Members of Parliament (MPs) on Monday questioned the criterion that was used to appoint former Assistant Minister in the Ministry of Local Government Olebile Gaborone to Office of President (OP) after losing the 2014 general elections to Umbrella for Democratic Change.
Gaborone has been appointed the coordinator of poverty eradication in the Office of the President since January 2015.
Gaborone, who for two terms, 2004 and 2009, won the Tlokweng constituency through the Botswana National Front (BNF),defected to the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) after losing the BNF presidency in 2010.
Last year he lost the constituency to Same Bathobakae of the UDC.
MP for Francistown South Wynter Mmolotsi wanted to know from the Minister in the Office of the President Eric Molale, where and when the post of Coordinator – Poverty Eradication in which Gaborone was appointed advertised. Mmolotsi also asked the Minister to state how many people applied for the position and whether the interviews were conducted. If so, when.
Molale argued that the recruitment process in the public service allows for advertising of positions or direct appointment through head hunting.
“In this particular instance the position of coordinator Poverty Eradication was filled through head hunting,” said Molale.
But Mmolotsi was not amused by the Minister’s answer. He wondered how it has been that so far only BDP members that lost elections are the ones always favoured by head hunting.
“Why is the nation left out on this head hunting process? Do those who are head hunted have qualifications that are relevant to the posts they are appointed to?” Mmolotsi asked challenging the Minister to explain whether only the Office of the President accommodates the Members of the BDP who lost elections.
“I am of the view that whoever is responsible for these appoints abuses their power.” he said.
Molale said the head hunting process does not mean that any individual can be picked.
“When we do the head hunting we do not just pick, we look at the capabilities and the skills that the person who is being head hunted possesses. It is not just a matter of picking and placing. For the Poverty Eradication position, we wanted somebody who was in managerial position before and the current person holding the position worked as manager before going into politics,” said Molale refuting that;
there was no element of abuse of power when appointing Gaborone.
“There are examples of people who came from the opposition side who have been appointed using the head hunting process. I am not going to mention any names in Parliament in respect to the standing orders,” the Minister said.
Mmolotsi said Molale was misleading the nation when he said at one point Members of the opposition were head hunted into government positions. “The Minister is misleading the nation. For him to say at one point Members of the opposition were appointed to positions through head hunting is not true. We want him to provide names to say these are the names of the Members of the Opposition that we head hunted and appointed to positions.”
Gabane-Mankgodi MP Pius Mokgware further tasked Molale to explain to Parliament the special capabilities and skills that the concerned name has which warranted head hunting.
“The Minister has made allegations that there are some members of the opposition who have been head hunted. He must bring evidence to parliament to support his statement,” Mokgware said.
However the Deputy National Speaker Kagiso Molatlhegi ruled that the standing orders does do not allow parliament to discuss names of individual who are not at Parliament at the time of debate.