- Says Masisi must have resorted to emergency powers to fire the two men
- Calls for transparency in use of COVID-19 funds and distribution of food hampers
The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) wants President Mokgweetsi Masisi to state why the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Solomon Sekwakwa, and his deputy Dr Morrison Sinvula, were fired because the two men are technocrats who deserve to be treated with respect.
“The dismissal of the two who were leading the battle against COVID-19 has prompted more questions than answers,” the UDC says in a statement. “It is assumed the President set aside the basic disciplinary procedures and instead used the State of Public Emergency powers (SOPE) to dismiss the two.
By this statement, Botswana’s official opposition joins the Alliance for Progressives (AP) in questioning the validity of the firing of the two men. AP president Ndaba Gaolathe recently described Sekwakwa as a highly respectable professional and a decent person who would not hurt a fly.
“The South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, recently disciplined one of his ministers who had violated lockdown travel ban regulations by visiting a friend for lunch,” the UDC notes. “The minister was publicly rebuked by President Ramaphosa who slapped her with a two months’ suspension, one of which was without pay. She was also slapped with a R1 000 fine.” Botswana’s presidency has not said anything about the sacking of the two men.
“We call on President Masisi to satisfy national concerns and share publicly the grounds for his action as a best governance practice,” the statement continues. “Otherwise the nation will believe the rumours doing the rounds that there were ulterior motives for the dismissals. Worse, some citizens may be arrested for circulating such rumours and face offences for violating the country’s cyber laws and SOPE regulations.”
The President, the UDC says, must therefore come out clear and instil public confidence in his actions.
The UDC further expresses concerns over what it calls the “government’s lack of clear leadership, strategy and transparency in handling the management of funds, testing and distribution of food hampers to the poor and the needy that have been left without any income by the lockdown. People are hungry and getting desperate under the lockdown. It is not clear what happens after the end of the lockdown on the 30th April. It is also not clear what will happen within the 6 months of SOPE.”
The opposition calls on Masisi to say something about serious allegations of corruption doing the rounds regarding procurement under COVID-19 emergency funding. The Permanent Secretary to the President, Elias Magosi, did not take this publication’s calls while the spokesperson of the presidency , Andrew Sesinyi, ignored this publication’s questions about these issues.