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UDC clash with IEC over irregularities

Umbrella for Democratic Change’s (UDC) legal brains have once again approached and slapped the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), with a demand letter to explain un-accounted duplicates of election registration cards and names scattered around the country.

According to the party President Duma Boko, they have found out that with few days before the polls which are waited with bated breath, there are over 93,000 registration cards which IEC has failed to account for. The registration exercise has attracted around 933 627 voters who are eligible to vote. In the first voter registration, 753 470 registered; the first supplementary garnered 40 738; and the last having attained 139 354.  IEC had targeted 1 067 218 million voters to register and used close to P134 million for the exercise.

The latest developments of duplicated names, Boko says it compromises the local elections which observers have always hailed as free and fair. “Rigging might have already started and we are concerned by the care-free manner demonstrated by the IEC,” he said. Already the party says it has sent a letter of concern through their lawyers to IEC over this matter and the election body has conceded that it was a blunder on their side but they have since arrested the situation. But the UDC top echelons are still not convinced and suspect there might be a plan to manipulate the highly anticipated elections.

“We have written to IEC to see the scale of this so that we can assess the numbers and the list and also see if those numbers are still on the voters’ roll or anything. But we have given them a deadline of which it has elapsed but I believe the lawyers will do something about it. It is a massive problem that we are dealing with,” Boko said on Thursday morning. With this “massive problem” facing them, UDC has already assembled a committee led by renowned attorney Dick Bayford, former BDF Commander Lt Gen Gaolathe Galebotswe and former Police Deputy Commissioner Kenny Kapinga. The trio who boast of vast experience in the law field are have been ascribed to the party to assist especially on matters such as this, which needs special attention. At the time of going to press Bayford’s mobile number rang unanswered.

On the other hand the election body through its spokesperson Osupile Maroba has admitted that they have received a plethora of complaints regarding duplicates but said there is no need to worry. “We have received a number of letters including that of UDC,” IEC mouthpiece Osupile Maroba confirmed and added: “Our election management system scan each person once and there is no how you can be registered twice. If it happens that you registered twice our system will pick one area you registered at and that is where you will vote. So if it has happened to some, they should be rest assured because the system will pick only one place so there is no how we can have duplicates in the voters roll.”

But what could be causing this? Maroba responded quickly; “Some people have made transfers which could be the factor. But a lot of party agents and politicians connived with registration clerks and registered people in their absence which is another case. Remember for you to register you should be there in person and produce all the documents needed to avoid incidents where people will now be saying they have registered unknowingly because of politicians and registration clerks.” Maroba says they have a taken a lot of people to task over this issues as they blot the national elections’ image.

UDC CONCERNED BY ELECTIONS INTEGRITY

While the elections institution maintains that the elections will not be compromised anyhow, the main opposition party UDC is not impressed at all. “Look at the ballot boxes from diaspora. They were covered with tapes and labelled by pens. That spoke chaos and they must look good and be protected, it is about integrity of our elections,” Boko observed. As a party after witnessing that eye-sore, there is suspicions within its boardrooms that the worst might be coming their way. “Vote rigging might have started from there and we are concerned by the carefree manner by the IEC,” Boko claimed.

IEC has nonetheless opted the transparency route as this week they invited stakeholders to count the ballot papers. 1,044 registered from the diaspora and more than 700 voted with one spoilt vote. Meanwhile today (Saturday), a total of 24 000 are expected to cast their votes at selected polling station in an advanced polling. Those who will be voting include; police and IEC staff who will be working on the Election Day. “Preparations have been done and we are waiting for the Election Day, those who will be voting today will use mostly district headquarters and some will use polling stations that will be used by the public on Wednesday,” Maroba explained. Remember; three days left before elections.

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Over 2 000 civil servants interdicted

6th December 2022

Over 2,000 civil servants in the public sector have been interdicted for a variety of reasons, the majority of which are criminal in nature.

According to reports, some officers have been under interdiction for more than two years because such matters are still being investigated. Information reaching WeekendPost shows that local government, particularly councils, has the highest number of suspended officers.

In its annual report, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) revealed that councils lead in corrupt activities throughout the country, and dozens of council employees are being investigated for alleged corrupt activities. It is also reported that disciplined forces, including the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), police, and prisons, and the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) have suspended a significant number of officers.

The Ministry of Education and Skills Development has also recorded a good number of teachers who have implicated in love relationships with students, while some are accused of impregnating students both in primary and secondary school. Regional education officers have been tasked to investigate such matters and are believed to be far from completion as some students are dragging their feet in assisting the investigations to be completed.

This year, Mmadinare Senior Secondary reportedly had the highest number of pregnancies, especially among form five students who were later forcibly expelled from school. Responding to this publication’s queries, Permanent Secretary to the Office of the President Emma Peloetletse said, “as you might be aware, I am currently addressing public servants across the length and breadth of our beautiful republic. Due to your detailed enquiry, I am not able to respond within your schedule,” she said.

She said some of the issues raised need verification of facts, some are still under investigation while some are still before the courts of law.

Meanwhile, it is close to six months since the Police Commissioner Keabetwe Makgophe, Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katlholo and the Deputy Director of the DIS Tefo Kgothane were suspended from their official duties on various charges.

Efforts to solicit comment from trade unions were futile at the time of going to press.

Some suspended officers who opted for anonymity claimed that they have close to two years while on suspension. One stated that the investigations that led him to be suspended have not been completed.

“It is heartbreaking that at this time the investigations have not been completed,” he told WeekendPost, adding that “when a person is suspended, they get their salary fully without fail until the matter is resolved”.

Makgophe, Katlholo and Kgothane are the three most high-ranking government officials that are under interdiction.

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Masisi to dump Tsogwane?

28th November 2022

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.

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African DFIs gear to combat climate change

25th November 2022

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.

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