Appointment of envoy prerogative of President

29 Nov 2023

The appointment of high commissioners and ambassadors is the sole prerogative of the President and is provided for by the constitution.

An envoy however, is a public servant and therefore has a job description that guides their general scope of representational duties. Responding to a question in Parliament, the Assistant Minister for State President, Mr Dumizweni Mthimkhulu said the key role of an envoy was to represent and safeguard the country’s interests abroad.

“These interests, which are the bedrock of Botswana’s foreign policy are defined by the country’s domestic policy and development priorities,” he said.

Mr Mthimkhulu said in carrying out their responsibilities, envoys play a fundamental role in building and nurturing relations, enhancing Botswana’s image internationally, promoting the country as a destination for tourism, investment as well as effectively implementing the country’s foreign policy.

“This entails articulating the country’s policy position on bilateral, regional and multilateral affairs, building strategic partnerships, securing development opportunities and market access for Botswana products,” he said. He said in that regard, an envoy should therefore possess an indepth understanding of the country’s interests, vision, development priorities and challenges.

He said that such would enable them to advocate for favourable global policies and to harness international cooperation to advance the country’s development agenda. Concerning Foreign Service Allowance (FSA), Mr Mthimkhulu explained that it differed according to regions.

“The rate for African based diplomats, save for Nigeria, is calculated using a salary scale C1 as a base and the E2 salary scale is used for those based outside the continent,” he said.
Apart from FSA, Mr Mthimkhulu said all the staff at missions received additional support from government, such as accommodation rentals, coverage of utilities, medical expenses and tuition fees.

“Furthermore, transport and telephone costs for Heads of Missions and their deputies are covered,” he said.

He further explained that the FSA was currently under review, and that consultations with the relevant stakeholders were currently ongoing.

Mr Mthimkhulu said currently, Botswana has a total of 23 diplomatic missions abroad, with nine in Africa, six in Europe,four in Asia and The Pacific, three in The Americas and one in The Middle East.

He also said that there were currently 20 ambassadors/High Commissioners appointed in their substantive posts. Mr Mthimkhulu said that there were currently 15 political appointees and five careers diplomats.

The Assistant Minister was responding after the MP for  Mahalapye East, Mr Yandani Boko enquired about the number of diplomatic and foreign mission Botswana had abroad and the current number of ambassadors/high commissioners. He also wanted to know how many of them were political appointees and how many were career diplomats.

Mr Boko also wanted to know the justification in case political appointees outnumbered careers diplomats, and how long the trend would continue. Mr Boko also enquired if the ministry was aware of the differences in FSA for Botswana’s African based diplomats and their colleagues outside the continent and whether there was a remedy in place to correct the anomaly. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : BOPA

Location : GABORONE

Event : PARLIAMENT

Date : 29 Nov 2023