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Ministry to axe council secretaries

Allegations are rife that the Ministry of Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development is not going to renew contracts of some senior council secretaries.

The council secretaries have been accused of trying to sabotage government programmes while some are said to support opposition parties.   

Of late, the government has been complaining that supervision of projects and government programmes are not well monitored coupled with the fact that the COVID-19 food relief programme was not well managed in some districts.  

Mmegi has learnt that about eight contracts for senior council secretaries that came to the end recently, have not been renewed in what is believed to be part of the thinking at the Ministry. 

According to a source, South East District Council (SEDC) Senior Council Secretary’s contract was not renewed after some councillors wrote to Ministry requesting that it should not be extended. The contract for the secretary is alleged to have ended in May.   

“The concerned councillors wrote to the Ministry that it (contract) should not be renewed or if the Ministry want to do so it, must transfer him to another district. In letter the councillors claimed that the senior council secretary has been favouring some people during COVID-19 pandemic when awarding tenders for items like masks amongst others.  

The councillors also complained that

the council secretary awarded school maintenance tenders without consulting the councillors or council chief whips,” the source said.  

Another source said the councillors also complained that the council secretary seemed to be sympathetic to opposition parties.  The Botswana Association of Local Authorities (BALA) president Jerry Sibisibi said his union was advocating for decentralisation policy, which will address some of the issues.  

“I cannot comment much on this issue because it is an employer-employee issue. What I can only say is that senior council secretaries do have reviews that are done by their employer and may be the contract is not renewed looking at the report. I believe that if the Constitution is going to be looked into, I hope autonomy of councils will be looked into also.  

That alone will help development and implementation of programmes by councils because they will not depend on central government for councils to implement some of the motions,” Sibisibi said in an interview.  

However Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development Masego Ramakgathi said, “we wouldn’t wish to be drawn into discussions around employment contract without the consent of the other party”.


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