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Donors delay P350 million traffic cameras project

Discussions between the World Bank and Botswana Government have delayed the launch of an intervention project aimed at upgrading traffic lights and install the Centralized Command Centre by Gaborone City Council (GCC) on the three main intersections.

The idea came to the fore in 2013 after a study by GCC under the Botswana Integrated Transport Project, funded by the World Bank called Greater Gaborone Multimodal Transport that was completed in 2011. The intent of the study was to find mitigation measures to congestion and malfunction of traffic lights with Gaborone as the case study.

Information presented to this paper shows that this could have started as early as 201314 financial year but a labyrinth of processes stalled everything. The Project had to undergo preparatory work in the form of a “Consultancy Services for conceptual design, preparation of bidding documents, assistance during the selection of contractor and monitoring supervision of construction, installation, operation and maintenance for Traffic signals modernization and provision of centralized traffic control for Greater Gaborone City,” deputy permanent secretary of transport Garekwe Mojaphoko revealed.

This, according Mojaphoko was to be carried out by a Consortium of Consultancy firms known as NAMA-ADK-PTV (Pty) Ltd effective 1st July 2013. Thus far the contract was awarded on 4th August 2017 and commenced on 20th November 2017 though it is unclear as to when it will be completed.

The project was awarded at P350, 000,000.00 for implementation contract which would include design, construction, installation, operation and maintenance. The overall objectives of this project according to the think tanks are to use a “New Traffic Management System” that comprises multiple systems using Field Equipment linked to the CTC building.

The system will also reduce traffic congestion at main intersections of Greater Gaborone and improve the mobility along corridors like the A1 Road from Rasesa through to Lobatse, Molepolole Road, Nelson Mandela Drive, and New Lobatse by using an adaptive system that will among other things operate through synchronization of junctions.

“The system will improve Road Safety aiming at reducing accidents with fatalities through use of speed violation cameras; Red Light Violation Cameras and CCTV cameras for traffic surveillance linked to the CTC Centre Communication Systems. It will also enhance safety by detecting and raising alarms for road incidences,” Mojaphoko said.

The project which is used in a number of developed nations like Switzerland and Qatar will have “Traffic counting stations” that will obtain data for strategic network control. It will also prioritize public transport at junctions and other emergency vehicles. When contacted for comment on the progress of the project, Mayor of Gaborone, Kagiso Thutlwe said the he too was in the dark. “It is not our project so I wouldn’t know as to how far it has gone; only after the relevant ministry finishes with it will it be handed over to us to manage as a council. What we can do is ask just like you as to how it is going.”

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DPP halts JSC, Judge’s back to work plan

25th January 2021
Kebonang

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
boko-and-khama

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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