- “He has stayed in one place because government remains satisfied with his performance.”- Venson-Moitoi
- “There are allegations that Blackbeard’s Commissionership was his reward after he vacated the Serowe North constituency for President Ian Khama in 1998” – Mmolotsi
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi says government has no plans to transfer Botswana High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Roy Blackbeard.
Venson-Moitoi who was answering a question from Francistown South MP, Wynter Mmolotsi, on Monday said Blackbeard who was deployed to London for 18 years, was deployed because there was need and would only be moved according to exigency of service.“ He has stayed in one place because government remains satisfied with his performance.” Mmolotsi had wanted to establish when Blackbeard would be transferred, why he stayed in one place for so long and what he was doing before his appointment to London.
The minister buttressed that the High Commissioner would stay and serve in the same place like all public servants when there is no reason to transfer them. Mmolotsi however challenged the answer and asked if upon leaving his parliamentary seat, Blackbeard was promised that he would hold the commissionership until his death. When he asked her to state how many Commissioners had in one place for as long Blackbeard, Moitoi said named former Ambassador Joseph Legwailwa who stayed in New York longer. “There is no ambassador who when appointed is told that they will have the position until they die, we want people to come back and serve their countries of origin,” she retorted.
The agitated Moitoi however chided Mmolotsi for asking the question, saying he had asked last year as has former MPs Nehemiah Modubule and Philip Khwae. “This question has been asked and answered the same way but it is still asked. I do not know if the answer given is unsatisfactory or MPs know something that I do not know of, ” she said, challenging MPs to reveal any information if they think the question warrants a different answer.
In an interview with The Botswana Gazette, Mmolotsi said there were allegations that Blackbeard’s commissionership was his reward after he vacated the Serowe North constituency for President Ian Khama in 1998. “If this is anything to go by, then it is clear that deals are made with government positions…that is why terms of this contract need to be known because who knows, maybe he was told that he could stay for as long as he wanted considering the person he made way for and how it has since benefitted him. We hear that in such cases the forgoer calls the shots, and it could be the same situation at play now,” he said.
Blackbeard is also a former Minister of Agriculture.