The execution of Mooketsi Kgosibodiba by the Botswana Government this week in Gaborone, has opened old wounds and deepened public discourse on the death penalty in the country. On one hand, some observers and quite a considerable number of Batswana still believe in death penalty and take every opportunity to support the State to withhold it.
Such insists that the only deserving justice for murderers is to be executed as evidence by their notion and justification: “an eye for an eye.” However, speaking to Weekend Post this week, a renowned attorney who has done murder cases for years expressed his dissatisfaction against the latest development of killing by the State – despite calls to abolish the practice. He asserted to this publication that “this government is cruel… How does the State even find it fit and just normal to kill during the month of Jesus Christ? I find it interesting.”
Although regarded as a secular State, Botswana is predominantly Christian. The prominent lawyer expressed the sentiments following the latest death row casualty, 44 year old Kgosibodiba of Shashe-Semotswane Village who was killed by the State this week, in the early morning hours of Monday 2nd December 2019, at Gaborone Central Prison. Kgosibodiba was executed following the imposing of a death sentence on him by the Francistown High Court on the 14th December 2017, for the offence of murder.
The High Court convicted the now deceased for the murder of his employer Benjamin Makobela on 2nd February 2012 at Makobo village. He later appealed the judgement but was dismissed on the 27th July 2018, by the Court of Appeal. Subsequent to the inhuman effecting of capital punishment on Kgosibodiba, the Western countries accredited to Botswana moved swiftly to condemn Botswana for the action – once again – as they have always taken a stand and an opportunity to state their view.
The European Union Delegation, the EU Heads of Mission in Botswana and the Heads of Mission of Australia and Canada slammed the Botswana government for still maintaining the barbaric practice insisting that it is outdated. They asserted: “in light of the execution of Mr. Mooketsi Kgosibodiba, which took place on 2nd December 2019, the European Union, Australia and Canada reaffirm their strong opposition to capital punishment in all circumstances.”
They continued to point out that the death penalty is a cruel and inhumane punishment, which fails to deter criminal behavior and which represents a grave denial of human dignity and integrity while adding that any miscarriage of justice – which is inevitable in any legal system – is irreversible. The West further explained that death has no appeal, which is why most of countries in the world have stopped applying it.
“We continue to call on Botswana to initiate a public debate on its use of the death penalty, as the Government of Botswana has already agreed on the Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council in January 2018. We stand ready to share our experience with the process of abolishing the death penalty,” European Union, Australia and Canada further stressed to Botswana.
Research indicate that the African Continent has joined the growing trend towards abolition of the death penalty worldwide with 80% of the members of the African Union having already abolished the death penalty in law or in practice. It is said that out of the 29 countries in sub-Saharan Africa that still retain the death penalty in law, only four – Botswana, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan – carried out executions in 2018. In Botswana, the death sentence is usually issued upon murder under aggravated circumstances and is carried out by hanging.
Since independence, there is on average one execution per year, and the execution usually takes place few years after trial. Research indicates that, as of March 2018, there were 51 people on death row in Botswana, a notable increase from previous years. “Four individuals were sentenced to death in 2017 and one person was executed. There was one person on death row at the end of 2016. No new death sentences were imposed in 2016 and one execution was carried out. There were four men on death row at the end of 2015. One new death sentence was imposed in 2015,” research further indicates.
Botswana’s constitution provides for the death penalty under section 4(1) which states that, “No person shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of an offence under the law in force in Botswana of which he has been convicted.” In the same breath, section 202 of the Botswana Penal Code, which enforces the death penalty, states that, “any person who of malice aforethought causes the death of another person by an unlawful copyright Government of Botswana act or omission is guilty of murder.”
The Penal Code specifies that a person who is sentenced to death will be hanged by the neck until dead. Still in the Penal Code, section 203 states that “subject to the provisions of subsection (2), any person convicted of murder shall be sentenced to death. It continues that where a court in convicting a person of murder is of the opinion that there are extenuating circumstances, the court may impose any sentence other than death. (3) In deciding whether or not there are any extenuating circumstances the court shall take into consideration the standards of behavior of an ordinary person of the class of the community to which the convicted person belongs.”
Despite the pushbacks and calls for abolition of the death penalty, the then Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs, Edwin Batshu adamantly stated that the death penalty will continue to be practiced in Botswana. Batshu was quoted speaking at the 29th session of the third cycle review report of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Geneva, Switzerland last year February.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.
The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.
Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa
A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.
COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”
According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.
“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”
Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”
Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.
Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.
“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.
For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.
“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.
Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.
The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ, Patrick Thedi said, “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”
As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.
Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele, who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.
The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as well as bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.
TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050, has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.