Trouble has allegedly started brewing at the Ministry of Education and Skills Development between incumbent Minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi and Acting Minster Mokgweetsi Masisi as to who has the right and authority to control the Ministry.
The allegations were made by Botswana Congress Party (BCP) President Dumelang Saleshando at the weekend when launching the party’s candidate for Gaborone North, Motsei Rapelana.
Saleshando said he learnt about a recent incident from the same Ministry which painted a picture of a major government ministry lacking cohesion at its apex.
Saleshando claimed that Masisi allegedly told Moitoi that he had absolute authority to control the Ministry; something which was allegedly disputed by the latter.
“I learnt that the incident happened recently when Masisi was telling Venson-Moitoi not to make a scene and pave way for him so that he can occupy office at the Ministry but Moitoi told Masisi to back off since she was the substantive Minister,” he said.
Early this year President Khama appointed Venson-Moitoi to undertake a special assignment within the Ministry of Education and Skills Development while Masisi was appointed as the acting Minister for the same Ministry.
Saleshando added that “literally it was a spectacle to watch, I was told.”
On a related matter, Saleshando said his party has announced that it intends to have two Ministries for Education when it attains power. He accused President Khama of having contributed to the decline of examination results in schools.
“Since he took office in 2008 the examination results have plummeted and pass rate had declined,” he said. Saleshando said Gaborone North residents should cast their votes for Rapelana as she brings to Parliament a wealthy of experience.
“Even Rakhudu (BDP candidate and incumbent MP for Gaborone North) is aware of this. He should do the honourable thing and join the Music Industry and become a lead guitarist for Culture Spears,” he said. Saleshando said Khama has failed to find a substantive Presidential Affairs minister.
“When he took office, he appointed Dr Margret Nasha, she didnt last and she was replaced by Lesego Motsumi and later on Khama appointed Masisi and now he has appointed Shaw Kgathi as an Acting Minister,” he said. Saleshando said he has confidence in Rapelana as a competent individual adding that that is why he appointed her a minister of Presidential Affairs in BCP’s shadow cabinet.
“When we attain power after the upcoming elections I have no intention of replacing her as Presidential Affairs Minister in a short while,” said Saleshando.
Saleshando also did not have kind words for the Gaborone City mayor who is also Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) candidate for the same area, Haskins Nkaigwa saying he has failed to address issues affecting street vendors in Gaborone.
“When he is asked in the media if he is aware of vendors being harassed by bye-law officers or when their wares had been confiscated, his response is always the same; ‘I’m not aware,’” said Saleshando.
Contacted for comment, Masisi laughed off the allegations that he and Venson Moitoi were recently at loggerheads saying Saleshando’s comments showed that he is not ready to lead the nation.
“These are early indications of what should be expected should his party take over government. How can a leader who is ready to lead create and speared unsubstantiated allegations at a rally. He is totally embarrassing. That whole thing is hogwash. We are serious leaders and cannot engage in such petty issues,” he said.
Masisi added that, “what he is saying is shocking because nothing can be further from the truth. What kind of talks would he be involved in should he be allowed to lead? He is a pathetic, proverbial story teller.”
Contacted on Monday, Saleshando stood by his statement and described Masisi as an ‘embarrassed man.’ He insisted that “that is what I have heard (that Venson Motoi still occupies office at the Ministry of Education and is in control). Even you, you can go there you will find that Venson-Motoi is still occupying the office.”
On suggestion that Masisi has not taken his comments kindly, Saleshando added that “Masisi is the substantive office holder and obviously that embarrasses him. He has been allocated an office elsewhere. ”
Venson Moitoi was unavailable for comment.