Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) President Duma Gideon Boko has spoken highly of Masisi saying he will be much better that ex President Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama in terms of leadership style.
“There is nobody who can be worse ever than Khama, but Masisi is not going to take it any further. If there is any difference will be marginal since he is a civilian. So I expect him to be more amenable to engaging with me as Leader of Opposition (LOO) than his predecessor,” Boko told Weekend Post this week. He says he foresees Masisi engaging with him from time to time and respecting his office than Khama did who totally shunned it.
“Masisi will be much slightly better than Khama, at least at the level of engagement and being able to talk and listening to each other, and respecting certain protocols. For example appreciating that the LOO does not imply writing him (LOO) telling him what to do but consulting him and engaging with him robustly,” the UDC leader highlighted to this publication. When pressed further for clarity on his assertions he pointed out that: “he (Masisi) is a friend of mine. And this point is important to make.”
For the fact that he opposes Masisi, the president of the country and the BDP, does not mean he hates the man and his party. “In fact it must suggest to you that I love the country and I love the man a lot. If I would advise him and do so consistently, meticulously and persistently even in the face of hostility, it means I care even about him,” he said.
For the reason that he shouts so strongly in the throat he said is because he wants to protect these Presidents and former Presidents from having to come before courts and serve sentences in their time of retiring. I am helping them; this is what I do and I do it for free; I do it because I love the country and these presidents, he pointed out.
The opposition leader who is also an Advocate threatened Masisi and former Presidents with court action for any wrong doing: “you know why, because as we speak, ex President of South Africa Jacob Zuma appeared in court recently. So as we speak, the former President of South Korea Park Geun-hye was sentenced to 24 years in jail for corruption. As we speak the Brazilian Supreme court has ordered that President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva who was president for Brazil must go to jail for 12 years for corruption.”
Under Masisi, Boko expects no major policy shift
Boko also asserted that, under Masisi presidency he still does not expect anything new and major while labeling the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) as a dead horse. He insisted that Masisi won’t be any major difference. “We don’t expect anything new. It’s the same BDP that we opposed as opposition Botswana National Front (BNF). We opposed the BDP when it was led by Sir Seretse Khama, the father to Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama. We opposed the BDP down the ages and decades. We oppose the BDP today, not because of espionages and personalities. We oppose the BDP on a principle point because of its policies and its failures to transform lives of our people.”
He continued: “we oppose the BDP because of its endemic corruption and the momentous failure to turn the economy around and the momentous failure to diversify the economy. So what will now change? Will this current President Masisi change things around? Of course not, you know why? Because he is tied to a National Development Plan (NDP 11) that was passed by parliament and this is a knight in shining amour.”
According to the LOO, the BDP is incapable of reforms. He said borrowing from his leftist politics that consciousness which is the subjective instincts of the desire of the people is not shaped in isolation and the material conditions of the people exist, the conditions of abject poverty, issues of massive unemployment especially youth unemployment, conditions of the working poor like a lower bracket government employee.
For example, “I have said to the BDP introduce a minimum or living wage of 3000bwp across and they have refused. And these are the things am selling to the people and the people will make judgement based on them.” In fact he said with the BDP the material conditions will not change, instead they will worsen “and our people’s consciousness will heighten especially the young people who are the most affected. They will decide the outcome of 2019.”
So, in terms of the 2019 General Elections, he said the BDP will be out of power. “That’s it. I am certain. I am confident. We are winning in 2019 and we are winning so big. People should get ready to appreciate complete materials under BDP will not change that we need something more radical and transformative and that is the UDC. That’s what we offer. We are for change. We are advocates of change,” the Gaborone Bonnington North lawmaker insisted to this publication.
In terms of internal bickering that is currently ensuing between UDC affiliates; Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), Botswana Congress Party (BCP), Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) and BNF, Boko said the wrangling is normal. In the UDC he said “differences and disagreements must be there and take place. Unity must be shaken. At BNF we even believe in politics of dialectics. Dialectics say they have to be contradictions for there to be movement. We distinguish contradictions from antagonism.
Contradictions are essential for progress. ”When asked about the AP he said “AP won’t disturb us. If you are fighting and you know some will tap on your territory, you fight even more so that whatever they take do not even derail you. And that’s what we are doing.” He however added that but of course they remain open to engage with them as well because ultimately they need each other. “We are always ready. The idea is to have the entire opposition contesting as one at the polls,” he said.
Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the Review of the Constitution held a meeting in Serowe this week. The meeting was to accord Bangwato, just like other tribes, a platform to give their opinions, contributions and what they think is the horse power and limitations of the current Constitution of Botswana.
Bangwato Regent, Kgosi Serogola Seretse said, he is of the understanding that the Commission has not come for anything apart from getting their opinions on how things could be made better. His contribution was that he solely knows of only two social positions in the world; Dikgosi and Pastors. He said other positions are just benedictions. He further urged that, Batswana should respect God’s ordained protocols such as Dikgosi and Pastors.
Seretse pointed out the importance of acknowledging and appreciating Dikgosi as nation builders. He cautioned and warned that, the Commission should ensure that their dealing with Dikgosi is harmonious. He called for an amendment to be made on the ‘National Order of Precedence’ noting that Dikgosi are put at number 11, but should at least be taken a little higher to number 7.
One resident, Tshepo Moloi while giving his contribution said there must be provisions of Social Justice that ensure equal distribution of resources to all citizens. He said this provision should entail an obligation that all citizen have equal opportunities to different Government Initiatives. Moloi substantiated that, all ‘Presidential Commissions’ be engraved on the Constitution
Alfred Thogolwane who is as well a resident of the biggest village in the Central District, pointed out the need for preservation of the country and resources thereof, saying “it must dawn onto all that, the calabash that fetches water for the family cannot fixed once its broken.” Another resident, Keikantsemang Sebedi advocated for Polygamous marriage, saying that men should marry as many wives as they please. She said there is no need for any socioeconomic assessment done on men who wish to marry more than one wife.
She advised that, the country should benchmark from the Zezuru culture that does it, with no complexities. On the other hand, Sebedi said that, there must be considerations done on the Old Age Pension. She said people who earned P4000 should not receive the old Age Pension upon their fullness of age. Forshia Koloi called for amendments on Section 77 and all the provisions that speaks to the subject of Bogosi and the powers infested in them. He said they should be made more detailed and avoid ambiguity in clauses.
Mr Tlhaodi said there must be Land Audits done in the country. Citing an example of the Tati Land as one that should be thoroughly audited. He further advised that, Election Day be put on the Calendar. He said, if it happens that the day be a Saturday, there should be some special dispensation for the 7th Day Adventist Church members to take part in voting without compromising on their day of worship. Tlhaodi added that there must be People’s Complaint Commission in the country.
Speakers emphasized the need for the country to review the exercise of ‘Political Party Funding’. They articulated that lack of funding political parties’ results in political parties resorting to finding funds for themselves. They reiterated that sometimes going to the extent of getting funds through illegal means. Bangwato agreed in one accord that they want the President be tried whilst in office if suspected of any criminal offences. This was revealed in their contributions. They pointed out that, the law should not to wait until the end of their tenure.
For his part, the Deputy Chairperson of the Commission Johnson Motshwarakgole expressed gratitude to the residents of Serowe. He applauded women for their kindness saying it is only them, who always take responsibility for doing things amicably in the society.
Parliament has revealed that it plans to rollout a Community Score Card (CSC) exercise as part of sweeping reforms to its role and mandate among others.
The planed shakeup, along with the rollout of CSC will see creation of new Parliamentary Portfolio Committees on Health, HIV&AIDS, Education and Skills Development, Trade and Economic Development, Agriculture, Lands and Housing and Local Governance and Social Welfare. Parliament informed government ministries and departments that the CSC is a participatory, community based monitoring and evaluation tool that enables citizens to assess the quality of public services and interact with services providers to express their concerns.
According to Parliament, the CSC will assist to inform community members about available services and their entitlements and to solicit their opinions about the accessibility and quality of certain services related to the portfolio committees mentioned. It said the main objective is for Parliament through identified oversight committees is to conduct a participatory monitoring and evaluating process that puts ownership and responsibility for delivery of services in the hands of both the Government and the service recipients.
“Through scorecards developed around identified sectors and services, communities and implementing departments remain in touch with progress made through the programme delivery cycle and are able to respond timely to bottlenecks,” the National Assembly said. Some of the measurements and expected outcomes for the rolling out of the CSC include among others, improved monitoring and economic evaluation, to determine the impact of spending, so as to be able to direct resources from where they having the least benefit to those projects and programmes where they will have a larger positive impact.
The National Assembly explained further that this could result in a willingness to close down ineffective programmes and institutions and not to implement projects that do not deliver adequate returns, improved productivity in the public services, especially given the substantial pay increases.
The National Assembly believes that the rolling out of CSC is also expected to result in efficiency savings: many public services and programmes could be delivered more effectively at lower costs, by improving management and accountability, and making use of e-services. “This would yield financial savings that could be used for development programmes or reducing the deficit,” the National Assembly said.
The exercise is also expected to result in “Careful scrutiny of subsidy schemes and termination of those that do not address market failure or assist truly needy Batswana.” The National Assembly revealed that proposed Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Wellness has been established in accordance with the Standing of National Assembly of Botswana. It explained that the mandate of the Committee is mainly to exercise Parliamentary oversight and scrutiny over Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies with portfolio responsibilities in respect of Health and HIV/AIDS.
“There is need to identify reasons for inefficiency and poor outcomes and ensure that health system reform improve productivity and value for money. Key areas of focus for scorecard, availability of drugs, staffing ratios, accessibility of health services, speciality care and services and sexual reproductively health,” the National Assembly said.
Another proposed Committee is on Local Governance and Social Welfare. The mandate of the Committee is mainly to exercise Parliamentary Oversight and Scrutiny over Government Ministries. Departments and Agencies with Portfolio responsibilities in respect of Local Governance and Social Welfare.
“Strategies under NDP 11 to improve outcomes of social uplifment include; diversiﬁcation of rural economies, development and support of small businesses, provision of social safety nets, eradication of absolute poverty, provision of quality and equitable education and harmonisation of social protection programmes,” said the National Assembly. It said social nets need to be improved so as to target these most in need (at present some social safety nets benefit many people who are not the most needy, but also miss out some of those who are needy).
“Some social development policies more broadly should also aim to reduce household vulnerability to shocks such as those arising from fluctuations in agriculture, climate change, incomes and employment and improve their ability to handle shocks, thereby building household resilience,” the National Assembly said.
Another Committee established is on Agriculture, Lands and Housing. The mandate of the Committee is mainly to exercise Parliamentary oversight and scrutiny over Government Institutions, Departments and Agencies with portfolio responsibilities in respect of Agriculture, Lands and Housing.
The National Assembly said the average growth rate of the agricultural sector since the beginning of National Development Plan 11 (NDP11) (i.e. during the 2017/2018 and 2018/19 financial years) was 2.5 percent, making it the slowest growing sector of the economy, in line with its historical performance.
“Over the same period, its share of GDP has been stagnant at around 2 percent. The sector also contributes job opportunities for about 80 000 adults. Food security has become paramount since the onset of the corona virus pandemic,” the National Assembly said. The National Assembly said the Government realises the need to increase food production for products in which Botswana has a cooperative advantage such as beef, grains and other horticulture products.
The Committee on Finance, Trade and Economic Development has also been established. One of the mandates of Committee would be to exercise Parliamentary oversight and scrutiny over government ministries, departments and agencies with portfolio responsibilities in respect of Finance, Development, Trade and Industry.
“The sector is at the core of industrialisation aspirations and strategies for economic development in Botswana. Manufacturing in particular can be the driver of economic growth through technological improvements and innovation,” the National Assembly said. Hence, it said, the development of the sector could also foster export diversification and export led-growth in Botswana while benefitting from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA).
Two senior members of Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) have threatened legal action against Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS), it has transpired. The threat is contained in an answering affidavit of Director General of DCEC, Tymon Katlholo in which he is seeking an interdiction from High Court to stop the DIS from accessing investigation files at his office.
After the DIS detained DCEC officials Joao Salbany and Tsholofelo Bareetsi on December 16, 2021, they filed an official complaint against DIS and some officials. They complained about abuse of office by DIS and five officers. Salbany and Bareetsi also complained about unlawful detention by DIS and unlawful dissemination of classified information contrary to Section 44 of Corruption and Economic Crime Act. “The DIS interviews were premised on information divulged during the course of official DCEC work product, that is the Monday media brief meeting,” they wrote.
They further requested leave to institute a civil suit against the DIS and its officers, and invariably the State for inhuman and degrading treatment they suffered and unlawful detention. They also pondered a declaratory seeking a sanction against the DIS and Botswana Police Service (BPS) and clarification of the role of BPS officers seconded to DIS.
“The envisaged suit against BPS and DIS officers and the DIS will inevitably centre on investigations done by the DCEC and the scope of the protection availed to DCEC officers for conduct done in the course and scope of DCEC official duties.” The duo said it was self-evident from the conduct of the DIS officers that there was nothing urgent about the information required by the DIS, justifying their detention at its Sebele facility from 08:30 hours on December 16, 2021 until 02:00 hours on December 17, 2021.
They reasoned that the information required by the DIS could have been obtained by a simple request to DCEC Director General. “What the DIS did was to seek to intimidate officers of the DCEC whom they knew were carrying out investigations against some of the DIS officers who were part of their investigation team. This turn of events has a chilling effect not only on the functioning of the DCEC but also on the official conduct of officers of the DCEC as to how they conduct their official duties.”
They concluded by stating that in the event the request is granted, they would further request to be advised as to the provision of legal representation as the unalwful detention and the degrading and inhuman treatment by the DIS was in relation to matters conducted by and on behalf of the DCEC.