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Mokgware warns new Bill could create two centres of power

July 17, 2017 4:00 AM
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Mokgware’s remarks were in reference to the proposed amendment of Section 9 of the Act, which deals specifically with the appointing authorities of vacant posts of both the Prisons commissioner and deputy commissioner.

When presenting the new Prisons (Amendment) Bill 2017, the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security Shaw Kgathi stated that the appointing authority for the post of commissioner will be the State President while the deputy commissioner shall be appointed by the Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) in consultation with the commissioner.

This is despite that Clause 3 of the Bill amends Section 7 to provide for the commissioner to account and report directly to the Minister on securing the general efficiency of the service. The Bill also provides for the commissioner to be the appointing authority for all the ranks below the post of deputy commissioner.

However, when contributing to the debates on the Bill in Parliament this week, the Gabane-Mmankgodi legislator argued that the Bill gives more powers to the Office of the President (OP) compared to the responsible minister who will be administering and supervising both the commissioner and his deputy.

Mokgware expressed particular reservations about the powers vested on the PSP as the appointing authority of the deputy commissioner. “With this, you bring more centres of power. OP has more powers than the minister with the inclusion of the PSP.

to make amendments to remove the PSP. You are not the appointing authority but you are going to administer and supervise these people,” Mokgware said. He said the Commissioner will be the right candidate to be the appointing authority of his deputy because he would know the credentials of the candidates available within the service.

He applauded the intention of the Bill to have the commissioner being appointed by the President, as this will place him at par with his counterparts at the Botswana Defence Force and the Botswana Police Services (BPS). Francistown South Member of Parliament, Wynter Mmolotsi said the PSP should not be the appointing authority as they have politicised positions and appointments.

He said the intention of the Bill for the PSP to appoint the deputy commissioner in consultation with commissioner should be a give and take arrangement. “As we know, during Molale’s tenure as PSP, he never listed or took advice from anyone.

They (PSP) have the tendencies of behaving like semi-gods. I appreciate that the Bill seeks to provide for the appointment of the commissioner by the President, but there will be no use if they are not treated equally with those of the BDF and the police as they all do security job,” said Mmolotsi. Like Mokgware, Mmolotsi said the commissioner wil be the appropriate appointing authority because he knows their competencies.

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