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New Land Policy to allow married couples 4 plots

Government will in the near future allow married couples four plots, unlike currently where they entitled to only two. Essentially, this means spouses can individually apply for two plots each-one being state and the other tribal.

Initially, the Land Policy was viewed as discriminatory as spouses were only entitled to one plot. This was said to have played a hand in high divorce rates as couples who could not individually or collectively own more than one plot, whether married in community of property or not and felt hard done by the policy across Land boards resorted to divorce to gain land entitlement. However in July 2015 government reviewed that policy, which culminated in the current land policy, which entitles married couples to two plots.  

In the policy, there is a guiding principle of one person per plot irrespective of marriage status to avoid discriminatory tendencies. Minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services, Prince Maele confirmed to WeekendPost that cabinet found the policy prior to 2015 as inequitable and having contributed significantly to divorce cases in Botswana hence the need to rectify it. “Of course it is true, that policy led to divorces in some instances. And when couples divorced they sell their plot and divide the proceeds amongst them. Then they end with nothing,” Maele highlighted.

According to Maele, Batswana pointed out these matters to government at kgotla meetings throughout the country and they heeded their call to review the policy. Following the kgotla meetings, the minister said cabinet then resolved to amend the policy to specify that every Motswana should be entitled to 2 plots per person-that is one state land and one tribal land – whether married or not. This, the Minister emphasized would then not discriminate married people. “In fact what this means is that the married will also be entitled to 2 plots each, which can amount to 4 plots. Cabinet has agreed on this. We only need to go back to parliament for approval,” Minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services stressed to this publication.

But he said, as it stands now, every citizen including the married can have only 2 plots (1 state 1 tribal). “If it is written under a husband’s name, then wife cannot have another and vice versa.” It is expected that following cabinet’s approval, the minister will take the policy to parliament for endorsement, eventually making every citizen entitled to a residential plot regardless of marriage status. According to the Land Policy (2015), which this publication is in possession of, every Motswana will be eligible for allocation for residential plot at an area of their choice within the country. It states that “one is deemed to be allocated a plot if they have a lawfully acquired a plot registered in their names.”    
 

Currently the Minister said the couples whom individually apply for residential land cases are being deferred across the Land boards to allow for the policy to be amended accommodating every citizen with 2 plots even the married (individually). According to an independent Gaborone based attorney it is possible that some divorces may be as a result of failure to allocate one party in a marriage with a residential plot as every citizen feel entitled to. “It’s possible it can be so. But the same land policy will also still be discriminatory even if the married couple is in or out of community of property. One land allocation to one couple is wrong,” he told this publication.

The esteemed attorney continued to point out that: “it is just improper and it can easily be a ground in law.” The spouse may opt to divorce because they are prejudiced by the law particularly whereby you find someone you marry having acquired a plot which means in essence you could then not. The attorney however said a policy is just a guideline but not binding.

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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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