On the 31st of December 2008 the Botswana Government hurriedly passed the controversial Media Practitioners Law (Act),a law which journalists fear(ed) has the potential of restricting their DUTIES in the sense that before commencing work ,journalists are mandated to first obtain the consent of the new Media Council. The latter organ is a Government body which has power to impose fine and, even jail terms!, on journalists who (have) violated ‘standards’ such as failure to register. Strangely, Parliament, on behalf of the electorate, had asked for amendments, and had expected to discuss them in its Committees, for fine-tuning But the Government hastily enacted this media Bill into Law.
The questions to ask then are: Whose law is this and whose interest does it serve?. Who voted for this Bill, in the first instance, and who is Government in this context?: The Executive? Another sickening development is that ,though a relic of the Dark Ages or Early Middle Ages(6th -14th centuries),witchcraft is real in all countries and cultures alike, and this is a common truth that is universally acknowledged, yet we have the Witchcraft Suppression Act in most jurisdictions(see S.A. Act 3 of 1957) ,an Act that has just been repealed in countries like Zimbabwe and Zambia and which makes it criminal for one to ‘accuse’ another person of being a witch! Are people really being sincere when making laws?
This writer repeats, for emphasis’ sake, that the above observation leaves everyone CONFUSED regarding the questions: Who really makes the law? and Whose interests does the law serve? Another alternative question is ‘Who determines the Nature and or Content of the Law? We all along thought the Law iswas a product of people‘s initiative, through their elected representatives, and should therefore be people-centric. But if this were the case why are people usually ignorant or always mourning and grief-stricken concerning the existence of most Laws? Shading crocodile tears, I suppose!
(Note that the setting of this topic is mainly Africa ,though a comparative analysis with countries drawn from other regions elsewhere will be made whenever necessary .Also note that Africa ,in general ,is neither Communist nor Capitalist but a compromise of between these two extremes ,that is ,Socialist. Also bear in mind that this LAW in question has a strong bias towards LEGISLATION).
Similarly, we have such pieces of legislation as the infamous Public Order (and Security) Act (P.O.A. and P.O.S.A, respectively) in both Botswana and Zimbabwe and this law criminalizes the so-called violent demonstrations and other similar activities plus gives the police much powers. No doubt, that law is unconstitutional. Additionally , there is a provision ,awaiting amendment, in the Zimbabwean Criminal Reform and Codification Act of 2004 that allows a girl of mere 12 years to give consent to sexual intercourse(Section 64) ,a provision that is not only unconstitutional (see section 78 (1)of Zimbabwean Constitution )but contra bonores mores as well.
Which people, in their normal senses, would ever subscribe to the crafting of such laws which are not people friendly at all and which negate their culture? How about pieces of legislation which take away the powers of parents ,guardians and teachers ,while acting in loco-parentis, alike, to exercise the right of chastisement over a deviant child in a bid to instil a sense of moral values in(to) him?. And the concept of an all-powerful President?
Lately we have seen the introduction of Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 of the same country ,a law that disallows the import of products which are locally available at a time when the economy is on its knees and almost all Zimbabweans are always seen swarming into neighbouring countries, like bees around a flower, to buy cheap items ,particularly clothes, known as mabhero ,to trade back home and eke out a living.
Even ,if for argument’s sake ,our constitutions condoned such draconian laws ,it would be a valid comment to assert that the Rule of law is there ,given that the powers- that-be would be drawing their authority from the law , but minus the spirit of Constitutionalism ,of course , that demands that an ideal Constitution must provide for a minimum standard of human rights. More so ,this is the Natural Law versus Positivist Legal Philosophy.
Surely one does not need a ghost of Shakespearean tragedies to come and announce that the above laws protect the interests of a certain group of people. In the case of Statutory Instrument 64 ,for example, the law protects the businesses of only a few pot-bellied bourgeoisie ,whose bums are always kissing the hypnotizing seats of luxurious ,State- of –the- art ,vehicles ,and at the expense of the poor majority. These flawed laws are nothing but just a ‘microcosm of the macrocosm’
In the article entitled’ The Role of the Judges’ (see a copy of the Botswana WeekendPost dated 19 October 2015) Kungwengwe Star Charles argues that ,contrary to the doctrine of Separation of Powers in which it is the Legislature that has the sovereign power to make ,repeal or amend the law, it is in practice Judges who make that law. They do this through ‘mis’interpreting statutes and therefore end up creating their own law, law never envisaged by Parliament.
The other implications are that the law reflects judges’ interests and that Judges use wrong premises (misinterpreted law) and ,on that basis, misjudge cases. In this article, however, this writer has a shift in thought and mostly blames the Executive for usurping these powers. The writer will go out of his way to briefly focus lenses on the Legislative process, which is a series of actions that must be taken before a law is formulated and considered, refined and approved by a competent Government body in order to be valid and have the force of law.
Judges also make law, judge-made law, through the doctrine of stare decisis et non queta movere (precedent) in which judgments on previous cases are binding on subsequent cases in future provided the circumstances are similar. But what really is Law? Though the term is quiet fluid, does not have a universally accepted definition, it can loosely be defined as a set of norms or rules which regulates human conductbehaviour. These rulesorms are ‘uniformly’ applied to all the members of society and are enforced by the State. The State in this context refers to the Executive arm of Government.
We stretch the above discussion further by commenting that some of the laws we have were simply inherited from our former colonial masters. A classic example is the Public Safety Act of Botswana .It is imperative to state that the Public Safety Act (Cap 22:03) was enacted by Colonial masters in 1907 through proclamation No 15 of 1907 and was adopted by the Government through legal notice No 84 of 1966 without any modification ,save for the insertion of the name “Botswana’.
In exactly the same manner ,was the Law and Order (Maintenance) Act during the ‘protectorate’ days which has been baptized to Public Order Act ,adopted through No 6 of 1967.Do these laws bring order or disorder? Most countries which are former colonies of Britain have this colonial legacy in their legislation. Examples are Zambia, Kenya, Zimbabwe, India and Tanzania.
It is very ironic that these are some of the retrogressive and repressive laws which we were fighting against in the protracted war that culminated in the attainment of both ‘Independence and Majority Rule’, yet we have conveniently borrowed them .(Maybe our current leaders were not opposed to these laws ,per se ,but those who used them ,instead.
After all, dictatorship and or centralization of power has(ve) always been a shade of African societies’ politics even before the advent of Whites: The KingChief made the law ,interpreted and enforced it. In addition ,he was the supreme religious leader and ‘Commander-in-chief’ of the Army and ,as is the case in the present day, Legal instruments of these powers have come from the Leader himself and his inner circle disciples. Swaziland is a living example of this arrangement).But so wasis the case with all other societies in the world .Others have since evolved from this political arrangement but Africa seems static in this regard).
The same comment also holds true for our so –called Common Law ,Roman –Dutch Law ,which we ‘ received’(from Europe via South Africa) in almost all African Countries, or was it super-imposed upon us?, in complexu (in its entirety) save for the fact that the slight variations are products of subsequent legislation and judicial precedent. In fact the Common Law or uniform thread in African Countries ,as I see it , is Customary Law and not this Uncommon Law.
Even the 1966 Constitution of Gaborone was prepared and given to us in its ready-made form by the British in London . This is also the case with the Zimbabwean Lancaster House Constitution of 1979 .The allochtonous or exotic document represented the interests of the former colonial power and hence the inclusion of provisions which protected them. See the Lancaster House document on the Right to Private Property and Willing –Buyer – Willing- Seller Basis clauses.
Upon the attainment of both ‘Independence and Majority Rule’, the new governments had to retain those laws which entrenched the sitting regime ‘s power ,as we have just seen, and amended their Constitutions and other Laws in order to give the leadership lots of power. Sadly, people were not consulted at all.
The Oil and Gas industry has undergone several significant developments and changes over the last few years. Understanding these developments and trends is crucial towards better appreciating how to navigate the engagement in this space, whether directly in the energy space or in associated value chain roles such as financing.
Here, we explore some of the most notable global events and trends and the potential impact or bearing they have on the local and global market.
Governments and companies around the world have been increasingly focused on transitioning towards renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. This shift is motivated by concerns about climate change and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Africa, including Botswana, is part of these discussions, as we work to collectively ensure a greener and more sustainable future. Indeed, this is now a greater priority the world over. It aligns closely with the increase in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing being observed. ESG investing has become increasingly popular, and many investors are now looking for companies that are focused on sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint. This trend could have significant implications for the oil and fuel industry, which is often viewed as environmentally unsustainable. Relatedly and equally key are the evolving government policies. Government policies and regulations related to the Oil and Gas industry are likely to continue evolving with discussions including incentives for renewable energy and potentially imposing stricter regulations on emissions.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also played a strong role. Over the last two years, the pandemic had a profound impact on the Oil and Gas industry (and fuel generally), leading to a significant drop in demand as travel and economic activity slowed down. As a result, oil prices plummeted, with crude oil prices briefly turning negative in April 2020. Most economies have now vaccinated their populations and are in recovery mode, and with the recovery of the economies, there has been recovery of oil prices; however, the pace and sustainability of recovery continues to be dependent on factors such as emergence of new variants of the virus.
This period, which saw increased digital transformation on the whole, also saw accelerated and increased investment in technology. The Oil and Gas industry is expected to continue investing in new digital technologies to increase efficiency and reduce costs. This also means a necessary understanding and subsequent action to address the impacts from the rise of electric vehicles. The growing popularity of electric vehicles is expected to reduce demand for traditional gasoline-powered cars. This has, in turn, had an impact on the demand for oil.
Last but not least, geopolitical tensions have played a tremendous role. Geopolitical tensions between major oil-producing countries can and has impacted the supply of oil and fuel. Ongoing tensions in the Middle East and between the US and Russia could have an impact on global oil prices further, and we must be mindful of this.
On the home front in Botswana, all these discussions are relevant and the subject of discussion in many corporate and even public sector boardrooms. Stanbic Bank Botswana continues to take a lead in supporting the Oil and Gas industry in its current state and as it evolves and navigates these dynamics. This is through providing financing to support Oil and Gas companies’ operations, including investments in new technologies. The Bank offers risk management services to help oil and gas companies to manage risks associated with price fluctuations, supply chain disruptions and regulatory changes. This includes offering hedging products and providing advice on risk management strategies.
Advisory and support for sustainability initiatives that the industry undertakes is also key to ensuring that, as companies navigate complex market conditions, they are more empowered to make informed business decisions. It is important to work with Oil and Gas companies to develop and implement sustainability strategies, such as reducing emissions and increasing the use of renewable energy. This is key to how partners such as Stanbic Bank work to support the sector.
Last but not least, Stanbic Bank stands firmly in support of Botswana’s drive in the development of the sector with the view to attain better fuel security and reduce dependence risk on imported fuel. This is crucial towards ensuring a stronger, stabler market, and a core aspect to how we can play a role in helping drive Botswana’s growth. Continued understanding, learning, and sustainable action are what will help ensure the Oil and Gas sector is supported towards positive, sustainable and impactful growth in a manner that brings social, environmental and economic benefit.
Loago Tshomane is Manager, Client Coverage, Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB), Stanbic Bank Botswana
So, the conclusion is brands are important. I start by concluding because one hopes this is a foregone conclusion given the furore that erupts over a botched brand. If a fast food chef bungles a food order, there’d be possibly some isolated complaint thrown. However, if the same company’s marketing expert or agency cooks up a tasteless brand there is a country-wide outcry. Why? Perhaps this is because brands affect us more deeply than we care to understand or admit. The fact that the uproar might be equal parts of schadenfreude, black twitter-esque criticism and, disappointment does not take away from the decibel of concern raised.
A good place to start our understanding of a brand is naturally by defining what a brand is. Marty Neumier, the genius who authored The Brand Gap, offers this instructive definition – “A brand is a person’s gut feel about a product or service”. In other words, a brand is not what the company says it is. It is what the people feel it is. It is the sum total of what it means to them. Brands are perceptions. So, brands are defined by individuals not companies. But brands are owned by companies not individuals. Brands are crafted in privacy but consumed publicly. Brands are communal. Granted, you say. But that doesn’t still explain why everybody and their pet dog feel entitled to jump in feet first into a brand slug-fest armed with a hot opinion. True. But consider the following truism.
Brands are living. They act as milestones in our past. They are signposts of our identity. Beacons of our triumphs. Indexes of our consumption. Most importantly, they have invaded our very words and world view. Try going for just 24 hours without mentioning a single brand name. Quite difficult, right? Because they live among us they have become one of us. And we have therefore built ‘brand bonds’ with them. For example, iPhone owners gather here. You love your iPhone. It goes everywhere. You turn to it in moments of joy and when we need a quick mood boost. Notice how that ‘relationship’ started with desire as you longingly gazed upon it in a glossy brochure. That quickly progressed to asking other people what they thought about it. Followed by the zero moment of truth were you committed and voted your approval through a purchase. Does that sound like a romantic relationship timeline. You bet it does. Because it is. When we conduct brand workshops we run the Brand Loyalty ™ exercise wherein we test people’s loyalty to their favourite brand(s). The results are always quite intriguing. Most people are willing to pay a 40% premium over the standard price for ‘their’ brand. They simply won’t easily ‘breakup’ with it. Doing so can cause brand ‘heart ache’. There is strong brand elasticity for loved brands.
Now that we know brands are communal and endeared, then companies armed with this knowledge, must exercise caution and practise reverence when approaching the subject of rebranding. It’s fragile. The question marketers ought to ask themselves before gleefully jumping into the hot rebranding cauldron is – Do we go for an Evolution (partial rebrand) or a Revolution(full rebrand)? An evolution is incremental. It introduces small but significant changes or additions to the existing visual brand. Here, think of the subtle changes you’ve seen in financial or FMCG brands over the decades. Evolution allows you to redirect the brand without alienating its horde of faithful followers. As humans we love the familiar and certain. Change scares us. Especially if we’ve not been privy to the important but probably blinkered ‘strategy sessions’ ongoing behind the scenes. Revolutions are often messy. They are often hard reset about-turns aiming for a total new look and ‘feel’.
Hard rebranding is risky business. History is littered with the agony of brands large and small who felt the heat of public disfavour. In January 2009, PepsiCo rebranded the Tropicana. When the newly designed package hit the shelves, consumers were not having it. The New York Times reports that ‘some of the commenting described the new packaging as ‘ugly’ ‘stupid’. They wanted their old one back that showed a ripe orange with a straw in it. Sales dipped 20%. PepsiCo reverted to the old logo and packaging within a month. In 2006 Mastercard had to backtrack away from it’s new logo after public criticism, as did Leeds United, and the clothing brand Gap. AdAge magazine reports that critics most common sentiment about the Gap logo was that it looked like something a child had created using a clip-art gallery. Botswana is no different. University of Botswana had to retreat into the comfort of the known and accepted heritage strong brand. Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital was badgered with complaints till it ‘adjusted’ its logo.
So if the landscape of rebranding is so treacherous then whey take the risk? Companies need to soberly assess they need for a rebrand. According to the fellows at Ignyte Branding a rebrand is ignited by the following admissions :
Our brand name no longer reflects our company’s vision.
We’re embarrassed to hand out our business cards.
Our competitive advantage is vague or poorly articulated.
Our brand has lost focus and become too complex to understand. Our business model or strategy has changed.
Our business has outgrown its current brand.
We’re undergoing or recently underwent a merger or acquisition. Our business has moved or expanded its geographic reach.
We need to disassociate our brand from a negative image.
We’re struggling to raise our prices and increase our profit margins. We want to expand our influence and connect to new audiences. We’re not attracting top talent for the positions we need to fill. All the above are good reasons to rebrand.
The downside to this debacle is that companies genuinely needing to rebrand might be hesitant or delay it altogether. The silver lining I guess is that marketing often mocked for its charlatans, is briefly transformed from being the Archilles heel into Thanos’ glove in an instant.
So what does a company need to do to safely navigate the rebranding terrain? Companies need to interrogate their brand purpose thoroughly. Not what they think they stand for but what they authentically represent when seen through the lens of their team members. In our Brand Workshop we use a number of tools to tease out the compelling brand truth. This section always draws amusing insights. Unfailingly, the top management (CEO & CFO)always has a vastly different picture of their brand to the rest of their ExCo and middle management, as do they to the customer-facing officer. We have only come across one company that had good internal alignment. Needless to say that brand is doing superbly well.
There is need a for brand strategies to guide the brand. One observes that most brands ‘make a plan’ as they go along. Little or no deliberate position on Brand audit, Customer research, Brand positioning and purpose, Architecture, Messaging, Naming, Tagline, Brand Training and may more. A brand strategy distils why your business exists beyond making money – its ‘why’. It defines what makes your brand what it is, what differentiates it from the competition and how you want your customers to perceive it. Lacking a brand strategy disadvantages the company in that it appears soul-less and lacking in personality. Naturally, people do not like to hang around humans with nothing to say. A brand strategy understands the value proposition. People don’t buy nails for the nails sake. They buy nails to hammer into the wall to hang pictures of their loved ones. People don’t buy make up because of its several hues and shades. Make up is self-expression. Understanding this arms a brand with an iron clad clad strategy on the brand battlefield.
But perhaps you’ve done the important research and strategy work. It’s still possible to bungle the final look and feel. A few years ago one large brand had an extensive strategy done. Hopes were high for a top tier brand reveal. The eventual proposed brand was lack-lustre. I distinctly remember, being tasked as local agency to ‘land’ the brand and we outright refused. We could see this was a disaster of epic proportions begging to happen. The brand consultants were summoned to revise the logo. After a several tweaks and compromises the brand landed. It currently exists as one of the country’s largest brands. Getting the logo and visual look right is important. But how does one know if they are on the right path? Using the simile of a brand being a person – The answer is how do you know your outfit is right? It must serve a function, be the right fit and cut, it must be coordinated and lastly it must say something about you. So it is possible to bath in a luxurious bath gel, apply exotic lotion, be facebeat and still somehow wear a faux pas outfit. Avoid that.
Another suggestion is to do the obvious. Pre-test the logo and its look and feel on a cross section of your existing and prospective audience. There are tools to do this. Their feedback can save you money, time and pain. Additionally one must do another obvious check – use Google Image to verify the visual outcome and plain Google search to verify the name. These are so obvious they are hopefully for gone conclusions. But for the brands that have gone ahead without them, I hope you have not concluded your brand journeys as there is a world of opportunity waiting to be unlocked with the right brand strategy key.
Cliff Mada is Head of ArmourGetOn Brand Consultancy, based in Gaborone and Cape Town.
The Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) is the most comprehensive dataset measuring African governance performance through a wide range of 81 indicators under the categories of Security & Rule of law, Participation, Rights & Inclusion, Foundations of Economic Opportunity, and Human Development. It employs scores, expressed out of 100, which quantify a country’s performance for each governance measure and ranks, out of 54, in relation to the 54 African countries.
The 2022 IIAG Overall Governance score is 68.1 and ranks Botswana at number 5 in Africa. In 2019 Botswana was ranked 2nd with an overall score of 73.3. That is a sharp decline. The best-performing countries are Mauritius, Seychelles, Tunisia, and Cabo Verde, in that order. A glance at the categories shows that Botswana is in third place in Africa on the Security and Rule of law; ninth in the Participation, Rights & Inclusion Category – indicating a shrinking participatory environment; eighth for Foundations of Economic Opportunity category; and fifth in the Human Development category.
The 2022 IIAG comes to a sweeping conclusion: Governments are less accountable and transparent in 2021 than at any time over the last ten years; Higher GDP does not necessarily indicate better governance; rule of law has weakened in the last five years; Democratic backsliding in Africa has accelerated since 2018; Major restrictions on freedom of association and assembly since 2012. Botswana is no exception to these conclusions. In fact, a look at the 10-year trend shows a major challenge. While Botswana remains in the top 5 of the best-performing countries in Africa, there are signs of decline, especially in the categories of Human Development and Security & Rule of law.
I start with this picture to show that Botswana is no longer the poster child for democracy, good governance, and commitment to the rule of law that it once was. In fact, to use the term used in the IIAG, Botswana is experiencing a “democratic backsliding.”
The 2021 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (CPI) had Botswana at 55/ 100, the lowest ever score recorded by Botswana dethroning Botswana as Africa’s least corrupt country to a distant third place, where it was in 2019 with a CPI of 61/100. (A score closer to zero denotes the worst corrupt and a score closer to 100 indicates the least corrupt country). The concern here is that while other African states are advancing in their transparency and accountability indexes, Botswana is backsliding.
The Transitional National Development Plan lists participatory democracy, the rule of law, transparency, and accountability, as key “deliverables,” if you may call those deliverables. If indeed Botswana is committed to these principles, she must ratify the African Charter on Democracy Elections and Governance (ACDEG).
The African Charter on Democracy Elections and Governance is the African Union’s principal policy document for advancing democratic governance in African Union member states. The ACDEG embodies the continent’s commitment to a democratic agenda and set the standards upon which countries agreed to be held accountable. The Charter was adopted in 2007 and came into force a decade ago, in 2012.
Article 2 of the Charter details its objectives among others as to a) Promote adherence, by each State Party, to the universal values and principles of democracy and respect for human rights; b) Promote and protect the independence of the judiciary; c) Promote the establishment of the necessary conditions to foster citizen participation, transparency, access to information, freedom of the press and accountability in the management of public affairs; d) Promote gender balance and equality in the governance and development processes.
The Charter emphasizes certain principles through which member states must uphold: Citizen Participation, Accountable Institutions, Respect for Human Rights, Adherence to the principles of the Rule of Law, Respect for the supremacy of the constitution and constitutional order, Entrenchment of democratic Principles, Separation of Powers, Respect for the Judiciary, Independence and impartiality of electoral bodies, best practice in the management of elections. These are among the top issues that Batswana have been calling for, that they be entrenched in the new Constitution.
The ACDEG is a revolutionary document. Article 3 of the ACDEG, sets guidance on the principles that must guide the implementation of the Charter among them: Effective participation of citizens in democratic and development processes and in the governance of public affairs; Promotion of a system of government that is representative; Holding of regular, transparent, free and fair elections; Separation of powers; Promotion of gender equality in public and private institutions and others.
Batswana have been calling for laws that make it mandatory for citizen participation in public affairs, more so, such calls have been amplified in the just-ended “consultative process” into the review of the Constitution of Botswana. Many scholars, academics, and Batswana, in general, have consistently made calls for a constitution that provides for clear separation of powers to prevent concentration of power in one branch, in Botswana’s case, the Executive, and provide for effective checks and balances. Other countries, like Kenya, have laws that promote gender equality in public and private institutions inscribed in their constitutions. The ACDEG could be a useful advocacy tool for the promotion of gender equality.
Perhaps more relevant to Botswana’s situation now is Article 10 of the Charter. Given how the constitutional review process unfolded, the numerous procedural mistakes and omissions, the lack of genuine consultations, the Charter principles could have provided a direction, if Botswana was party to the Charter. “State Parties shall ensure that the process of amendment or revision oftheir constitution reposes on national consensus, obtained, if need be, through referendum,” reads part of Article 10, giving clear clarity, that the Constitution belong to the people.
With the African Charter on Democracy Elections and Governance in hand, ratified, and also given the many shortfalls in the current constitution, Batswana can have a tool in hand, not only to hold the government accountable but also a tool for measuring aspirations and shortfalls of our governance institutional framework.
Botswana has not signed, nor has it acceded or ratified the ACDEG. The time to ratify the ACDEG is now. Our Movement, Motheo O Mosha Society, with support from the Democracy Works Foundation and The Charter Project Africa, will run a campaign to promote, popularise and advocate for the ratification of the Charter (#RatifytheCharter Campaign). The initiative is co-founded by the European Union. The Campaign is implemented with the support of our sister organizations: Global Shapers Community – Gaborone Hub, #FamilyMeetingBW, Botswana Center for Public Integrity, Black Roots Organization, Economic Development Forum, Molao-Matters, WoTech Foundation, University of Botswana Political Science Society, Young Minds Africa and Branding Akosua.
Ratifying the Charter would reaffirm Botswana’s commitment to upholding strong democratic values, and respect for constitutionalism, and promote the rule of law and political accountability. Join us in calling the Government of Botswana to #RatifyTheCharter.
*Morena MONGANJA is the Chairperson of Motheo O Mosha society; a grassroots movement advocating for a new Constitution for Botswana. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp 77 469 362.