Driving the nation’s vision

Portia Mlilo

An agent of change

Batho Christopher Molomo is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Vision 2036 Coordinating Agency, which is charged with spearheading the implementation of the vision.

The agency is an oversight institution across Government, private sector, and civil society, enabling it to play a strategic, coordinating role.

It provides strategic leadership and direction towards the realisation of the Vision 2036 goals and closely collaborates with line ministries, the private sector, and society as a whole.

Five years ago, a presidential task team was appointed to travel the country and find out from the people the kind of Botswana they want to see in 2036.

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The team then compiled an extensive document that convinced the President of the need for a council that looks at the delivery of this vision.

A technical arm, which is the agency headed by Molomo, was formed.

The 66-year-old Mochudi born Statistician and Economist sat down with The Voice’s Portia Mlilo to discuss his role as CEO, the mandate of the agency, and the challenges they face.

Q. Kindly share with our readers the mandate of Vision 2036 Agency.

We are a secretariat that monitors and evaluates to ensure the progress and achievement of programmes and projects in accordance with Vision 2036.

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We popularise and take the vision to the people so that they can own it.

The agency provides advocacy and communication of Vision 2036 through strategic and effective information dissemination and stakeholder engagement.

We also promote harmonization of policies and programmes between various Ministries responsible for implementation and impact as well as NDPs, UDPs, DPPs towards the achievement of the vision.

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Q .What are the key vehicles of delivery for the vision?

The key vehicles of delivery are the National Development Plans (NDPs). We are talking about programmes, policies, laws during the NDP period.

Our mandate is to go to the ministries to see to what extent the plan is delivering on the vision.

We had to come up with an evaluation and monitoring plan to see if policies are delivering on the mandate of the vision and if it is not we advise the government accordingly.

It is either the policy does not work or it is conflicting with another policy.

We are not implementers, we basically give the oversight and feedback.

Q .On the issue of monitoring and evaluation, do you set yourselves targets?

Yes we do. One of the targets is that we are saying we want to be a high-income country by 2036.

You can break this down into other components, for example, if we are to achieve it, what should be the rate of GDP growth? We talked to about an average of 8 percent annual growth rate.

There is what we call high-level outcome framework, which shows where we are and our target.

Our monitoring evaluation looks at the journey towards our target to see if NDP 11 is delivering on this particular target, to what extent, and if not what should be done?

Q. What are some of the challenges you face as the team when you do your monitoring and evaluation?

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My team is not really fully fleshed to an extent where I can say we are able to deliver our mandate.

I only have two directors! In terms of communications, we have been in contact with some of the major institutions, councils, District Commissioners offices, Business Botswana to reach out to the private sector and others.

Our constraint is personnel; we have not been able to acquire the necessary competences.

We have been in existence for two-and-a-half years and I would say we are on the right track and able to service most of the structures around.

Q. How has Covid-19 affected your plans?

Our job is to popularise the vision and it means our contact has been through meetings mostly.

We are supposed to go out to meet people, hold kgotla meetings, have group discussions and now Covid-19 protocols do not allow that.

We do conduct virtual meetings but it is not enough.

Since April, we have not been out there.

We had gained momentum before lockdown but because of Covid we have lost it.

You cannot do monitoring and evaluation when you are in office, it requires going out to the districts dealing with the structures.

This work also requires a lot of money and resources – it is a challenge which affects our targets and we need to revise it.

Now most of the resources have gone towards fighting Covid-19.

We need to be innovative for us to reach our target, Covid has taught us something!

Q. Tell us about some of your highlights or achievements as an agency?

Establishing an office to deliver our mandate is one of our achievements.

We have been able to see everyone taking the vision as a uniting factor, whether in the political level, the ruling and opposition parties.

Everybody is saying ‘are we going to achieve this vision?’ – it is like a national beacon!

The vision is defining the ultimate destination.

Our leaders’ addresses talk transformation which is what the vision is actually defining.

This is the agenda for transformation.

Through our vision document, the President has been able to set up a National Transformation Strategy Team.

Even the NDPs are aligned to the vision.

With the little resources at our disposal we have been able to bring everybody on board to achieve the vision.

Q. What does your role as CEO entail?

I must come back with programmes that assist the council to deliver on its mandate.

They provide the strategic guidance and I deliver.

I report to the chairman of the council and advise him.

We look at our performance in certain areas against other countries and we interrogate if we find out we are behind.

If there must be consultation with the President, Minister, Permanent Sectary, I must facilitate that.

Q. What are the agency’s future plans?

We must get the right competence in place to be able to do our Monitoring and Evaluation properly.

We have to look at the policies to see if they are relevant and, if not, what needs to be done working with coordinators of such policies.

Let’s take for example a policy on housing, we look at it with the Ministry responsible and discuss if it conflicts with another, if there are duplications and see how we can make it work.

Even in the private sector as the engine of economic growth but what are they doing to ensure that they are able to do it?

What are they doing to be able to fulfil that particular role?

These are the things that I want to be able to build, the competency.

We should be able to meet Village Development Committees as the structures that are in touch with the people and see how we can capacitate them to be able to do the communication and tell them about the vision.

Q. Let’s talk about your other contributions to the community. You’ve previously served as the President for football club Mochudi Centre Chiefs, which is now plying its trade in the First Division. Where do you think the former powerhouse went wrong?

I think the major problem was the infighting within the club leadership.

Chiefs were established as a social club – a model that the current thinking feels is probably not the most effective model.

It was to be transformed into a self-sustaining model.

The transition was a mess.

In my view some people were greedy and decided to make money out of the club.

They were just caretakers and Chiefs was a structure belong to the people.

They were supposed to consult the community before bringing in an investor.

There were court cases and the investor pulled out and we were left with nothing.

There was no sustainability plan.

We won the league three times and the money was not channeled into the development of the club.

There was no honesty.

I am hoping the current club President, Thapelo Tsheole will be able to bring Chiefs back to the Premier League.

Q. The commercialization model has worked in other countries, what is it that Botswana football is not doing right?

I think it is our very small population.

We have an under resourced private sector which struggle to sponsor clubs.

There has to be value for their money, the need to gain something.

We have to ask ourselves, are we doing enough to attract people to the games?

Q. What advice can you give to young people aspiring to be in the CEO position?

Take your schoolwork seriously.

Some of us went to school using public resources and the only way to account is to do well at school and be responsible.

You must give back to the nation.

Try to be clean in your life and not be corrupt.

Protect the assets of the nation.

Q. And finally, Thank God It’s Friday, what are your plans for the weekend, the last one of July?

I will be at the farm, vaccinating livestock.

Weekends are also meant for family so I will be spending time with them.

I am a Catholic and Sundays I go to church.

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