Sunday, May 29, 2022

“I am not going to resign” ÔÇô Matambo

The Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Kenneth Matambo, has said he is not about to resign his cabinet position.

Speaking to Sunday Standard, Matambo said he is not feeling the pressure.

He said he continues to do his job just as has been the case before a controversy erupted as a result of the Report by the Parliamentary Select Committee that investigated the Botswana Development Corporation.

Matambo is one of the people badly criticized by the report, in his capacity as the minister under whose portfolio BDC falls but also as a former Managing Director of BDC. Among other things, the report criticizes Matambo for taking sides with BDC management against the Board.

At one time, the minister removed from office a number of Board Directors just as they were about to institute disciplinary proceedings against Management, including the Managing Director.

This week, there was speculation that Matambo would resign from cabinet as discontent spread within the BDP ranks that the situation in cabinet had become untenable.

“Resignation from cabinet has never crossed my mind. In fact, I have no reason to resign. It has not occurred to me,” he said confidently.

He said at the moment he was busy doing the work as assigned him by the State President.

Speculation that Matambo would resign intensified after some BDP members of parliament had said at the party caucus that they were worried by the turn of events in cabinet.

Other than concerns raised by the Parliament Report on Matambo, BDP Members of Parliament are also worried that a junior minister, Vincent Seretse, has been allowed to keep his job despite corruption charges he faces. BDP Members of Parliament are saying this is affecting their ability to defend both the party and government.

It is not only Members of Parliament that are worried. Some of the party elders are also said to be worried that President Ian Khama could possibly be losing control of events, including the nation’s pulse.

A senior member of the BDP, who spoke to Sunday Standard on condition of anonymity, said recent events had caused President Khama to lose all the moral authority.

“He [Khama] is behaving like someone who is scared of acting on his ministers for fear that they could spill the beans. We are in a situation where it’s like ministers also know something about the President.”

Earlier this week, there were frantic efforts to assemble a high powered delegation to meet the President.

“Just why should this government fall trying to protect two ministers who are specially elected? It would make sense if the people we are protecting had brought something to our political fortunes as a party,” said a former minister.

Events have also provided fodder to the opposition parties.

Last week, the Leader of Botswana Congress Party, who was then the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Dumelang Saleshando, had called on Government to do something about corruption.

Arguing that Khama has a soft spot for corruption, Saleshando said ministers charged with corruption should resign as has always been the case with Khama’s predecessors.

Saleshando’s arguments were this week quashed when the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Mokgweetsi Masisi, disagreed.

“The Honourable former Leader of the Opposition has no authority to pronounce, either directly or by innuendo, on anyone’s guilt, much less sentence them by deciding their fate…We can acknowledge that there have been instances where, in the personal judgment of the affected individual and or the judgment of His Excellency the President, it was deemed appropriate for the individual to step aside in the absence of proven charges. But, let us also appreciate the fact that no two cases are ever alike.”

The minister said response in any situation should depend on the prevailing circumstances, such as the nature of the allegations and the portfolio responsibility of the Minister.

“There is an obvious difference between a situation in which allegations have arisen that may have a direct bearing on the exercise of responsibilities falling under one’s own portfolio, and any accusations that are extraneous to such duties,” said Masisi.

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