Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Gov’t mulls creating permanent role for First Lady

Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Nonofo Molefhi has said that the government is considering having a permanent office for the First Lady.

 Currently the first lady does not have a salary and allowance and only relies on donations to carry out her charity and ceremonial activities.

“We have not yet considered such a move. The development involves a string of interventions including benchmarking with other countries among others,” said Molefhi.

He added that “At the moment yes I acknowledge the First Lady is without a permanent job to sustain her livelihood relying only on donations to even pursue her charity and ceremonial public works.”

According to Molefhi the government “will have to consider such suggestion,” suggesting that the First Lady will have a permanent office in the near future.

He was responding to a question from Member of Parliament Dithapelo Keorapetse who had expressed concern that the First Lady was engaged in charity works without a salary and allowance.

“Do you want the First Lady to render her services for free having sacrificed her job and time for the public good?” he asked. 

Replying, Molefhi said “I do agree with the noble services rendered by the First Lady. But like I said we will look into the matter to see the way forward.”

The First Lady Neo Masisi assumed her position following the ascendency to the highest office in the land by her husband President Mokgweetsi Masisi in April this year.

She was forced to quit her job at the United Nations so that she could do her charity work as the First Lady as is the norm across the world.

“This scenario obtains in some if not most of the world,” Molefhi said referring to charity work and ceremonial activities without a monthly salary and allowance.

Botswana had seen four First Ladies during since independence from Britain in 1966. It was only during the immediate former President Ian Khama’s administration that there was no First Lady because he did not have a wife.

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