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LSB Council to tighten screws on attorneys’ competencies

Newly elected Law Society of Botswana (LSB) Council has promised to tighten loose ends in local attorneys’ professional competencies. The Law Society strives to provide best practices, standards of ethics and information for members of the legal profession to improve professional conduct between members, their clients and the public.

Speaking to Weekend Post this week, the newly elected Chairman, Diba Diba highlighted that “we regulate the practice of law” but emphasized that they, “will not be merely regulating but to empower members to carry their practice and run well and profitable law firms.” Diba said this following their inaugural meeting on Friday which was intended to familiarize the new committee members with the current issues affecting the Council and by extension the legal fraternity in Botswana.

According to Diba, there are few priority areas that as LSB they would want to deal with from the onset that includes a particular attention on grooming young attorneys to rise quickly to the required standards in the profession. “We have to thoroughly train young lawyers that just completed their law studies as the focal point. This is precisely because their interests are divergent from that of senior Counsels. So we will continue with the legal education on the young ones,” Diba told this publication.

The new LSB chairman further went on to stress that the Council has a vigorous programme on advocacy and training when lawyers complete school adding that they train them to make them court ready. Even the more experienced lawyers, he added that they also will organize training for them because they need to understand the Accountants to effectively run their own law firms.

He continued: “Its lawyers’ businesses and any problem with Accounting is their responsibility. We will train them as lawyers on how to manage Financial Accounts despite having employed Accountants at their respective law firms.” In addition to the trainings, Diba stated that Law Society also want attorneys to familiarize themselves with the Financial Intelligence Agency (FIA) which most of them are not in touch with.

He observed: “there is FIA for anti-money laundering law which has requirements that lawyers need to adhere to which is one of the requirements in Know Your Customers (KYC). As LSB, we want lawyers to familiarize themselves with the Act. So we help such members comply with the Act.” The newly designated Chairman also said that they will crack the whip on non-compliant lawyers who drag the name of the profession in the mud. He said this in cognizant that for lawyers to be allocated a practicing certificate, they need to have their accounts audited so as to be qualified.  

“Every year, LSB sends a list of non-compliant lawyers but we believe as new Council we can help the attorneys not to make it into the list. In fact we don’t want that list, we don’t want anyone making it in that list. We do not wish anyone do not obtain a practicing certificate,” Diba pointed out.  

Legal Practitioners Act to be amended

Diba explained that in terms of the proposed amendments of the Legal Practitioners Act, they seriously need to look into the law and see whether it is appropriate in this time and era, having been passed in 1996. He reminisced that in December last year High Court ruled that lawyers are now free to advertise, so that essentially would mean that the Act has to be amended and possibly see what else to amend in the Act.

“With regard to the lawyers’ advertisement, the said judgement says we need to change the law, and that if lawyers advertise, what are the parameters. LSB will come with regulations for lawyers to advertise in which court gave us 6 months and if the government is to appeal they only have 6 weeks,” he said. The Law Society of Botswana discharges a dual role; on the one hand it regulates its members and on the other hand it represents the professional welfare of its members and the new Council has set the tone on what they will be judged with at the end of their two year term.

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Inequalities Faced by Individuals with Disabilities

22nd February 2024

The government’s efforts to integrate individuals with disabilities in Botswana society are being hampered by budgetary constraints. Those with disabilities face inequalities in budgetary allocations in the health and education sectors. For instance, it is reported that the government allocates higher budgetary funds to the general health sector, while marginal allocations are proposed for the development and implementation of the National Primary Health Care guidelines and Standards for those with Disabilities. This shows that in terms of budgetary solutions, the government’s proposed initiatives in improving the health and well-being of those with disabilities remain futile as there is not enough money going towards disability-specific health programs. On the other hand, limited budgetary allocations to the Special Education Unit also are a primary contributor to the inequalities faced by children with disabilities. The government only provides for the employment of 15 teachers with qualifications in special education despite the large numbers of children with intellectual disabilities that are in need of special education throughout Botswana. Such disproportional allocation of resources inhibits the capacity to provide affordable and accessible assisted technology and residential support services for those with disabilities. Given the fact that a different amount of resources have been availed to the education and health sectors, the general understanding is that the government is not doing enough to ensure that adequate resources are distributed to disability-specific programs and facilities such as barrier-free environments, residential homes, and special education schools for children with disabilities.

 

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Disability characterized by exclusion

22nd February 2024

Disability in Botswana, like in many other nations, has been characterized by exclusion, discrimination, and stigmatization. Negative attitudes towards individuals with disabilities (IWDs) have led to barriers in education, employment, and access to facilities and information. The lack of disability-specific legislation in Botswana has further perpetuated the exclusion of IWDs from society.

The National Policy on Care for People with Disabilities (NPCPD) in Botswana, established in 1996, aims to recognize and protect the rights and dignity of individuals with disabilities. The policy emphasizes the importance of integration and equal opportunities for IWDs in various sectors such as health, education, employment, and social development. While the policy provides a framework for addressing disability issues, it falls short of enacting disability-specific legislation to protect the rights of IWDs.

In 2010, the Government of Botswana established an office for IWDs within the Office of the President to coordinate disability-related policies and programs. While this office plays a crucial role in mobilizing resources for the implementation of policies, its approach to service delivery is rooted in social welfare, focusing on the care of IWDs as a social burden rather than recognizing their rights.

The lack of disability-specific legislation in Botswana has hindered the recognition of the rights of IWDs and the enactment of laws to protect them from discrimination and exclusion. Without legal protections in place, IWDs continue to face barriers in education, employment, and access to facilities and information, perpetuating their exclusion from society.

In order to address the exclusion of IWDs in Botswana, it is crucial for the government to prioritize the enactment of disability-specific legislation to protect their rights and ensure equal opportunities for all. By recognizing the rights and dignity of individuals with disabilities, Botswana can work towards creating a more inclusive society where IWDs are valued and included in all aspects of life.

 

 

 

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DJ Bafana’s one man show on the cards

21st February 2024

DJ Bafana, a talented DJ from Francistown, is gearing up to host his very own one-man show, a groundbreaking event that aims to not only showcase his skills but also empower fellow musicians. This ambitious project is currently in the planning stages, with DJ Bafana actively seeking out potential sponsors to help bring his vision to life.

In a recent interview with WeekendPost, DJ Bafana revealed that he is in talks with two potential venues, Limpopo Gardens and Molapo Leisure Gardens, to host his show. However, he is facing challenges in securing sponsorships from companies, particularly those who do not fully understand the importance of music-related events. Despite this setback, DJ Bafana remains determined to make his one-man show a reality and to use it as a platform to empower and support other artists in the industry.

What sets DJ Bafana’s show apart is the fact that he will be making history as the first person living with a disability to host a one-man show in Botswana. This milestone is a testament to his resilience and determination to break barriers and pave the way for others in similar situations. By showcasing his talent and passion for music, DJ Bafana is not only proving his worth as an artist but also inspiring others to pursue their dreams, regardless of any obstacles they may face.

As DJ Bafana continues to work towards making his one-man show a reality, he remains focused on his goal of empowering and uplifting his fellow musicians. Through his dedication and perseverance, he is setting an example for others to follow and showing that anything is possible with hard work and determination. The date for the show is yet to be announced, but one thing is for certain – DJ Bafana’s one-man show is sure to be a memorable and inspiring event for all who attend.

 

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