has or must have a job profile. A job profile outlines the duties and responsibilities of the employee. It is a guideline on the expected duties and responsibilities of an employee.

A job profile comes in handy during the assessment and appraisal of an employee. According to Wikipedia, a job profile or job description is a list that a person has to use for general tasks, or functions and responsibilities of a position. I am therefore of the view each and every employee must have one. You earn remuneration with the expectation you will carry out all the duties and tasks as would be outlined in your job profile. Even the lowest ranking person in the employment hierarchy, must have a job profile. I know, in most cases, the job profile of the lowest ranking employee often ends with a clause that reads “or any other duty as may be required by your supervisor”. I also know it is this clause that creates room for abuse on bottom-ranked employees; hence officers are in the habit of sending gardeners and office cleaners on outward errands like going to buy fat cakes during tea breaks.

While these employees are sent to perform duties that are otherwise outside their scope of work, I want to believe the officers who send them, well at least those who have their brains in place, are always wary of the fact buying fat cakes comes secondary to the core or primary duties of gardeners and cleaners. In other words, gardeners and cleaners are assessed on how they mend the gardens and offices, respectively and not by how quickly they return from street vendors with those fat cakes. And please do note, I am only using gardeners and office cleaners as examples with no intended prejudice, malice or degradation. I use them as examples because it is no secret they are often abused and dispatched on these silly, menial errands.

Now, if such employees at the bottom of the public service structure can have job profiles, I don’t believe a president can just be ushered into that plush office and be told, “Your job is to do what you want, when you want and how you want”. Yes, I am very much aware that in the case of Ian Khama and that Ian Khama, it could be a special case with unique arrangements. I know very well that while all other previous presidents may have had job profiles, it may not be the same with Khama. Over time, since he became president and indeed even while he was still vice president, Khama never got the same treatment as all others who came before him.

While past presidents of this country behaved and carried themselves like public servants, Khama on the other hand has shown to be a god that must be served as he wishes. Assuming there is no job profile for State presidents in Botswana, it can’t be difficult to agree on what is expected of the president. You see, I had a chat over coffee with one respectable personality in our society and we so happened to talk about Khama’s performance as president. We were actually talking about his deafening silence in the midst of power outages that have become a common phenomenon in the country.

This wise man said something that got me thinking on what could be the reason Khama carries himself the way he does. He said the only way to tell when a leader, in any capacity, is failing in his mandate is when that leader starts to deviate from his primary duties and concentrate more on, and even usurp the duties of his juniors. That is what motivated me to pen this piece and ponder on whether Khama has a job profile that he follows in his presidential duties. Look, there is absolutely nothing wrong with Khama crisscrossing the country and meeting with ordinary people. There should be no problems with Khama visiting rural areas and doling out free blankets in this scorching hot. The only problem is that Khama has abandoned his primary duties and is now concentrating more on tasks that he should be doing during his free time.

It is my believe that attending United Nations General Meetings has to be the president’s primary duty, while the walkabouts in rural villages comes secondary in his roles and responsibilities as the country’s first citizen and chief representative. It is surprising that Khama has neglected his core duties of representing the country in the outside world and has instead elected to be a social worker when the government already has people employed to do what he is now doing. It is the duty of the social workers to check on the destitute people and provide them with shelter, food and clothing. The president should only come in to complement their work when he has no international engagements. Khama needs to be told that visiting each and every village and attempting to shake hands with all poor people in the country will take more than the years prescribed for him in office. If Khama’s intention is to shake hands with all the poor people in the country before he takes his core duties seriously, he will never get that time because poor people are just too many in this country and his BDP-led government continues to increase the number of such people.

If Khama had a job profile that guides him, he would know too well that he is the president of the whole country and not just rural Botswana. If he had a job profile, Khama would know that the country looks up to him during both turbulent and joyful times. A presidential job profile would have made Khama to accept and acknowledge that we are not his kith and kin to dance to all his tunes but rather, we are a nation made up of different people from different backgrounds with different ideas, hopes and expectations. Khama should know that his primary job is to represent the whole nation and not just the unemployed who flock his Kgotla meetings. Khama’s job description must make him realize and acknowledge that he has no choice but to accept all of us because, perhaps unlike Jeff Ramsay, we never chose to become Batswana.

[email protected] Twitter: @kuvuki

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