Thursday, September 24, 2020

“Kenneth Dipholo has PHD mentality”

It is patently clear that Kenneth Dipholo has a pull him down (PhD) mentality towards President Ian Khama. I have read most, if not all, his articles in the media in which he portrayed Khama as a failure. There is nothing wrong with this observation; however, his latest article in the Sunday Standard titled “Same tired expectations, blatant intimidation and naked rhetoric” exposes the PHD syndrome in him.

I will ignore with contempt his baseless “expectations” the citizens are alleged to have had in President Khama, which never materialized and proceed to deal, firstly, with the issue of Khama’s alleged failure to prop up project implementation whilst Vice president.

Granted, the arrangement where he reported to the President and nobody else was flawed in that even the good progress he was making would not be known by the public. However, those of us who were in regular contact with him in these assignments would attest to the appreciable contribution and progress he made. The problem is that project implementation was not observed a few years ago as Dipholo would want us believe, rather, it’s a problem that comes over many years and had become entrenched in the culture of the public service.

When Khama came in, he managed to instill a sense of urgency, especially amongst the top management of the public service. He caused re-engineering of problematic processes which hindered service delivery. Some of these included procurement processes which, in most cases, contributed significantly to delayed project commencement. The decentralization of some financial disbursement procedures that used to be the domain of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning is one such area which with hindsight is clearly a big improvement. He made public servants know that it would be wrong for pensioners to receive their allowances late simply because the Pensions vehicle was broken down, yet there was a Land Board or Council vehicle idle, the reason then being that central government vehicles could not be used by Council/Land Board and vice-versa. There are many more such interventions he came up with. However, due to the big size of the public service and the entrenched culture of business as usual, the improvements could not as yet lead to discernible and tangible results to the ordinary man on the street. But those within the system know fully well of the changes taking place and the performance level is better than that of yester-years.

Now, what Khama is saying is that as a public service, we have to consolidate our gains and increase pace so that this time around the fruits of all these interventions could yield tangible results that could be realized by the man on the street. This is perfectly in order and has nothing to do with Khama unrealistically increasing our expectations of him as Dipholo asserts.

It has to be understood that our public service is reasonably well educated and skilled in the jobs they do. I can also safely state that in terms of resources, the public service in Botswana is generally well resourced. The ICT infrastructure is new but being extended to government offices at reasonably fast pace. As for computers, even the Industrial class are being given computers and taught basic skills to use computers to enhance their work. The salaries may not be what we would want, but are not below the average by standards of developing countries.

Performance reforms have been and are being cascaded to all public servants, and with all these, including democratic culture and stable economy, would it be demanding too much to expect commensurate service delivery. We can theorise and come up with sugar-coated philosophies to justify lackadaisical performance, but the bottom-line is that in addition to the above initiatives, somebody has to instill a desired work culture, including taking disciplinary measures on those not prepared to serve.

And this is not intimidation as Dipholo laments. It is just a reminder that a contract exists between two parties and either party is obliged to live by the conditions of the contract. This is not rhetoric alluded to by Dipholo. It is simply a case of a leader who is focused on what he expects himself and the nation to achieve, and surprisingly, Dipholo is not happy about this, an example of PHD syndrome at play.

Along his maliciously muddled article, Dipholo gives an impression that those who are rich got their wealth through unconventional means but does not elaborate. This is yet another typical example of the cancerous PHD syndrome. Dipholo should work harder and smarter to achieve his goals and stop harbouring jealousies against those who were disciplined in their work and private lives and managed to be where they are in terms wealth.

In conclusion, the real problems facing us as a nation cannot and will not be solved by vacuous textbook theories and philosophies like “people need a soft and sober approach that will awaken their will and abilities to perform at the highest level…” which Dipholo and his ilk are so fond of and recite at the least provocation. We need real and practical solutions because our problems are real and practical.

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