The MP for Letlhakane-Lephephe, Liakat Kablay stunned Parliament on Wednesday when he suggested that only members of the ruling party should be appointed to key posts in the civil service.
Kablay was contributing to the budget speech when he asserted that officers who are sympathetic to the opposition are sabotaging the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), hence the need for the selective appointments. He said if BDP does not take action, it might end up losing the elections because of sabotage. “If the BDP wants to stay in power, they must consider appointing party members to senior government posts,” Kablay appealed.
He said senior civil servants who are sympathetic to the opposition are sabotaging government so that people could lose confidence in the BDP and vote it out.
He claimed some government projects remain uncompleted because of senior officials who are members of the opposition.
Kablay said in his constituency, opposition parties are always bragging that senior government officials support them.
He said year in and year out, some departments return funds that were earmarked for projects to the treasury. The legislator said such projects are deliberately delayed by officers who are affiliated to opposition parties. The Minister of Health, Dorcas Makgato-Malesu supported Kablay and said that successive governments in the United States have always appointed their own party officials to key positions. However, the Minister of Lands and Housing, Prince Maele told Kablay that civil servants appointed along party lines may provide service to party members only.
Meanwhile, in a recent interview, government spokesman Jeff Ramsay defended the recent appointment of BDP activists who lost elections into the civil service.
Former MP for South East North, Olebile Gaborone has been appointed the Coordinator of the Poverty Eradication Programme in the Office of the President while the former MP for Gabane/Mmankgodi, Edward Raletobane has taken over as the manager of Government Implementation Coordinating Office (GICO).
Another top BDP activist Dr Raphael Dingalo, who did not contest elections, has landed a plum job as the deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Skills Development. The three top positions were never advertised prior to the appointment of the BDP big wigs.
However, Ramsay does not see anything wrong with the appointments because anyone can be appointed to the civil service. He said opposition party members like former Botswana National Front (BNF) leader Otsweletse Moupo and former Gaborone Mayor Nelson Ramaotwana have also joined the civil service.
He added that another former BNF MP is working in the civil service. But both Moupo and Ramaotwana who are also lawyers, applied for their jobs. Ramsay said once people are appointed to the civil service, they quit active politics. “Once when you are a civil servant you don’t identify with any political party,” he said.