His excellency the President of the Republic of Botswana, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has reshuffled the cabinet. A press released posted on the Botswana Government Facebook page on Wednesday, August 26 announced the following Cabinet appointments and decisions:
- Dr Unity Dow steps away from the role of Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation with immediate effect. (*She reportedly chose to focus solely on her role as Member of Parliament, a decision that President Masisi accepted, according to a statement from the government).
- Dr Lemogang Kwape is appointed Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation.
- Dr Edwin Gorataone Dikoloti is appointed Minister of Health and Wellness.
- Mr Karabo Socraat Gare is appointed Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security.
- Mr Molebatsi Shimane Molebatsi is appointed Assistant Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry.
All appointments are with effect from the 26th August 2020, the release said.
Last month, President Mokgweetsi Masisi allegedly suspended plans to reshuffle cabinet as he did not want to rock the boat in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Patriot wrote. The newspaper quoted ‘highly placed sources’ at the Government Enclave intimating that Masisi had managed to resist pressure from some within his circle to drop ineffective cabinet ministers. Whispers of the ministers being aligned to the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Secretary-General, Mpho Balopi cited this as another reason used to support calls for a shakeup.
At the time, The Patriot said ‘the cold war’ between Masisi and his former political ally and confidante (Balopi) had intensified pressure for a cabinet reshuffle but the first citizen has backtracked citing strategic grounds. Last year, President Masisi revealed that the government was in the process of establishing two new ministries. He said that the proposed development would see the splitting of the Ministries of Investment, Trade and Industry and Transport and Communications.
Asked about this, the Press Secretary to the President, Batlhalefi Leagajang said Masisi and the government is focused on the national response to COVID-19 pandemic.
“The country is still in a State of Emergency and has just emerged from the extreme social distancing measures that included the lockdown and suspension of various developmental and national initiatives. All activities consistent with the normalcy of governance will resume as soon as the country has fully contained the pandemic,” The Patriot quoted him saying last month.
At the time, University of Botswana (UB) Political Commentator, Leonard Sesa said of a possible cabinet reshuffle;
“It would be risky to reshuffle cabinet right now in view of the fact that some ministries are at the forefront of the pandemic. Let’s just say it would be risky to drop the current Minister of Health and bring in someone new.”
Sesa said at the time were it not for the pandemic, now would be the right time to reshuffle cabinet.
“Some cabinet ministers have failed to come on board and Specially Elected Members of Parliament have failed to convince the nation why they were brought in and subsequently appointed members of the Executive. Perhaps, it would have been the right time to review the appointments,” he said.
References: BWGovernment page / https://www.thepatriot.co.bw/news/item/8350-cabinet-reshuffle,-ministers-under-pressure.html