The newly formed Botswana Investment Trade Centre (BITC) is still struggling to find a substantive Chief Executive Officer (CEO).Efforts to have the BITC CEO appointed by July as originally planned failed, as the best candidates recommended by the Human resources companies did not get a nod from cabinet.
Minister of Trade and Industry whose portfolio covers BITC, Dorcus Makgato- Malesu could not be drawn to discuss this issue except to confirm that the first candidates interviewed and shortlisted were not successful and that the search is still on.
Botswana Guardian has it on good authority that during the first interviews, the best candidate was Regina Sikalesele Vaka, but cabinet allegedly turned her appointment down. After this the ministry wanted to re-advertise the position but the board allegedly declined. Instead it was decided that they should headhunt for a suitable candidate.
The board allegedly handed over the matter to Human Resources companies. HRMC came up with the best candidate being Patience Dambe, a marketing expert who owns a series of business in South Africa. It is alleged that Dambe too turned the offer down, because the package did not match the sacrifice and investment she has made thus far in another country.
The board then allegedly asked the ministry to look for a suitable candidate, and decided to continue with one of its own board member Wilhelmina Makwinja as Acting Chief Executive Officer.
The board agreed to appoint Makwinja to act as CEO until end of October because they did not want to be seen to be giving an advantage to the two leaders of the merging organisations in Lamarck Nthekela of BEDIA and Letsebe Sejoe of IFSC. The two were given six months to prove themselves.
The board also created a new post of Chief Operating Officer and appointed former IFSC man, Sejoe to take over with the aim that he will learn along the way and ultimately be appointed Acting CEO if he performs well. While still holding office, Makwinja announced that Sejoe, having been appointed the COO would be receiving coaching from a Mauritius Investment promotion Agent (IPA) for six months to assist him to perform in his duties.
So far the majority of the executive staff from BEDIA have not made the grade, as all the four former directors and acting CEO were not successful in being absorbed by the new organisation and left on October 30. The four are former acting CEO Lamarck Nthekela, Director of Research Lisenda Lisenda, Director of Business Development, Kgakgamatso Moloi and Kungo Lentswe the director of PR Communications and export development.
Botswana Guardian has learnt that a total of 13 senior staff members have left thus far twelve of which were from BEDIA, whilst the one from IFSC allegedly volunteered for an exit package. Meanwhile, all employees of BITC have been required to sign the conditions of service with certificate of confidentiality which will bring about professionalism in an organisation that has lost consumer confidence after it was discovered that some of them stole ideas from clients only to pass them over to their respective business partners. The conditions of service will clearly define what is breach of contract and what could lead to one facing disciplinary action.