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Mzwinila wants extra P2.4 billion for water projects

The Minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services, Kefentse Mzwinila has announced this week that Water Quality Monitoring Equipment Project Budget has increased from USD$ 1. 2 million to USD$ 3. 4 million.

Mzwinila said this when briefing stakeholders on the progress and status of Botswana Emergency Water Security and Efficiency (BEWSE) in Gaborone. Minister Mzwinila noted that there is a re- tendering for this project which was further delayed due to the unavailability of World Banks STEP system. Mzwinila said BEWSE project has three components: (1) improve availability of water supply and efficiency of services, (2) improve wastewater and sludge management, and (3) sector reform and institutional strengthening.

The first component of Water Supply projects, the Minister said, is currently 10 of 12 projects that are still in the procurement for Design Review or Design and Build/Design, Supply and Install phase with six of these in the evaluation stage- North East, Boteti, Mosu, Malwelwe, Mathethe, and Francistown. Minister Mzwinila explained that the safeguards are delaying the procurement process for three projects- Selibe Phikwe, Kuke and Bere. These are the environmental and social impact analysis issues.

According to Mzwinila the second component of Waste and Sludge Management entails rehabilitation or refurbishment of three wastewater treatment plants; Mambo, Letlhakane and Lobatse. Mambo project is half way through the feasibility phase, while Letlhakane feasibility has now commenced and Lobatse has awarded the contract and feasibility will commence in February 2020.

In the third component, which is Institutional Strengthening and Capacity building, six (6) studies have signed contracts and started implementation. These are development of raw water abstraction and pricing strategy; development of water conservation and demand management strategy; study on the demarcation of catchment areas; saline groundwater options study; study on the management of aquifer recharge (design and options) and non-site-specific equipment- ground and surface water monitoring equipment.

The Minister further explained that three (3) studies are already at Expression of Interest (EOI) evaluation stage. These are detailed assessment and prioritization plans for long term water security; revision of Water Act and related pieces of legislation and establishment of independent water regulator and development of national sanitation strategy.

Two (2) studies are already at TOR level and have been submitted to WBG. These are development of Public Private Partnerships (PPP) framework for water and sanitation projects and amendment of the national and wastewater policy. Three (3) study projects are still at conceptualization and development of the TOR. The progress for the projects is as follows;

Purchasing and installation of site- specific equipment- surface water and groundwater is planned to be synchronized with the development of the Total Water Management System (TWMS). The feasibility study for TWMS is completed while negotiations with K- Water is ongoing on how to carry out the synchronization. The Minister also confirmed that the development of TOR for drought preparedness and management plan, and the long term national water security strategy is ongoing to be completed by March 2020.

According to Mzwinila, Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) currently has eight (8) projects currently under this component. “Progress is still slow. Notable progress was recorded in only two (2) projects; the Non-Revenue Water Reduction Program and Development of a Water Supply and Sanitation Design Manual projects. The progress for the projects is as follows;

Non- Revenue Water Reduction Program is in two Phases. Phase 1: Assessment of Non-Revenue Water Status at different Management Centres is completed. Phase 2: Implementation of Recommendations of Phase 1 is at procurement stage (Procurement of Consultancy for Technical and Commercial Advisory Support; Procurement of Goods Procurement of Works to await appointment of Consultant)

Implementation of Meter Reading and Billing system improvements as per the recommendations of the NRW Strategy Report. Project will await the appointment of NRW Consultant to provide input into the Draft TORs. Development of a Water Supply and Sanitation Design Manual is at procurement stage. The closing of the EOI advert was on 09th January 2020. The project will then move to issuing of Request for Bid.

Mzwinila also submitted that Water Quality Monitoring Equipment project budget has increased from USD$ 1. 2 million to USD$ 3. 4 million. Furthermore there is a re-tendering for this project. Re-tendering process was further delayed due to the unavailability of World Banks STEP system.

Review and implementation of energy reduction strategy; progress to date; Project scope revised at component 3 Projects Meeting on 17th July 2019, to focus on review and implementation of energy reduction strategy. SMEC Audit report has been shared with WB for review and WB to advise this is adequate.

“One (1) project has been added under WUC component 3: Groundwater Monitoring for selected well fields. Draft TORs prepared and under WUC Peer Review. Two (2) projects have been put on hold and will resume after completion of Itemogo Project (WUC Restructuring) are Development of WSS Capital Investment Book and Support for Implementation of Institutional Strengthening”.

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Boko’s rivals plan new party

15th August 2022

Following their loss to the Duma Boko-led lobby in the Botswana National Front (BNF)’s national congress last month, some members of the party are reportedly considering forming a new political party.

According to members, the new party will be formed after they receive a tip-off that the BNF will do all it can to ensure that the aggrieved members do not participate in the 2024 national elections. This will reportedly done through a carefully orchestrated primary elections elimination campaign. 

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13 AUGUST 2022 Publication

12th August 2022

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DIS blasted for cruelty – UN report

26th July 2022
DIS BOSS: Magosi

Botswana has made improvements on preventing and ending arbitrary deprivation of liberty, but significant challenges remain in further developing and implementing a legal framework, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said at the end of a visit recently.

Head of the delegation, Elina Steinerte, appreciated the transparency of Botswana for opening her doors to them. Having had full and unimpeded access and visited 19 places of deprivation of liberty and confidentiality interviewing over 100 persons deprived of their liberty.

She mentioned “We commend Botswana for its openness in inviting the Working Group to conduct this visit which is the first visit of the Working Group to the Southern African region in over a decade. This is a further extension of the commitment to uphold international human rights obligations undertaken by Botswana through its ratification of international human rights treaties.”

Another good act Botswana has been praised for is the remission of sentences. Steinerte echoed that the Prisons Act grants remission of one third of the sentence to anyone who has been imprisoned for more than one month unless the person has been sentenced to life imprisonment or detained at the President’s Pleasure or if the remission would result in the discharge of any prisoner before serving a term of imprisonment of one month.

On the other side; The Group received testimonies about the police using excessive force, including beatings, electrocution, and suffocation of suspects to extract confessions. Of which when the suspects raised the matter with the magistrates, medical examinations would be ordered but often not carried out and the consideration of cases would proceed.

“The Group recall that any such treatment may amount to torture and ill-treatment absolutely prohibited in international law and also lead to arbitrary detention. Judicial authorities must ensure that the Government has met its obligation of demonstrating that confessions were given without coercion, including through any direct or indirect physical or undue psychological pressure. Judges should consider inadmissible any statement obtained through torture or ill-treatment and should order prompt and effective investigations into such allegations,” said Steinerte.

One of the group’s main concern was the DIS held suspects for over 48 hours for interviews. Established under the Intelligence and Security Service Act, the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) has powers to arrest with or without a warrant.

The group said the “DIS usually requests individuals to come in for an interview and has no powers to detain anyone beyond 48 hours; any overnight detention would take place in regular police stations.”

The Group was able to visit the DIS facilities in Sebele and received numerous testimonies from persons who have been taken there for interviewing, making it evident that individuals can be detained in the facility even if the detention does not last more than few hours.

Moreover, while arrest without a warrant is permissible only when there is a reasonable suspicion of a crime being committed, the evidence received indicates that arrests without a warrant are a rule rather than an exception, in contravention to article 9 of the Covenant.

Even short periods of detention constitute deprivation of liberty when a person is not free to leave at will and in all those instances when safeguards against arbitrary detention are violated, also such short periods may amount to arbitrary deprivation of liberty.

The group also learned of instances when persons were taken to DIS for interviewing without being given the possibility to notify their next of kin and that while individuals are allowed to consult their lawyers prior to being interviewed, lawyers are not allowed to be present during the interviews.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention mentioned they will continue engaging in the constructive dialogue with the Government of Botswana over the following months while they determine their final conclusions in relation to the country visit.

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