Friday, July 12, 2024

The nation clamours for a reshuffle ÔÇô but what is there to reshuffle?

As we speak, the entire media class is abuzz with news of an impending cabinet reshuffle.

For it to serve any purpose, a cabinet reshuffle, we want to believe, entails knocking down a few heads off the big cabinet desk, rewarding and promoting a few deserving star performers, inviting to the top table a few new souls that hold the biggest promises while putting straight to the fire the irredeemable.

A cabinet reshuffle is the most portent weapon any president has at his disposal to remind those around him that ultimately he is the one in charge.

A reshuffle is an instrument any president uses not only to spread largesse but, perhaps more importantly, to drive home the point ÔÇô at least once in a while ÔÇô that he owes nobody a job.

It is a vehicle the big man uses to send a subtle but powerful message to the nation that continued stay inside his inner circle will only be justified by continued sterling performance.

A cabinet reshuffle, if it is not a phony one, should send a clear and unambiguous message that people remain in government for the unique talents and skills they bring to the top table; not for connections and certainly not for debts they are owed from the past.

It’s a painful and miserable undertaking.

There is no pleasure to be derived from implementing a cabinet reshuffle ÔÇô not even for a battle hardened and calculating leader such as our state president.

One does not have to do any thorough skills audit to see that the president does not have any big pool of talent from which to reinforce his team.

When you look at the souls that occupy the BDP backbenches, at the caliber and quality that the President has at his disposal, one cannot help but hang their head in shame at how low the standards have sunk.

President Ian Khama is too thinly spread on the ground.

Whatever arsenal there is in his armour, he has already deployed, committed, depleted or still has issues to grind with them before becoming his ministers.

Take Daniel Kwelagobe, for example. What chances are there of Kwelagobe going back into cabinet?

Having tasted the pleasures of unencumbered influence and unaccountable power he has had since resigning from cabinet, it is very unlikely that Kwelagobe will be in a rush to go back into cabinet where he will be expected to be answerable to someone; not soon and certainly not when his nemesis, Vice President Mompati Merafhe, is still around and is expected to once again start barking orders at him.

To make matters worse, the split of the ruling party last year has also brutally limited the President’s room for maneuver.

In a very big way, the BMD breakaway has set the BDP adrift.

Except for Mokgweetsi Masisi, Kentse Rammidi and Mbiganyi Tibone, I honestly cannot think of any one junior minister who deserves promotion.

Once in cabinet, Keletso Rakhudu, a star performer during his days in the back benches now seems like he is drowning.

Tibone, in particular, is a glaring example of wasted talent.

It’s almost criminal to watch a person of his experience wasted as a junior minister while there are senior ministers like Frank Ramsden and Lebonaamang Mokalake who do not seem to have a clue of what the job of a minister entails.

Certainly Tibone could be put to better use high up elsewhere. Sadly for him, as is the case with Johnny Swartz for most of the time, he comes across as a man who has lost interest in politics.
It is in times like these that President Khama clearly rues the day state prosecutors decided to charge Ndelu Seretse with corruption.

In other countries, people would be calling for a government of national unity, if only to allow the president access to the plenty of teeming talent that currently languishes idle on the opposition benches.

Consider the amount of depth President Ian Khama would bring into his cabinet if he could rope in Dumelang Saleshando.

How different the decision making process inside cabinet would become if Botsalo Ntuane and Samson Guma Moyo were to become ministers of state!

An even bigger problem for President Khama is how and when to replace his current deputy.
While the president is surely looking for an excuse to drop the Vice President, for the time being that is going to be a pain he will have to endure.

As things stand Merafhe cannot be dumped without collapsing the whole rickety peace edifice that holds inside the BDP.

I have always been against calls for a constitutional amendment to allow the president to choose ministers from outside parliament.

But it is in situations like these that one has absolutely nothing to proffer against such an argument.


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