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Johnson takes Gambling to Maun

The Chief Executive Officer of Botswana Gambling Authority Thulisizwe Johnson has said the development of a casino in Maun will help the village tap in to the tourism cake. Johnson explained that BGA will establish casinos in Gaborone; Palapye, Maun, and another in Kasane. Currently there are three casinos in Gaborone, two in Francistown, and each in Lobatse, Jwaneng, and Selebi Phikwe.

Speaking during a consultative meeting in Maun Cresta on Thursday, Johnson said so far Maun only serve as a getaway to the Okavango Delta but with an envisaged casino expected to be licensed by his authority the development would change the tourism landscape in Maun.
Johnson said: “the dream to turn Maun in to a tourism town is long overdue. We need to act and come up with a plan how we are going to achieve that and as BGA we are willing to help achieve that dream.”

Johnson said: “I am told Maun has 22 kilometers of river passage passing through the village. Thamalakane River is an asset that we need to develop and tap in to if we are serious about developing a tourism product that will be competitive in the Southern African tourism market.” Explaining about the process involved in the allocation of a casino license, Johnson explained that the Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry designates the locations and number of licences to be issued.

He said then request for application for licence type is published by BGA. Then, BGA evaluate license received including through public hearings. He reiterated through  a transparent process,  BGA board awards renewable licences for a 10 year period.  Johnson reiterated that the process for allocating licenses for new casinos in Botswana including Maun one is still ongoing.

Meanwhile Johnson also revealed that BGA is establishing a national lottery, sports betting and bingo licenses. The National Lottery is the official state-franchised lottery operated by a private sector company for the benefit of the people of Botswana. The intent is to provide entertainment and opportunity for the people whilst raising money for good causes. The Gambling Authority oversees the licensing and operation of the lottery on behalf of Government as well as the distribution of the funds to the various good causes.

 He explained that funds collected from the lottery will benefit Botswana’s sports program, charities, arts, and culture. “Right now there is a complaint of lack of sports infrastructure in Botswana and the lottery can help solve the situation.” Johnson said gambling has potential to diversify the economy and grow it as the tax that will come out of these casinos will contribute to the government’s revenue.

“President Mokgweetsi Masisi has vowed to start a forth industrial revolution in Botswana and through the casinos we can contribute to achieving that.” BGA board member, Neo Mothobi called on the member of the public to stop viewing casinos with negativity and see the benefits that can come from sector. She explained that they are undertaking public education campaigns in Maun to sensetise the community about responsible gambling.

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DPP halts JSC, Judge’s back to work plan

25th January 2021

The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP)’s decision to reject and appeal the High Court’s verdict on a case involving High Court Judge, Dr Zein Kebonang has frustrated the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and Judge Kebonang’s back to work discussions.

JSC and Kebonang have been in constant discussions over the latter’s return to work following a ruling by a High Court panel of judges clearing him of any wrong doing in the National Petroleum Fund criminal case filed by the DPP. However the finalization of the matter has been hanged on whether the DPP will appeal the matter or not – the prosecution body has since appealed.

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BDP rejects Saleshando payment proposal

25th January 2021
MP saleshando

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) top brass has declined a request by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to negotiate the legal fees occasioned by 2019 general elections petition in which the latter disputed in court the outcome of the elections.

This publication is made aware that UDC Vice President Dumelang Saleshando was left with an egg on his face after the BDP big wigs, comprising of party Chairman Slumber Tsogwane and Secretary General Mpho Balopi rejected his plea.

“He was told that this is a legal matter and therefore their (UDC) lawyer should engage ours (BDP) for negotiations because it is way far from our jurisdiction,” BDP Head of Communications, Kagelelo Kentse, told this publication.

This spelt doom for the main opposition party and Saleshando who seems not to have confidence and that the UDC lawyers have the dexterity to negotiate these kind of matters. It is not clear whether Saleshando requested UDC lawyer Boingotlo Toteng to sit at the table with Bogopa Manewe, Tobedza and Co, who are representing the BDP to strike a deal as per the BDP top echelons suggested.

“From my understanding, the matter is dealt with politically as the two parties are negotiating how to resolve it, but by far nothing has come to me on the matter. So I believe they are still substantively engaging each other,” Toteng said briefly in an interview on Thursday.

UDC petitioners saddled with costs after mounting an unprecedented legal suit before the court to try and overturn BDP’s October 2019 victory. The participants in the legal matter involves 15 parliamentary candidates’ and nine councillors. The UDC petitioned the court and contested the outcome of the elections citing “irregularities in some of the constituencies”.

In a brief ruling in January 2020, Judge President Ian Kirby on behalf of a five-member panel said: “We have no jurisdiction to entertain these appeals. These appeals must be struck out each with costs including costs of counsel”. This was a second blow to the UDC in about a month after their 2019 appeals were dismissed by the High Court a day before Christmas Day.

This week BDP attorneys decided to attach UDC petitioners’ property in a bid to settle the debts. UDC President Duma Boko is among those that will see their property being attached with 14 of his party members. “We have attached some and we are on course. So far, Dr. Mpho Pheko (who contested Gaborone Central) and that of Dr, Micus Chimbombi (who contested Kgalagadi South) will have their assets being sold on the 5th of February 2021,” BDP attorney Basimane Bogopa said.

Asked whether they met with UDC lawyers to try solve the matter, Bogopa said no and added. “Remember we are trying to raise the client’s funds, so after these two others will follow. Right now we are just prioritising those from Court of Appeal, as soon as the high court is done with taxation we will attach.”

Saleshando, when contacted about the outcomes of the meeting with the BDP, told WeekendPost that: “It would not be proper and procedural for me to tell you about the meeting outcomes before I share with UDC National Executive Committee (NEC), so I will have to brief them first.”

UDC NEC will meet on the 20th of next month to deal with a number of thorny issues including settling the legal fees. Negotiations with other opposition parties- Alliance for Progressives and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) are also on the agenda.

Currently, UDC has raised P44 238 of the P565 000 needed to cover bills from the Court of Appeal (CoA). This is the amount in a UDC trust account which is paltry funds equating 7.8 per cent of the overall required money. In the past despite the petitioners maintaining that there was promise to assist them to settle legal fees, UDC Spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa then said the party has never agreed in no way to help them.

“We have just been put in debt by someone,” one of the petitioners told this publication in the past. “President’s (Duma Boko) message was clear at the beginning that money has been sourced somewhere to help with the whole process but now we are here there is nothing and we are just running around trying to make ends meet and pay,” added the petitioner in an interview
UDC NEC has in December last year directed all the 57 constituencies to each raise a minimum of P10, 000. The funds will be used to settle debts that are currently engulfing the petitioners with Sheriffs, who are already hovering around ready to attach their assets.

The petitioners, despite the party intervention, have every right to worry. “This is so because ‘the deadline for this initiative (P10, 000 per constituency) is the end of the first quarter of this year (2021),” a period in which the sheriffs would have long auctioned the properties.

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Boko-Khama axis viewed with suspicion

25th January 2021

President of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Duma Boko’s alliance with former President Lt Gen Ian Khama continues to unsettle some quarters within the opposition collective, who believe the duo, if not managed, will once again result in an unsuccessful bid for government in 2024.

While Khama has denied that he has undeclared preference to have Boko remaining as leader of UDC, many believe that the two have a common programme, while other opposition leaders remain on the side-lines.

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