Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Presidential PS pushed out?

The Permanent Secretary for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Newman Kahiya, has left the Office of the President (OP) amid speculation that he had been pushed out.

While denying that Kahiya was pushed out of his job, Presidential Affairs Minister Masisi confirmed that Kahiya is no longer a public servant.

“He voluntarily resigned because he was eligible for retirement age. He has reached the age that is eligible for retirement and he opted to retire. I signed his letter when he resigned,” said Masisi.

Masisi also denied reports that Kahiya was fired on Friday morning and then reinstated in the afternoon. Information gathered on Friday was that Kahiya was fired in the morning and reinstated in the afternoon.

Masisi was also not in a position to say whether Kahiya “resigned on Friday or on Thursday.”

But employees at the Office of the President told Sunday Standard that Kahiya was at the Office of the President and was in a meeting on Friday in the afternoon.

It is understood that Kahiya fell out with his bosses after Parliament rejected an OP budget proposal by Masisi.

“The OP was really embarrassed by the incident and as the accounting officer, Kahiya was supposed to have taken responsibility. The result is that Kahiya was shown the door,” said a source.
Masisi, had requested P195 million for “augmenting the Office of the President’s office space by either direct purchase or construction of office buildings”.

Members of Parliament did not take kindly to the use of the words ‘purchase’ and ‘construction’, saying the minister must justify why he needed P195 million. Kanye North MP, Kentse Rammidi, said Masisi was not clear on the use of the requested funds and only mentioned construction of additional office space.

Most MPs, including Tonota South MP, Pono Moatlhodi, supported Rammidi’s argument. Masisi had to withdraw the budget proposal for the OP, saying that he will consult the relevant people.
Immediate comment from Kahiya was not available as his mobile phone rang unanswered.

President Khama appointed Kahiya as permanent secretary for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration in 2011. Kahiya has been at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where his post will be taken over by the former ambassador to the United States of America.

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