- Morwaeng says Ombudsman has powers to investigate Masisi
- Opposition wants Ombudsman out of OP
No corruption investigations have been launched into President Mokgweetsi Masisi, the Ombudsman, Augustine Makgonatsotlhe, has said.
Infact, there has not been even a single complaint of corruption or abuse of office filed against Masisi since he assumed office in April 2018, Makgonatsotlhe told The Botswana Gazette yesterday. “There has never been any complaint about the President. Not even since the SOE (State of Emergency).”
Opposition parties have maintained that one reason President Masisi declared the SOE was so that he may enrich himself and members of his Botswana Democratic Party through government tenders without hindrance.
The President has come under serious criticism after he pitched for a prime portion of government-owned Banyana Farms last year.
The Gazette’s pivot to the Ombudsman comes after the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng, told parliament last week that the Office of the Ombudsman is free to conduct any kind of investigation into the presidency.
“I agree that as an oversight institution, the Office of the Ombudsman has the right to investigate the Office of the President,” Morwaeng said. “I also agree that the Office of the Ombudsman has to be seen to be independent of the Office of the President for the public to have confidence in it.
“I must add, however, that the independence of the Office of the Ombudsman is secured by law. Section 9 of the Ombudsman Act protects the Ombudsman from the direction or control of any other person or authority in the performance of his duties and the Ombudsman has demonstrated such independence through several cases involving the presidency that he has investigated over the years.”
Nonetheless, the opposition in Parliament holds that the Office of the Ombudsman is short-staffed and lacks the right and qualified personnel to perform its mandate. Significantly, the parliamentary opposition wants the office of the Ombudsman removed from the purview of the Office of the President.