Assistant Minister of Agriculture shocked his staff members in Maun last week when he threw a temper tantrum after a staff member’s remark was lost in translation. Molebatsi had just addressed staff members and asked them to guess what he intended to say in his closing remarks. Several hands shot up, but none of them seemed to get it right. After sometime, a lady stood up from the audience and said her guess was that the minister wanted to bid them farewell, loosely translated: “Nna ke akanya gore o batla go re laela”. However it became evident that her statement did not go down well with the Minister, who misinterpreted the lady as saying the assistant minister was bidding them farewell, following his loss at the primary elections which were won by Trade and Industry Minister Dorcas Makgato-Malesu. To the amazement of the audience, he flew of the handle and had a go at the woman and launched a barrage of verbal attacks against her. “Who are you to say that to me?
Let me tell you something, in case you do not know. First and foremost you must understand that we are not in politics here, and this is not a freedom square where you can talk freestyle. You need to understand also that I am far much better than you. This is so because as you might know, I have accrued so much in life, not by virtue of me being Assistant Minister, but because I also have several businesses, amongst them two hotels which make millions of pula per month. What do you have to show? For all I know you might not even have a house to your name as we speak, and that my dear will take you years to put up, even if you had wished for the better. I am not someone to be meddled with-that you must all know”. The minister was in a foul mood and took it out on other staff members who stood up to ask questions during the question and answer session of the meeting. One staff member, Given Kaukauta told him that they felt his many meetings with them never bear any results.
Some staff members also decried the lack of equipment in most departments, thus forcing them at times to end up using their own money to buy things which should have been availed to them by their various departments. Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) staff complained that the lack of equipment demoralises them and that their job was demanding and therefore could not be likened to that of fuel attendants, who because of their readily available equipment are always on standby, waiting for customers to arrive so they serve them. In response, Molebatsi told them that none of them was forced to take up jobs at DVS and that they did so out of choice. “It is very immoral also to hear some of you boldly saying they pop out money from your pockets to buy government apparatus.
I personally don’t think our government is too broke to purchase such things, and we do so through District Agriculture Coordinators, who have all the authority to make purchases, and not you. We have money from the re-current budget all the time, and so cannot expect anyone of you to assist government financially. I am also surprised that my visits here have become an issue. You need to know that it is a fundamental requirement that I be here and meet you from time to time, so may you please do me justice and stop judging me”, he said.