Government officials were this week tight-lipped on reports that President Ian Khama’s recent appointment of Kenneth Matambo as the acting Minister of Finance and Development is illegal.
The Act that regulates the number of Cabinet ministers ÔÇô Ministerial Offices (maximum) number Cap 02:02 places a ceiling of 16 full ministers and 8 assistants on the number that can be appointed by the President. The act was last amended in 2002.
Matambo has been appointed acting Minister for four months while the substantive minister, Baledzi Gaolathe, is on paid sick leave. This puts the total number of full ministers at 17, which is more that the maximum stipulated number.
The Minister of Presidential Affairs, Margaret Nasha, would not comment on the issue, referring all queries to the Attorney General’s Chambers. Public Relations Officer at the Attorney Generals Chambers, Abigail Hlabano, would also not comment on the issue. The Attorney General, Athaliah Molokomme, on the other hand could not be reached for comment.
The Office of the President issued a press statement last week that President Khama had “granted the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Baledzi Gaolathe, sick leave on full pay.”
The press statement further stated that, “consequently, His Excellency has, in the exercise of the powers conferred upon him by Section 42(3) (1) of the Constitution as read with section 127 (6) of the Constitution, appointed Ontefetse Kenneth Matambo as the Acting Minister of Finance.”
Matambo’s acting appointment took effect yesterday (Saturday August 1, 2009) and will be for a maximum period of four months, in accordance with Section 43 of the Constitution.