Masisi overlooks career diplomats

Kwape further disclosed before Parliament that Botswana currently has 23 diplomatic missions abroad PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Kwape further disclosed before Parliament that Botswana currently has 23 diplomatic missions abroad PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO

President Mokgweetsi Masisi has allocated 75% of ambassadorial appointments to political appointees who are not career diplomats. This was revealed this week by Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr Lemogang Kwape.

He further disclosed that there are currently 20 Ambassadors/High Commissioners appointed in their substantive posts with 15 as political appointees and five as career diplomats, appointed from within the ministry. While it is not new that government has rewarded well-known politicians with ambassadorship roles, the five career diplomats across 20 missions have no doubt tilted the balance of power against the latter. Asked to state the justification of overlooking career diplomats and also to explain for how long this trend will continue, Dr Kwape said the appointment of High Commissioners/Ambassadors, both career and political appointees, is the sole prerogative and discretion of the President as provided for by the Constitution of the Republic of Botswana.

Kwape was responding to a question from Mahalapye East legislator, Yandani Boko who had asked among others how many diplomatic missions Botswana has abroad and the number of Botswana Ambassadors/High Commissioners. With career diplomats feeling overlooked when it comes to career progression and advancement, Kwape said whether politically appointed or not it should, however, be noted that an envoy is a public servant and therefore, has a job description that guides the general scope of their representational duties. “The key role of the envoys is to represent and safeguard their country’s interests abroad. These interests, which are the bedrock of Botswana's foreign policy, are defined by the country’s domestic policy and development priorities. In carrying out their responsibilities, the envoys play a fundamental role in building and nurturing relations, enhancing Botswana's image internationally, promoting the country as an ideal destination for investment and tourism, as well as effectively implementing the country’s foreign policy,” Kwape explained.

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