SHOCK RESHUFFLE Several Batswana disappointed as Dr Kwape is dropped as Health Minister
Several Batswana on Wednesday took to social media to express disappointment after President Mokgweetsi Masisi removed Dr Lemogang Kwape as Minister of Health and Wellness in a shock cabinet reshuffle.
Kwape, who now has been moved to become Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation has been replaced by Edwin Dikoloti who has been Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security. No information has been shared as to why Dr Unity Dow, who has been Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation, was relieved from her position.
On Wednesday afternoon, Elias Magosi, who is Permanent Secretary to the President and Secretary to Cabinet, announced the changes, writing:
In exercise of the powers vested upon him by Sections 42 and 43 of the Constitution, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Botswana, Dr Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi has made the following Cabinet appointments and decisions:
- Dr Unity Dow is relieved from the position of Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation with immediate effect.
- 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 reshuffle was met with mixed feelings as several Batswana tried to speculate on what could have happened. Many feel that no matter what could have been the cause, the timing is not right for a Health minister to be removed from his position given the current state of affairs with the ravaging Covid-19 coronavirus.
Former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Wellness Ruth Maphorisa denounced the move, saying it is ill-advised as the involved ministry is big and needs stability. She wrote: “I have nothing against my dear brother and homeboy Honourable Dikoloti but the big ministries really need stability. You can imagine the frustration by employees in briefing new leadership everytime when they expect feedback on the ministry’s feedback.”
Maphorisa, being a former Permanent Secretary who several times oversaw the change in guard at ministerial level, must be speaking from experience. The general sentiment is that the ministers, both Kwape and Dikoloti, were still familiarising themselves with their respective ministries, and it is the opinion of Maphorisa that Minister Karabo Gare, who has been moved from the trade ministry to Agriculture, “was well-placed at Trade.” She was sharing her sentiments via her facebook page this afternoon.
Speculation is rife however, that Dr Dow is given time to prepare herself ahead of a move to become Judge Advocate General at Botswana Defence Force. For now, and until that move is confirmed, Dow will be relegated to the backbench of her Botswana Democratic Party in Parliament.
Other social media users feel that Dikoloti was well-suited for the Agriculture ministry while also sceptical he will make it at the health ministry. Speculators further suggest that Kwape had it coming as he was seen within the health sector to be failing to work well with the ground forces. How true this is cannot be ascertained, but many, including some Members of Parliament such as Wynter Mmolotsi and Goretetse Kekgonegile, have expressed concern about his silence in recent days, speculating that something must be wrong within Government enclave as he seemed to have been sidelined.