“There are several issues that didn’t sit well with OP and one that comes to mind is the President’s picture sleeping in a meeting in one of his overseas trips,” UB LECTURER Last week, the Press Secretary to the President, Batlhalefi Leagajang, was redeployed to a new role at the National Aids Health Promotion Agency (NAPHA). Leagajang was appointed the Press Secretary at Deputy Permanent Secretary Level in March 2020. The appointment of the former editor of a private media house raised a lot of eyebrows and got mixed reactions from the public. The Voice Reporter, DANIEL CHIDA, engages some union leadership and the public in general to get their views on this new development. Tefo Phatshwane - MISA Chairperson The move has not surprised us because that’s how the government operates. We have seen specialists in certain areas being deployed to areas they are not familiar with. It’s worrisome that a former experienced editor moved from his position to NAPHA under a dark cloud. We have not been informed of the real reason for the move and what will be his role at the new organisation. He was a political appointee, so we could only speculate that it’s Botswana Democratic Party politics at play. It’s unfortunate that public funds are used to play internal politics. Phillimon Mmeso - BOMAWU President He was serving at the pleasure of the President but his transfer raised eyebrows because it was initially concealed to the public. PHILIMON MMESO If it had been made public, just like his appointment, there wouldn’t have been any suspicion surrounding his redeployment. Dr Kennedy Ramojela - UB Media Studies Lecturer It came as a shock to the media fraternity and the public at large to hear about Leagajang’s transfer. Recently, he was doing a sterling job in the Office of President as the Press Secretary to the President. He tried by all means to defend the Office of the President in the media. KENNEDY RAMOJELA This is a man who served as a journalist before; he knows what journalists want and how to handle them. Having said that, there are several issues that didn’t sit well with the Office of the President and one that comes to mind is the President’s picture where he was sleeping in a meeting in one of his overseas trips. All the accusations went to the Press Secretary to the President because he is expected to always safeguard the President’s image in the media. I am not saying this is an issue that made him to be transferred but it might be one of them. Corporate governance is held high in many institutes. This is a system by which an organisation is controlled and operates, and the mechanism by which it is, and its people, is held to account. Ethics, risk management, compliance and administration are all elements of governance. Office of the President is the highest office in the land and all eyes are on it. Its employees are scrutinised daily by the public and the bosses. Kealeboga Dihutso - Editor It’s legal, obviously, and well within the ambit of presidential powers and the Public Service Act. It’s, however, worrying that too many people personally appointed by the President keep getting redeployed. KEALEBOGA DIHUTSO What is it about them that makes the President lose confidence? Or rather, what is the President doing that makes him fight so many professionals? Regardless of what John Dipowe, Government Communications and Information Systems is saying, the Press Secretary has been demoted in the same way that Dr Kaelo Molefhe was demoted to the Constitutional thing. Monametsi Sokwe - BOCONGO Executive Director While transferring of public servants is a norm, the sudden transfer of the President’s spokesperson is a big shift and indicates a rift and loss of trust by the president on his mouthpiece. MONAMETSI SOKWE Spencer Mogapi - Editors Forum Chairperson I have no idea why he was transferred. I did not see it coming. But, look, he’s a civil servant. And these things come with being a civil servant. He worked for the president and all people working for the president serve at his pleasure. I really wanted him to succeed. I’ve known him for over 20 years now. He worked under me at Botswana Gazette. He’s a competent guy but also very brave enough to voice his thoughts no matter what. SPENCER MOGAPI That is a big risk when you are surrounded by too many people with big egos. His departure is unlikely to affect the media because a successor will be chosen. My view is that a press secretary to the president should be allowed to address press conferences. That did not happen under Leagajang but, hey, we can only wish him well. Katlego Morolong - BNF Women’s League SG Consistently, the President, ever since he assumed his term, has reshuffled cabinet at an alarming rate, we saw many resignations that did not give any benefit of the doubt and in my opinion that’s a terrible leadership sight just like we have currently been told that Leagajang has been moved and consequently Dipowe gave Batswana a horrible statement, that lacks accountability and credibility of the OP. It is not alluding much as to why he was being moved. Evidently, there is lack of governance within the President’s office; we have, numerous times, called out leadership that is invested in lies, bickering and deceit and that surely is at play within the corridors of the OP. It has always been clear that Leagajang was too excitable for the role and, just like Masisi, he lacked the requisite decorum for that high office. During his tenure, Leagajang became the worst version of Goebells. He, in fact, resembled Jacob Zuma’s spokesperson, Mzwandile Manyi. KATLEGO MOROLONG His appointment and subsequent demotion brings to the fore the suitability of cadre deployment in senior government positions. Leagajang may be a journalist by trade, but was he the right man for the job? Where were experienced senior civil servants who have been handling publicity for the government? Why were they overlooked in favour of appointing Leagajang, who had lost BDP primary elections to Mmusi Kgafela? So, the position he occupied was not based on his credentials or merit but as compensation for losing primary elections and for being loyal to Masisi. No one can cry for him. I call on Masisi to stop misleading Batswana and tell them the truth on why Leagajang was redeployed.