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Molefhi’s Data Protection Bill set to safeguard personal data privacy

The Data Protection Bill proposed to parliament by the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration (MOPAPA), Nonofo Molefhi will best work if accompanied by the Freedom of Information Bill, according to lawmakers.

The bill according to minister Molefhi is an act to regulate the protection of personal data and to ensure that the privacy of individuals in their relation to personal data is maintained. Molefhi continued to say that part of II of the bill which comprises of 54 clauses aims to establish an Information and Data Protection Commission whose main objective is to protect the personal rights of individuals with regard to their personal data.

“The Commission will ensures that data controllers (persons who determine the purposes of and means of which personal data is processed) do not process personal data in violation of the Bill,” he said. He observed that the constitution of Botswana guarantees on section 9, the right to privacy as one of the fundamental rights and freedoms of an individual. He said that however people’s right to privacy quite often has been tempered with by some individuals. He added that the bill provides for specific powers of the Information and Data Protection Commission in relation to the processing of personal data.

Molefhi further pointed out that the bill’s clause 48 “prohibits data from Botswana to another country unless the Minister by statutory instrument designate the transfer of personal data to any country with clause 49 providing that where in terms of clause 48 data is transferred to another country, that country must ensure adequate level of protection as may be assessed by the Commissioner.”

While Members of Parliament welcomed the bill as a good development they also argued that such a bill should be passed in the presence of a freedom of information bill for it to be implemented successfully. Gaborone Central MP, Dr Phenyo Butale said the bill comes with few loopholes. He said that the minister has tabled the bill in a manner in which the government thinks data protection laws are more of secrecy laws. “This kind of bill is normally enacted after freedom of information bill because the reasoning for this is that data protection bill is misunderstood by most governments who like secrecy over transparency and they think it is a secrecy law,” he said.

Butale said there are missing instruments that could enhance efficiency of the bill such as the SADC data protection model law which could assist to ensure that the bill is adequate and equated to the international standards. For his part, leader of Alliance for Progressives (AP) and Member of Parliament for Gaborone Bonnington South, Ndaba Gaolathe said the spirit of this legislation is somehow built on facilitating freedom of information and protecting individuals’ privacy.

However, the soft spoken Gaolathe advised the minister that the bill is not quite clearly showing provisions for bigger data ethics and regulations, adding that there is need for data collection to be done fairly and lawfully. Another law maker and Kgatleng East MP, Moagi Molebatsi also concurred with other legislators that there is high need for the country to introduce the freedom of information bill. Molebatsi also said that the freedom of information bill should have been brought or enacted before laws such as the data protection bill because it will complement the current proposed bill.

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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

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.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021
LAWRENCE-OOKEDITSE

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.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

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.

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