Dow in fresh nepotism allegations?
• Hires her niece’s husband, Peter Maruapula as private secretary
• Maruapula’s company helped with her 2014 election bid
As more irregularities tumble out of the Minister of Education and Skills Develepment’s closet, new allegations have surfaced that Minister Dr Unity Dow has appointed her niece’s husband, Peter Maruapula as her private secretary at the ministry, raising concerns of nepotism.
The Botswana Gazette has established that Dow’s private secretary, Maruapula is married to Lebogang Maruapula, the minister’s niece. Dow shares a close relationship with her niece as evidenced in Lebogang’s interview with Botswana Youth Magazine in 2013 where she revealed :“My aunt Unity Dow is one of my biggest role models, simply because of her tenacity and her go-getter attitude in life with everything she does.”
The Botswana Gazette also established that Maruapula (Peter)’s marketing company EBAT Communications and Marketing assisted Dow in her failed campaign to contest the Mochudi West Constituency under the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) ticket in the 2014 general election.
Maru-a-Pula’s Linked in the profile reads, “The lead strategist and consultant in vast areas of communications management. Notable tasks include the development and implementation of Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Mochudi West Constituency campaign for 2014 general election.”
Dow lost the 2014 general elections to Umbrella for Democratic Change’s Gilbert Mangole. This was not the end of the road for her as President Ian Khama appointed her Specially Elected MP. Before being elevated by Khama as Minister of Education Dow was appointed to cabinet as Assistant Minister of Education after the 2014 general elections.
Information received by this publication alleges that Maruapula could be benefiting by virtue of his close association to the minister. It is further alleged that as a private secretary Maruapula will enjoy a privilege similar to that of ministers when he jets off to Kenya (Nairobi) on 7 June 2016 where he will be among the speakers at the 2nd Annual Education Innovation Africa Conference. The event which has attracted 52 speakers across the continent of Africa, will be graced by ministers of education, CEOs in the education sector, private schools owners and government education strategists.
Furthermore, Dow’s relationship with Maruapula and her niece allegedly connects her to Limkokwing University, an institution Dow’s former law firm is said to be engaged in a questionable business with. Maruapula is one of the pioneers during the establishment of the University’s Botswana campus. He is quoted as the “ marketing development manager for the newly established Malaysian University Limkokwing Botswana,” from and article in Mmegi, date 18th December 2006. His career in marketing for the university is said to have begun while he attended the Malaysia campus. Maruapula and his wife were both part of the first wave of lecturers at the Botswana campus.
Minister Dow did not respond to the questions sent by this publication. Her mobile phone also rang unanswered. The Botswana Gazette also sought to get a comment from Maruapula but his phone rang unanswered. The two could not be reached by this publication before press time.
The Botswana Gazette revealed last week that there could be a possibility of conflict of interest between Dow, her former Law firm and Limkokwing University. Dow and Associates provides legal services to Limkokwing University at a retainer of P25 000 per month. The university has confirmed the contract with Dow and Associates but the minister did not respond top this publication’s questions and threatened to blackmail this reporter.