Knives are out for the government Chief of Staff Lephimotswe Boyce Sebetela whom civil servants accuse of politicizing and polarizing the civil service through bringing partisan politics into it.
The Patriot on Sunday is reliably informed that Sebetlela is not in good terms with some of the top senior government officials being Permanent Secretaries and Directors of the departments. President Mokgweetsi Masisi appointed Sebetela as Chief of Staff based at Office of President (OP).
It is said at the center of the impending fallout between Sebetela and the civil servants is instructions by him that all government employees should push for the implementation of 2019 elections manifesto of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). According to the impeccable sources, the Chief of Staff is said to be plotting the surveillance on some of the civil servants who are dragging their feet on their work or perhaps being anti the BDP.
“He (Sebetlela) if not brought to order will pollute the civil service through his political tactics. He summoned the civil servants to ensure that they somehow subscribe to the ruling party. Workers are being imposed to the intimidation. He must know to separate politics from public service,” said a source.
It is also alleged that some of the unionized public servants will report Sebetlela to their unions. This comes on the backdrop of the continuous preaching of BDP manifesto by him to workers.
Recently, Sebetlela sparked public row when he met with the ruling party National Strategy, Communications and International Relations Committee during its national strategy session.
It is said Sebetlela was taking part of the BDP meeting as he expanded on government RESET agenda.
Efforts to reach Sebetlela for a comment over his alleged fallout with civil servants proved futile as he dint answer calls into his mobile phone after several attempts of phoning him at a time of going to print.
Observers point out that Chief of Staff is a new development in the local civil service and as it is also a direct political appointment by president Masisi made to public office, it will remain controversial.
A Public Administration lecturer at University of Botswana who proffered anonymity in fear of victimization said Sebetlela as political appointed person by president will pushes BDP agenda.
The lecturer noted that the appointment of Sebetlela should have be done exactly to the BDP.
“Now it seems like he has been appointed to somehow run the BDP affairs hiding behind the civil service tag. In other public services, positions such as this one are appointed directly to the ruling party as consultants or liaison in terms of pushing the governing party agenda. It is like that when he (Sebetlela) and his authorities cannot differentiate the public service and BDP. It was wrong to make a political appointment to be overseer of the public service,” said the lecturer.
Also, he said the arrival of Sebetlela at COS has directly killed the position of the Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) as what Sebetlela is doing is being similar to the roles of PSP.
To that end, the public administration expert says it is important for Masisi to kill the PSP post.
Capturing Civil Service
In an interview, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Labour Secretary, Justin Hunyepa said it is clear that the BDP through a political appointment of Sebetlela is meant to politicize civil service.
He said the UDC is against the situation where positions are created for BDP activists in civil service.
“We condemn the situation where BDP wants to use the public service for its political gains. We still don’t know what is the role is played by Sebetlela on BDP as the civil servant. We call upon the BDP to be transparent, accountable and creates the employment based on merit rather on partisan lines. Appointments should be made in meritorious way. It is wrong for the BDP to do politicize the civil service. Partisan appointments will take this country down,” added Hunyepa.
As per BDP manifesto, Hunyepa said government should draw policies from it and present it to parliament, adding that even UDC and AP manifestos should be tapped into to formulate policies.
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