Education Minister, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, and Presidential Affairs Minister, Lesego Motsumi, are Botswana’s worst performing ministers, according to Vice President Mompati Merafhe’s Cabinet performance review and appraisal report for the second half of 2010.
Lt .Gen. Merafhe is responsible for the review of the performance of ministries every six months. In his latest report, Merafhe ranked the Ministry of Education as the worst for the six months to December 2010.
This is the period during which the ministry was mired in controversy. In the last half of 2010, the long simmering tensions between the ministry and the teacher unions escalated into a national crisis with teachers refusing to invigilate and mark secondary school examinations. This plunged the national examinations into a controversy and their credibility and integrity are currently being questioned by a number of stakeholders and education opinion leaders.
Moitoi-Venson, however, inherited a cesspool of corruption, sleaze and inefficiency at the Ministry of Education. A report compiled in 2008 noted among others that the quality of Education in Botswana was on the decline.
The report stated that there was growing public dissatisfaction with the ministry’s failure to monitor its field operations.
The ministry has been criticized for poor financial management structures despite the fact that government invests a third of its budget in the Education sector.
Experts have even opined that there is an urgent need for the ministry to render a cost benefit account of the budget largesse.
The ministry of Education has also been blamed for failing to clamp down on corruption .At one point, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) settled at the ministry’s headquarters for months.
Lesego Motsumi’s Ministry of Presidential Affairs, which is responsible for the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM), was ranked the second worst performing ministry.
Motsumi is believed to have slept on the job and failed to respond to calls for the implementation of the new Public Service Act. Because of the late implementation of the Act, government has been forced to freeze any new posts within the Public Service as it diverts funds to paying public sector employees’ back pays arising from the implementation of the new Act.
At some point Botswana Democratic Party Chairman, Daniel Kwelagobe, had to intervene and facilitate a last minute deal with unions to avert an industrial action that threatened to disrupt the operations of the public service.
Before he was dropped from cabinet Daniel Kwelagobe is also reported to have been one of those ministers who used to get poor grades from the Vice President. BDP insiders, however, attributed this to his rivalry with Merafhe.
Union leader, Andrew Motsamai, singled out Motsumi as responsible for the collapse in talks between government and the union, which almost resulted in industrial action. In an interview with our sister paper, the Sunday Standard last year, Motsamai said it was clear from the minister’s cavalier attitude to unions that she did not take their threat seriously. Motsamai said they had consistently asked for a hearing with Motsumi, but she would not meet them.
By the close of last year, the country’s corridors of power were abuzz with rumours that Motsumi might be dropped from Cabinet and redeployed as a diplomat in India.
In an interview with The Telegraph Venson-Moitoi confirmed that she was aware of the report prepared by Merafhe and that she had been ranked the least performing.
“I am aware of the report but my comment is not for the public,” said Venson-Moitoi.
“They know what I said and my comment is not public.”
She refused to discuss her plan to turn her ministry around.
“Assessment of employees by employer is confidential….you are intruding,” she stated.
Contacted for comment, Motsumi demanded to know how The Telegraph had accessed the report.
“Where did you get it…I can’t discuss this issue,” she said.