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BDP, IEC want UDC petitions nullified

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), have filed notice of opposition to the petitions brought before the Gaborone High Court by the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), following gigantic white-wash by the ruling party in the just ended General Elections.

The BDP is moving swiftly to oppose all the petitions made by the UDC. The UDC’s move to have the constituencies declared vacant is to allow for fresh elections once the courts have made a judgment on all the cases. The IEC and BDP, who are cited as first and second respondents respectively, seek to challenge the petition brought by Sam Digwa, who wants the court to declare the constituency currently held by Member of Parliament and Vice President of Botswana, Slumber Tsogwane, Boteti West as vacant whilst awaiting the court to rule on the matter.

Furthermore the BDP and IEC seek to oppose petitions by UDC Molepolole North Parliamentary candidate Mohammed Khan, and Gaborone North candidate, Haskins Nkaigwa who are also challenging results that favoured BDP Secretary General, Mpho Balopi and respectively.
The IEC and BDP also moved to nullify petition by Micus Chimbombi who is also seeking that the court declare the parliamentary seat won by Sam Brooks of the BDP as vacant.

BDP lawyers have also raised points in limine in a petition by UDC Molepolole North Parliamentary candidate Mohammed Khan, they allege that the petition does not comply with Sections 105 (a) of the Electoral Act, “it does not allege that the payment or money or some other act or the illegal practice alleged in the petition was made or one with the knowledge and consent or approval of the member or his/her election agent.” Points of limine in law are raised before the actual case can be heard.

The BDP and IEC further allege that the petition is fatally defective to the extent that the locus standi in judicio of the first respondent (IEC) has not been properly pleaded in the petition. They raise that it is not clear what legal entity the first respondent is and whether it is capable of suing or being sued. “The 1st respondent is not properly before the court therefore and to that extent all remedies and/or reliefs that the Petitioner seeks against the 1st respondent are incompetent.”

In addition to the points of limine raised, BDP and IEC further point out failure to comply with section 118 of the Electoral act in that there was no notice of presentation of the petition therefore such a breach nullifies the petition.  
The ruling on the points of law will be heard on the 23rd December 2019, the UDC is also expected to respond on the points of law made on Monday 15th 2019 this coming week.
Both the applicants and the respondents have not yet begun trials on either of the cases.
The ruling on the points of law raised by the BDP and IEC will determine whether or not the petitions will succeed and be heard by the courts of law. 

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Government sitting on 4 400 vacant posts

14th September 2020
(DPSM) Director Goitseone Naledi Mosalakatane

Government is currently sitting on 4 400 vacant posts that remain unfilled in the civil service. This is notwithstanding the high unemployment rate in Botswana which has been exacerbated by the recent outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

Just before the burst of COVID-19, official data released by Statistics Botswana in January 2020, indicate that unemployment in Botswana has increased from 17.6 percent three years ago to 20.7 percent. “Unemployment rate went up by 3.1 percentage between the two periods, from 17.6 to 20.7 percent,” statistics point out.

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FNBB projects deeper 50 basis point cut for Q4 2020

14th September 2020
Steven Bogatsu

Leading commercial bank, First National Bank Botswana (FNBB), expects the central bank to sharpen its monetary policy knife and cut the Bank Rate twice in the last quarter of 2020.

The bank expects a 25 basis point (bps) in the beginning of the last quarter, which is next month, and another shed by the same bps in December, making a total of 50 bps cut in the last quarter.  According to the bank’s researchers, the central bank is now holding on to 4.25 percent for the time being pending for more informed data on the economic climate.

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Food suppliers give Gov’t headache – report

14th September 2020
Food suppliers give Gov’t headache

An audit of the accounts and records for the supply of food rations to the institutions in the Northern Region for the financial year-ended 31 March 2019 was carried out. According to Auditor General’s report and observations, there are weaknesses and shortcomings that were somehow addressed to the Accounting Officer for comments.

Auditor General, Pulane Letebele indicated on the report that, across all depots in the region that there had been instances where food items were short for periods ranging from 1 to 7 months in the institutions for a variety of reasons, including absence of regular contracts and supplier failures. The success of this programme is dependent on regular and reliable availability of the supplies to achieve its objective, the report said.

There would be instances where food items were returned from the feeding centers to the depots for reasons of spoilage or any other cause. In these cases, instances had been noted where these returns were not supported by any documentation, which could lead to these items being lost without trace.

The report further stressed that large quantities of various food items valued at over P772 thousand from different depots were damaged by rodents, and written off.Included in the write off were 13 538 (340ml) cartons of milk valued at P75 745. In this connection, the Auditor General says it is important that the warehouses be maintained to a standard where they would not be infested by rodents and other pests.

Still in the Northern region, the report noted that there is an outstanding matter relating to the supply of stewed steak (283×3.1kg cans) to the Maun depot which was allegedly defective. The steak had been supplied by Botswana Meat Commission to the depot in November 2016.

In March 2017 part of the consignment was reported to the supplier as defective, and was to be replaced. Even as there was no agreement reached between the parties regarding replacement, in 51 October 2018 the items in question were disposed of by destruction. This disposal represented a loss as the whole consignment had been paid for, according to the report.

“In my view, the loss resulted directly from failure by the depot managers to deal with the matter immediately upon receipt of the consignment and detection of the defects. Audit inspections during visits to Selibe Phikwe, Maun, Shakawe, Ghanzi and Francistown depots had raised a number of observations on points of detail related to the maintenance of records, reconciliations of stocks and related matters, which I drew to the attention of the Accounting Officer for comments,” Letebele said in her report.

In the Southern region, a scrutiny of the records for the control of stocks of food items in the Southern Region had indicated intermittent shortages of the various items, principally Tsabana, Malutu, Sunflower Oil and Milk which was mainly due to absence of subsisting contracts for the supply of these items.

“The contract for the supply of Tsabana to all depots expired in September 2018 and was not replaced by a substantive contract. The supplier contracts for these stocks should be so managed that the expiry of one contract is immediately followed by the commencement of the next.”

Suppliers who had been contracted to supply foodstuffs had failed to do so and no timely action had been taken to redress the situation to ensure continuity of supply of the food items, the report noted.

In one case, the report highlighted that the supplier was to manufacture and supply 1 136 metric tonnes of Malutu for a 4-months period from March 2019 to June 2019, but had been unable to honour the obligation. The situation was relieved by inter-depot transfers, at additional cost in transportation and subsistence expenses.

In another case, the contract was for the supply of Sunflower Oil to Mabutsane, where the supplier had also failed to deliver. Examination of the Molepolole depot Food Issues Register had indicated a number of instances where food items consigned to the various feeding centres had been returned for a variety of reasons, including food item available; no storage space; and in other cases the whole consignments were returned, and reasons not stated.

This is an indication of lack of proper management and monitoring of the affairs of the depot, which could result in losses from frequent movements of the food items concerned.The maintenance of accounting records in the region, typically in Letlhakeng, Tsabong, and Mabutsane was less than satisfactory, according to Auditor General’s report.

In these depots a number of instances had been noted where receipts and issues had not been recorded over long periods, resulting in incorrect balances reflected in the accounting records. This is a serious weakness which could lead to or result in losses without trace or detection, and is a contravention of Supplies Regulations and Procedures, Letebele said.

Similarly, consignments of a total of 892 bags of Malutu and 3 bags of beans from Tsabong depot to different feeding centres had not been received in those centres, and are considered lost. These are also not reflected in the Statement of Losses in the Annual Statements of Accounts for the same periods.

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