The Minister of Agriculture,Christian DeGraff, recently facedthe Parliament Special SelectCommittee to give evidenceon the decline of the beefindustry in Botswana. He obviouslydisdained the wholeidea. De Graff strikes me asa contemptuous individual,not only towards the committeebut Batswana in general.To him the committeeis constituted by scarecrowsthat do not merit his time oraudience.I do not want to dispute thefact that the former BotswanaMeat Commission CEO, DavidFalepau, erred in someof his undertakings while hewas at the helm, but to attributethe mess besieging theCommission in its entirety tohim is unfair. Both the ministerand his assistant are humanbeings, who understandvery well that Batswana areforgiving people; so pleasegentlemen spare us the selfadulationsand admit whereyou erred.
The utterance bythe minister that the buckdoes not stop with him is veryunfortunate. I hope it will notcome as a surprise to himwhen the public starts castingaspersions on his honesty.He knows more than anyonethat as a political head of theMinistry he’s accountableto all parastatals and departmentsunder the Ministryof Agriculture. His remarksthat only the President candismiss him are intended tofrustrate and intimidate thecommittee members taskedwith the inquiry. The lattershould brook no intimidation.
To him, organizationalproblems exist in a vacuum;he was quoted in the SundayStandard newspaper as sayinghe’s not going to takethe blame for the collapse ofBMC. How unfortunate!What we as the public candiscern from the mess atBMC and the ongoing inquiryis that the beef industry isnot going to improve anytimesoon, unless the politicalleadership mends its ways.Some of us do not subscribeto partisan politics, but we’restrikingly concerned aboutthe behavior of our politicalleaders.De Graff, not naturally,instituted a forensic auditon the accounts of BMC.Disregarding the associatedcost implications, this is agood move, albeit belated.One however hopes that thefi ndings of the audit will notonly be privy to the ministerand the President, but willbe availed to parliament aswell.
The efforts of both RreDe Graff and Rre Molebatsito improve the beef sectorin Botswana should be supportedby all; they are dealingwith complicated issuesand the continued spreadof Foot and Mouth Disease(FMD) has greatly negatedtheir efforts. That said, theyalso need to be candid withBatswana on these issues ifthey expect to be supported.Finally, in the absence ofgood corporate governance,especially at BMC, the beefindustry will never attain thesuccess that all Batswana expectand hope for.