The expelled member of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) has this week filed an urgent Interlocutory Application with High Court seeking to be given rights to participate in coalition meetings as well as other decision making bodies.
The Interlocutory Application precedes the awaited verdict for the review or Main application to be heard by 27 and 28th August 2019 subsequent to a case filled by BMD in 2018. In the application brought before High Court by BMD Secretary General and Member of Parliament for Mochudi West, Gilbert Mangole; the Chief Justice of Botswana is cited as the First Interlocutory Respondent, the Independent Electoral Commission of Botswana cited as Second Respondent and the Umbrella for Democratic Change as the Third Interlocutory Respondent filed on the 2nd July 2019.
The BMD seek to participate in all meetings of the UDC at all levels; participate in the selection of the Presidential candidate to be presented by the UDC in the forthcoming 2019 general elections; Presents its President as a likely contender and candidate in the internal process of selection of the Presidential candidate of the UDC in the forthcoming 2019 general elections.
The BMD also seek to participate in the selection of the persons to be nominated as parliamentary candidates to be presented by the UDC in the forthcoming 2019 general elections; present its members amongst the persons to be nominate as council candidates to be presented by the UDC in the forthcoming 2019 general elections and participates in the preparation of the elections manifesto of the UDC for the 2019 general elections.
According to the interlocutory application, the BMD says it is clear from the public position taken by the UDC that the BMD will, in violation of the registered Constitution of the UDC, be denied the above vital rights, inter alia, should; the Presidential candidate be presented by the UDC in the forthcoming 2019 general elections be nominated before the Review or Main Application brought by the BMD is heard and determined by the High Court and, in the event of an appeal to the Court of Appeal, by the latter Court.
The BMD says the parliamentary candidates to be presented by the UDC in the forthcoming 2019 general elections be nominated before the Review Application brought by the BMD is heard and determined by the High Court and the council candidates to be presented by the UDC in the forthcoming 2019 general elections be nominated before the Review Application brought by the BMD is heard and determined by the High Court and, in the event of an appeal to the Court of Appeal, by the latter Court.
The application points that the Chief Justice of the Republic of Botswana is, in terms of Section 32 and 38 of the Constitution of Botswana, the Returning Officer of presidential elections in respect of the President of Botswana and is the entity upon whom falls the duty to receive nominations for Presidential candidates.
According to the interlocutory application, the IEC is, in terms of Section 65A of the Constitution of Botswana, the constitutional body upon whom the duty to receive nominations for parliamentary and council candidates, and conduct and supervise the elections in which members of parliament and councilors are elected. The Review Application was served on both Respondents on 14 December 2018, the answering papers in which were delivered by the Respondents on the 28 and 29 March, and the BMD its replying papers soon thereafter.
The BMD states that, recognising the necessity to hear and determine the Review Application expeditiously in view of the fact that the general elections will be held this year, the High Court allocated 29 and 30 April 2019 for the hearing of the Review Application. “These dates suited the BMD but UDC, whose strategy has been a one of delay in the hope that the nomination of presidential, parliamentary and council candidates will take place prior to the hearing and final determination of the review Application, said that the dates were unsuitable to them,” Mangole contends.
On 29 April 2019 the UDC applied for the hearing to be postponed, and although the High Court was prepared to hear the review Application about the middle of June, to which dates the BMD was agreeable, but again the UDC said the only dates that suited them were dates after 23 August 2019, with the result that the dates set for the hearing of the Review Application are 27 and 28 August 2019.
According to the court papers the Parliament usually gets dissolved about the middle of August of the election year, and the August hearing dates appear to have been calculated to occur after the probable dissolution of parliament and the calling of elections in terms of part V of the Constitution of Botswana.
The BMD says to compound the delay as part of its strategy to avoid a final decision being made by the Court and, in the event of an appeal by the court of appeal, on the Review or Main Application, the Respondents; served on the Attorney General the statutory notice and served on the Attorney General a letter dated 28 May 2019 amending the statutory notice aforesaid on 28 May 2019.
The Review also made mention the fact that the Parliament of Botswana will sit in July and August 2019 commencing on Wednesday 3rd July 2019 and is scheduled to conclude on Friday 9th August 2019, at the conclusion of that session before the Review or Main Application is heard and finally determined by the Court and, in the event of an appeal the Court of Appeal, be dissolved and a Writ of elections for the holding of the 2019 general election be issued for such election to take place in October 2019.
The BMD fears that similarly the UDC will, in making such decisions, not consider members of the BMD for the inclusion amongst the paid presidential, parliamentary and council candidates. “The aforesaid exclusions by the UDC will be in violation of the rights of the BMD under the UDC Constitution.”The BMD submit that they are determined that its rights given by the UDC registered Constitution shall be preserved. “The only remedy available to the BMD for the protection of its rights aforesaid is for this Court to grant the interim interdict in this Interlocutory Application sought”.
They also submit that it is essential that this Interlocutory Application be heard and determined by the Court and, in the event of an appeal by the High Court of appeal, prior to the arrival of the days on which the candidates to be elected as the President of Botswana, Members of Parliament for Botswana, and Members of District Councils, shall be officially nominated.
“I submit that it is self- evident from the allegations above made and those made in the Review Affidavit attached above that the BMD will suffer irreparable harm if the interim interdict in this Interlocutory sought is not granted. Once lost to the BMD, the opportunity to participate in the identification of the UDC candidates to be nominated to take part in the 2019 generals elections to be recovered nor, in any manner whatsoever, replaced or compensated for. It is further submitted that the relief in the Application sought ought to be granted with costs.”
Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTC) has announced that its 3rd Francistown Marathon will be held on Saturday 20th April 2024 at Obed Itani Chilume Stadium in Francistown. The BTC Francistown Marathon is officially recognised by World Athletics and a Comrades Marathon Qualifier will offer race categories ranging from 42.2km, 21.1 km, 10km, 5km fun run, 5km peace run for children and has introduced a 5km and 10km categories for wheelchairs athletics.
BTC also used this opportunity to announce beneficiaries who received donations from proceeds made from the 2nd BTC Francistown Marathon that was held on April 23rd 203. BTC donated a play area, plastic chairs and wooden tables for pupils worth a total of thirty eight thousand, one hundred and three pula, fifty thebe each (P38, 103.50) to Monarch Primary School, Tatitown Primary School, Mahube Primary School and Gulubane Primary School. Ditladi and Boikhutso clinics each received a donation of benches, television sets and 10, 000 litre water tanks worth thirty seven thousan, eight hundred and ninety eight pula (P 37, 898.00). Additionally, BTC also donated seventy thousand pula (P70,000.00) to their marathon technical partner, Francistown Athletics Club (FAC) which will be used for daily operations as well as to purchase equipment for the club.
The BTC Francistown Marathon aligns seamlessly with BTC’s corporate social investment programme, administered through the BTC Foundation. This programme is a testament to BTC’s dedication to community development, focusing on key areas such as health promotion. The marathon, now in its third year, not only promotes a healthy lifestyle but also channels all proceeds to carefully chosen charities as part of BTC’s commitment to impactful and sustainable projects.
Speaking at the launch, the BTC Managing Director Mr Anthony Masunga stated that the marathon underscores BTC’s commitment to community upliftment and corporate social investment. He stated that “the annual event which has been in existence since 2016, having taken a break due to the covid and other logistical issues, is instrumental to the economic upliftment of the city of Francistown”. He congratulated all the beneficiaries for having been nominated to receive the donations, adding that “the donation of proceeds from the 2023 marathon aims to highlight BTC’s commitment and heart for Batswana and our continued impact in the different industries”.
He further stated that through this marathon, “we demonstrate our steadfast commitment to having a good influence on our communities, this event is a manifestation of our dedication to promoting education and a healthier, more active society”. He concluded by stating that “BTC looks forward to another successful marathon that will leave a lasting positive influence on the greater Francistown community and the country at large” he said.
Giving welcome remarks, the Councillor for Donga, Honourable Morulaganyi Mothowabarwa stated that “he is ecstatic that BTC is collaborating with the City of Francistown on yet another installment of the Marathon”. He continued to offer his support to BTC to enable this marathon to continue over the coming years, stating that the “CSI element is a welcome development that helps empower our communities”, he said.
The 3rd BTC Francistown Marathon is officially open for registrations and athletes may use the following platforms to register and pay; through Smega by dialling *173# and choosing opton 5, then choose Option 3 for the Francistown marathon, at any BTC store or by visiting the BTC website and clicking on the BTC Francistown Marathon and choosing the relevant options.
Thapelo Letsholo, Member of Parliament for Kanye North, delivered a moving speech at the United Nations International Anti-Corruption Day commemoration, praising President Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi’s digitalization initiative in the fight against corruption. Letsholo highlighted the importance of embracing digitalization in governance as a crucial step in curbing corrupt practices.
According to Letsholo, the implementation of digital systems in government services can significantly reduce direct interactions between citizens and officials, which often serve as fertile grounds for corruption. By minimizing these opportunities for illicit activities, the efficiency and transparency of public services can be enhanced. Letsholo pointed to Estonia’s success in digital governance as an example, where public services have become more transparent, accessible, and efficient.
The MP commended President Masisi’s commitment to digitalization and E-Governance, emphasizing that it aligns with global anti-corruption standards. He called for full support and active participation from all sectors to ensure the success of this initiative.
Letsholo also stressed the importance of improving detection methods and refining whistleblower laws to effectively combat corruption. He highlighted the unseen and unspoken facets of corruption as its lifelines, emphasizing the need for robust detection mechanisms and a system that encourages and protects whistleblowers.
Addressing the societal role in fighting corruption, Letsholo focused on the crucial role of everyday citizens and civil servants who often witness corrupt practices firsthand. He acknowledged the existing reluctance to report corruption due to the perceived risks of repercussions. To change this narrative, Letsholo advocated for creating an environment where staying silent is deemed more detrimental than speaking out. He called for a cultural shift where the potential benefits of exposing corruption outweigh the risks, ensuring that whistleblowers are protected and feel secure in coming forward.
Letsholo called for collective responsibility and action in creating a system that not only detects and reports corruption but also supports those who stand against it. He expressed hope that under President Masisi’s digitalization initiatives, the future of governance in Botswana will be characterized by integrity, transparency, and accountability. Letsholo’s speech resonated with the sentiments of hope and determination that permeated the commemoration, emphasizing the need for unity in the fight against corruption.
In summary, Letsholo lauded President Masisi’s digitalization initiative in the fight against corruption, highlighting its potential to curb corrupt practices, enhance efficiency and transparency in public services, and align with global anti-corruption standards. He emphasized the importance of improving detection methods, refining whistleblower laws, and creating an environment where speaking out against corruption is encouraged and protected. Letsholo called for collective responsibility and action in creating a future characterized by integrity, transparency, and accountability in governance.
FaR Property Company (FPC) Limited, a property investment company listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange, has recently announced its exceptional financial results for the year 2023. The company’s property asset value has risen to P1.47 billion, up from P1.42 billion in the previous year.
FPC has a diverse portfolio of properties, including retail, commercial, industrial, and residential properties in Botswana, South Africa, and Zambia. The company owns a total of 186 properties, generating rental revenues from various sectors. In 2023, the company recorded rental revenues of P11 million from residential properties, P62 million from industrial properties, and P89 million from commercial properties. Overall, the company’s total revenues increased by 9% to P153 million, while profit before tax increased by 22% to P136 million, and operating profit increased by 11% to P139 million.
One notable achievement for FPC is the low vacancy rate across its properties, which stands at only 6%. This is particularly impressive considering the challenging trading environment. The company attributes this success to effective lease management and the leasing of previously vacant properties in South Africa. FPC’s management expressed satisfaction with the results, highlighting the resilience of the company in the face of ongoing macroeconomic challenges.
The increase in profit before tax can be attributed to both an increase in income and effective control of operating expenses. FPC managed to achieve these results with fewer employees, demonstrating the company’s efficiency. The headline earnings per linked unit also saw an improvement, reaching 26.92 thebe, higher than the previous year.
Looking ahead, FPC remains confident in its competitiveness and growth prospects. The company possesses a substantial land bank, which it plans to develop strategically as opportunities arise. FPC aims for managed growth, focusing on consumer-driven developments and ensuring the presence of supportive tenants. By maintaining this approach, the company believes it can sustainably grow its property portfolio and remain competitive in the market.
In terms of the macroeconomic environment, FPC noted that inflation rates are decreasing towards the 3% to 6% range approved by the Bank of Botswana. This is positive news for the company, as it hopes for further decreases in interest rates. However, the fluctuating fuel prices, influenced by global events such as the war in Ukraine and oil output reductions by Russia and other Middle Eastern countries, continue to impact businesses, including some of FPC’s tenants.
FPC’s property portfolio includes notable assets such as a shopping mall in Francistown with Choppies Hyper as the anchor tenant, Borogo Mall located on the A33 main road near the Kazungula ferry crossing, and various industrial and commercial properties in Gaborone leased to Choppies, Senn Foods, and Clover Botswana. The company also owns a shopping mall in Mafikeng and Rustenburg in South Africa.
The majority of FPC’s properties, 85%, are located in Botswana, followed by 12% in South Africa and 3% in Zambia. With its strong financial performance, competitive position, and strategic land bank, FPC is well-positioned for continued growth and success in the property market.