Commissioner Of Prisons, Chief Of Staff differ Over Reset Agenda

  • Head of prison service argues that certain circumstances call for instructions
  • Chief of Staff says engagement builds good working relations


The Commissioner of Botswana Prison Service (BPS), Dinah Maretha, has disagreed with calls by the Chief of Staff on the top brass of the prison service to phase out giving orders to junior officers because some circumstances within the organisation demand instructions in accordance with the founding Act.
The Chief of Staff, Boyce Sebetlela, made the call at a recent capacity building workshop for the prison service on implementation of the government’s Reset Agenda, saying giving orders may harm working relations.
Responding to Gazette enquiries into the matter, Maretha said it would be difficult to phase out giving orders to junior officers because doing so is a part of the Prisons Act. She noted that although there is a need for improved leadership in preparation for the Reset Agenda, orders are used by senior officers as a mode of communication in the prison service.
“It is indisputable that as per the Reset Agenda, the prison service would also introspect,” she said. “However, it is worth noting that working with orders is part of the founding Act of the organisation. Further, some circumstances need instructions to be duly performed. Giving orders to junior officers will therefore always be part and parcel of the prison service.”
The Chief of Staff had appealed to the leadership of the prison service to phase out giving orders to junior officers, saying it results in an non conducive environment. Sebetlela said there was a need for the organisation to introspect in order to align itself with President Mokgweetsi Masis’s Reset Agenda, which is essentially about the civil service recommitting itself to service delivery and achieving results in improved living standards for Batswana as the country attains high-income status.
He encouraged senior officers of the prison service to adopt an engagement strategy for building strong working relations with their juniors. “If you do not become a good leader, you will not be able to control your juniors,” Sebetlela said. “Instead of giving orders, engage them because leading dynamic people needs high performance leaders.”