Thursday, March 4, 2021

Mokaila, Tshekedi accused of nepotism following appointment of ex soldiers

Former Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism Kitso Mokaila and the current Minister Tshekedi Khama have been accused of bending rules to appoint former soldiers, one a Standard Seven drop out and another a diploma holder to posts that required a university degree. The duo Timmy Blackbeard and Petros Manyemba come from the same constituencies (Serowe and Borolong) as the two Ministers. Manyemba was hired when Mokaila was still the Minister while Blackbeard was hired last year after President Ian Khama appointed his younger brother as Environment, Wildlife and Tourism Minister. The pair was head hunted and their posts were never advertised as is the norm at the government enclave. “The two ministers come from Serowe and Borolong regions, so are the two officials in that department who are former soldiers. Manyemba was appointed while Mokaila was still the Minister that the department falls under while Blackbeard was appointed after Tshekedi Khama took office. There is a strong claim that the two Ministers were influential in the appointments of the two men,” said a source. Responding to Sunday Standard queries, the Department of Wildlife and National Parks Director, Dr Oduetse Koboto parried claims the two ministers were influential in the appointment of the two officers. “All appointments for the department are done by the Permanent Secretary as the Appointing Authority,” said Koboto. Asked why the positions currently held by the two officers were not advertised and why some officers within the department were overlooked when the duo was appointed, Koboto said there was nothing wrong with the appointment of the two men. “Head hunting is an acceptable practice in government where we consider not only the academic qualifications but also work related skills. In their previous service in government, the officers had progressed beyond the levels of entry requirements and demonstrated sufficient proficiencies to perform at such higher levels,” he said. According to Koboto, at the time of the two men’s recruitment there were no officers with the skills that they possess. The current positions held by the two officers are as follows: Blackbeard ÔÇô Chief Wildlife Officer (Head of Law Enforcement Division), Col Manyemba ÔÇô Principal Wildlife Officer I (Anti Poaching Unit Commander). Asked to state the academic qualifications of the two former BDF solders, Koboto said Blackbeard has Std VII (standard seven) while Manyemba has a Diploma. Sources say the positions require a university degree. “As already indicated above, these officers were recruited based on their skills and experience in military and not academic qualifications. Above all they had already progressed beyond entry levels in their previous service,” said Koboto. He said retired Col Manyemba joined the Department on the 11th July 2011 while Blackbeard joined on 2nd September 2013. On allegations that staff morale within the department is low as some officers believe that they were overlooked, Koboto said, “Morale has been low in the Department attributed to the conditions of service.” However, Koboto said, staff morale has improved following a decision to upgrade lower cadres effective 1st April 2014. “Currently the Department is in the process of finalising conditions of service as a package that will address welfare issues for the entire department,” he said. Contacted, Khama declined to comment saying “I’m not in Gaborone; we will talk when I come back,” while Mokaila sent a phone text message which reads thus, “I’m driving.”

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