The merging of the Local Police Service (LPS) and the Botswana Police service seems to be providing more problems than the intended solutions as some Tribal administration secretaries and clericals are complaining that some Local Police officers are taking over their jobs.
The secretaries said some Local Police officers, either in fear of their criminal backgrounds or just out of dislike of merging with the Botswana Police Service, are now flooding into the administrative service and taking over their duties.
It is alleged that more than 5 Local Police Service officers who have been working at Local Police Service headquarters have now taken some posts within the Tribal Administration, which could otherwise been filled by Tribal administration secretaries and clericals.
All the alleged police officers are supposed to have started their new posts beginning of May.
The Public Relations Officer of Local Police Service, Mr. Mmolawa Phuthego, confirmed that indeed “It is true, 5 members of the Local Police Officers were appointed to fill up posts which were created to strengthen the Ministry of Local Government Public Relations unit and the entire administration of Tribal Administration.”
He said the appointments were made after the creation of some posts by the Ministry of Local Government.
“What is most antagonizing about these new developments is that there is no proper procedure followed in redeploying these officers. Normally if there is a vacant post within the administration service or any government organization, there is a promotion of an existing officer, if there is no existing officer qualifying for the job then an internal advertisement is made to which if no one within the tribal administration qualifies for the job then an external advertisement is made to the general public.”
A source who asked anonymity for security reasons expressed grief.
He said none of the above procedures were followed in these cases, saying that this shows foul play.
Phuthego, however, denied any foul play saying, “Appointment was done internally after careful assessment of all competencies and skills of members of Tribal administration staff (Local Police included).”
Another source, who also asked to remain anonymous, said that there was no transparency in appointing these officers, saying that there is something sneaky at the Local Police headquarters.
“What raises eyebrows is that all the recently appointed officers have been working at the Local Police Service Headquarters, which means that there was some favoritism in choosing them. If proper procedures had been followed, there could at least be different officers from all corners of Botswana.”
The source also wondered whether what had transpired should be referred to as a promotion or redeployment because, if it were a promotion, then they should previously have been doing secretarial duties or serving as clericals within the Tribal administration. He said what worries them is that the officers have all been given higher posts, giving an instance of a police officer who was formerly a sergeant on C2 scale but was redeployed as an Information Technology officer on C4 scale.
“It is also disappointing that most of these officers do not qualify for their new posts whilst there are many officers within the Tribal Administration service who qualify for the posts. It clearly shows that there was foul play.”
However, Phuthego stated that the rightful recruiting procedure was followed looking at the qualifications and competence of a candidate.
“There was no need to advertise the posts as there were already qualifying officers in the department,” he said.
In their bid to secure their future and thwart the taking over of their duties by Local Police Service officers, the Tribal Administration secretaries and clericals through their association of Botswana Tribal Administration Service Association (BOTASA) has consulted the Gaborone Central legislature Mr. Dumelang Saleshando to raise the issue at parliament and also help them in tackling the matter.
Saleshando confirmed to the Sunday Standard that he received a complaint from Tribal Administration officers sometime during the week of 18th-24th May. He said the officers were complaining, among other things, about the scheme of service which spells out officer’s responsibilities and helps in indicating area of progression and promotion.
“They also complained that there are promotions within the Tribal Administration yet they don’t know how they are done and they sometimes write letters for promotion which never get feedback, but then other people who didn’t go for interviews are promoted,” said Saleshando.
Saleshando said the Tribal Administration officers also complained of nepotism at the Tribal Administration Headquarters whereby relatives are given preference over other candidates.
The prominent Gaborone Central legislature says he intends to speak to the Minister of Local Government and find out if she knows about the issues then he will make a Parliamentary questioning.
Another complaint raised by the secretaries and the Tribal administration clericals is that the Public Relations Office of the Local Police Service is headed by a uniformed police officer who takes orders from the Local Police Service Director, Mrs. Sekwati, yet it claims to represent the interests of the Tribal Administration clericals. They said there are no consultations with BOTASA hence the loopholes.
But Phuthego refuted the complaint and said the Public Relations Office is there for the interests of the department as a whole not for any particular unit or service.
In yet another complaint, the secretaries questioned the recruiting procedure within the Tribal Administration, giving an instance whereby they had to protest an interview that was made in April 2009. Their main cause for the protest being that on February 2009, there were promotions of some officers from the headquarters without any interviews. They claim the interview was stopped by Sekwati, the director of Tribal Administration, under the pretext of addressing the matter, which remains not done up to now.
Conversely, Phuthego rebuffed the allegations saying he is “unaware about people employed without interviews. It can’t happen. We don’t hand pick people from the streets.”