Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leader, Advocate Duma Boko has dismissed Government’s oversight and accountability model of appointment of senior Government officials by the head of state.
He said the secret code between the appointing authority and the appointed office bearers create room for abuse of office and non-accountability as no one knows the terms and conditions to which an officer has been appointed. Advocate Boko was speaking at the UDC’s public lecture on the Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Bill, 2019 at Oasis Motel on Monday evening following his party’s rejection of the bill in parliament.
He said that as UDC they reject the bill because in its current form, the Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) is the custodian of the disclosures yet the president makes his appointment on such “sweetheart terms and conditions” as only he the president deems fit.
Advocate Boko noted that the UDC rejects the bill and calls upon all citizens to reject it and demand to be taken seriously. He said Batswana have not been consulted on the bill but it is already in parliament being debated, adding that if not rejected it will be published. He said instead of institutionalising corruption, Government must be alive to the pressing need to institutionalise public participation as an integral part of oversight function.
He said his Government would take Batswana serious by making sure that government officials are people of integrity, are transparent and accountable as this strengthens oversight institutions. He stated that it is time oversight institutions are “freed from the shackles of the executive” and be made fully accountable to parliament. He further said as members of parliament, they must be resolute in asserting parliament’s oversight role to enhance democracy.
Boko noted that when institutions of governance are not well structured, no amount of money would save it. Reflecting on the institutional repertoire of the DCEC, the Leader of Opposition said the DCEC have failed miserably since its inception and therefore cannot be entrusted with the declaration of assets and liabilities bill. “ We are lumping more responsibilities on an institution that is already failing,” said Boko.
“The Director General is the pivotal person in the disclosure of assets when his appointment terms and conditions are secret. The president must first disclose the terms and conditions of such appointment and that is the missing link from the legislation,” he said. He further pointed out that the legislation as it is simply wants officials to declare without scrutiny to ascertain the disclosures as accurate, and the information remains secret between the Director General and the declarant. He said Government could not purport to have come out in the open when whoever will come across the information will be charged and imprisoned since the information is meant to be secret.
“Why do we declare and remove the information from the public eye, why is the declared information hidden under lock and key?” he asked rhetorically. He further reiterated that declaring for concealment is not any means to take the nation to where it wants to be. Boko said in applying the means-end calculus logic to the legislation, it is clear that the means with which the bill seeks to achieve the curbing of corruption and illicit enrichment by senior government officials and politicians will not yield the intended objective.
“Where is the scrutiny to ensure that the tendency for corruption will be eliminated, what do we use to detect corruption by those who have the power to engage in it?” he asked, emphasizing that the legislation should include some form of investigation so that unexplained and unexplainable wealth can be easily be identified and forfeited to the state. He emphasized that the secrecy to which Director Generals across all government oversight institutions are appointed has collapsed accountability and transparency, which the bill seeks to achieve.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.