Thursday, September 24, 2020

Khama wins against PEEPA Board as Galeforolwe gets his job back

After weeks of uncertainty, Joshua Galeforolwe has taken back his position as Chief Executive of the government privatization agency PEEPA.

The stand off between cabinet and the PEEPA Board was resolved this week after a lot of behind the scenes face saving trade offs.

As part of the deal, the Board will be allowed to employ a high key executive (Chief operations Officer) who shall work hand in hand with Galeforolwe going forward to implement the privatization mandate.

The compromise position will also see the rules and terms, published two months ago under which BTC (Botswana Telecommunications Corporation) and Air Botswana will be privatized, re-written.
This is because the Board feel they were not part of the process, which they charge was an exclusive brainchild of Galeforolwe.

The compromise came about after Vice President Ian Khama made it abundantly clear to the PEEPA Board that cabinet could not be forced to climb down on its directive by directors.

On one hand, the PPEPA Chairman and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, together with his right hand man, Parks Tafa, advised Khama and President Festus Mogae that, going forward, they were not convinced Galeforolwe is the right man for the increasingly technical aspects of privatization.
That notwithstanding, cabinet did not want to be seen to be giving in to demands of the PEEPA Board, made up largely of government representatives.

On the other hand, the Board also did not want to be seen to have lost the tussle given that they strongly feel they are on the right side of the law.

Sunday Standard sources inside government say, in the end, President Festus Mogae called for restraint on all the parties, and said whatever decision finally prevails the rule of law be observed.
PEEPA falls under the ambit of the Ministry of Finance.

But he complained that they are not altogether happy with the commitment Galeforolwe has made on behalf of PEEPA to privatize Botswana Telecommunications Corporation, especially with regard to what they say unrealistic deadlines and shareholding rules.

But, in the end, cabinet emerged victorious as their choice of PEEPA CEO got the job.
The past three weeks brought a series of drama at PEEPA after it emerged that by reappointing Galeforolwe, cabinet had actually usurped what is the Board prerogative.

A group of board members, among them former permanent Secretary, Morago Ngidi, and Botswana Housing Corporation Chief Executive, Reginald Motswaiso, resigned.

This week the Minister of Finance, Baledzi Gaolathe, pleaded with some members of the board to retract their resignations.

While three had come back, it was not clear at the time of going to press if Ngidi had also agreed to rejoin PEEPA.

An insider of the episode confirmed to Sunday Standard that Vice President Ian Khama stood his ground that he would not allow a cabinet directive to be flouted by the board.

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