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BEMA suspends its executive director

MBONGENI MGUNI
The Botswana Exporters and Manufacturers Association (BEMA) has suspended its executive secretary, as part of a planned turnaround at the organisation.

Information gathered by BusinessWeek indicates that Stembile Tawengwa was suspended mid-May, pending a hearing by the Association’s board. This week, insiders in the 125-organisation strong Association said Tawengwa’s suspension was part of a shake-up intended to restore lustre to the business grouping. BEMA is an industry voice for small, medium, large scale and corporate exporters and manufacturers.

“BEMA is not performing well financially and this is not because there is no money; we need a shake up to turn things around,” a senior member of the organisation told BusinessWeek.

“Members will only pay their subscriptions if they feel that there is something in the Association for them. Many are also members of BOCCIM and others and the question is ‘what is BEMA doing for me’.”

With economic growth expected to be flat, or even lower this year, the subscription bases and commitment rates of voluntary business associations such as BOCCIM and BEMA are under

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pressure.

“The executive director should be executing many things so that we can say our subscriptions are going to good use. Members should be able to say this ‘this is where I see my subscription working for me because I have managed to do this and that,’” the member said.

This week, BEMA confirmed the suspension without providing details.

“I can confirm that the executive director has been suspended pending an inquiry by the board,” board chair, Nkosi Mwaba said in a written response to enquiries.

“I cannot however, share any further details with the media at this time as it is still an active internal issue.” For her part, Tawengwa said the suspension was news to her.

“I am on leave, that is all. There is nothing like that I am aware of,” she said. However, BusinessWeek has documents confirming Tawengwa’s suspension on May 12. No reason is provided for the action, however.



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