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Prudent budgetary system has collapsed- Gaolathe

Member of Parliament for Gaborone Bonnington South, Ndaba Gaolathe has slammed government’s misuse of public funds, saying that the state at which public funds are being thrown around willy-nilly has reached a ‘tragedy.’

Gaolathe made the remarks in parliament following a Ministry of Finance and Economic Development request before parliament, for a supplementary budget for a strange second time in a single financial year. Gaolathe who resigned from the Finance and Estimates Committee due to its ‘lack of integrity’ has expressed his disappointment with a continued pattern of throwing away money willy-nilly with little regard to prudent financial management required by the constitution.

“I put it to you as Parliament that there is no process at all. In a progressive Parliament and in a progressive system, a parliamentary committee is supposed to have an objective process by which not only do they evaluate these projects but they actually score them on a number of criteria,” he said.

“One of these criteria may include the feasibility of what is being proposed. It could be the capacity of those ministries to actually manage the funds that they are being asked for. It could be the test against which the requirements of the Constitution whether these are indeed emergency requests, but there has to be a scoring process.”

Farmed and nurtured in United States (US) universities, Gaolathe hinted that in a progressive parliament with a proper budgeting system, some requests as presented by Minister Nonofo Molefhi who was standing in for Kenneth Matambo would not have seen the light of the day. Gaolathe said it is irresponsible for parliament as elected representatives of the people to be deliberating over billions, millions and hundreds of funds without a proper process and a proper personnel infrastructure.

“It is very strange. I have seen governments and companies where assessments are done by experts. In this Parliament we have a Committee that does not have the machinery and the infrastructure to give a technical assessment about whether what we are receiving from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development or from the Executive of our Government system has merits,” he said.

“When you look at the request to pay Government mail P5.7 million of outstanding invoices, the report simply says this request has been acceded to. No reasons why this should have been agreed. This is not an emergency request.” Gaolathe further said the request by the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) of P15.5 million which was relating to the expanded security, management of security system platforms for the BOT50 celebrations was uncalled for.

“I really fail to understand how one can justify such a quantum for something that has been planned for in any case. Everyone had known that there would be BOT50 and I do not understand how that would jack up DIS expenditure by P15, 5 million,” Gaolathe questioned.
“We have already indicated from the National Development Plan 11, the annual expenditures, that the amounts of monies that are being channelled to the DIS are very difficult to justify. This is just an extension, indication, a pattern that every excuse and avenue to give more money to this parasitic and rogue institution is exploited.”

Gaolathe said the path which parliament has taken is “a tragedy, a travesty in the affairs of our nation.” “I think it would be remiss, it would be irresponsible of me if I do not sound the alarm to this House that we cannot continue like this as an institution. We cannot continue to have a committee that is nothing but a rubberstamp,” he warned. “These committees are intended to be the framers of the Constitution. The founders of this country had the intent to create a robust system, through which and by which our public funds should be managed.”

According to him, the way to create a robust system is by creating an exquisite system of checks and balances. “I was looking at the specific expenditure for the Public Officers Medical Aid had additional expenditure of P70 million, again this cannot be an emergency. We do know that premiums normally do increase every year. These are figures that should have been anticipated. These are figures that should have been projected. I see no reason why they should appear as supplementary expenditures,” he said.

“When I look at the specific expenditure requested by the Tourism Ministry for the Tourism Organisation, P10 million additional requested to cater for the international travel vote. Again these cannot reasonably be deemed to be figures that would have been unanticipated.”
Since being elected to parliament in 2014, the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Vice President has advocated for Parliament to establish a budget office, with the infrastructure, capabilities and the capacity to be able to make its own assessment. Gaolathe has also advocated for parliament to have its own lawyers for MPs to be able to draft private members’ bills. 

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Pep Stores donates sanitary towels to Popagano JSS

26th May 2023

The Guidance and Counseling unit at Popagano Junior Secondary School received a donation of 790 sanitary towels from Pep stores on Thursday.

When presenting the donation, Mareledi Thebeng, the Dinokaneng Area Manager, highlighted their belief in giving back to the community, as their existence depends on the communities they serve. Thebeng pointed out that research indicates one in four girls miss school every day due to the lack of basic necessities like sanitary towels. Therefore, as a company, they strive to assist in alleviating this situation. She expressed hope that this donation would help ensure uninterrupted learning for girls.

Upon receiving the donation on behalf of the students, Charity Sambire, the President of the Student Representative Council, expressed her gratitude. Sambire specifically thanked Pep Store for their generous gift, speaking on behalf of the students, especially the girl child.

She conveyed their sincere appreciation for Pep Store’s compassion and quoted the adage, “Blessed is the hand that gives.” Sambire expressed the students’ hope for Pep Stores’ prosperity, enabling them to continue supporting the students. As a gesture of gratitude, the students pledged to excel academically.

During her speech, Motlalepula Madome, the Senior Teacher in Guidance and Counseling, highlighted that many students at the school come from disadvantaged backgrounds where parents struggle to provide basic necessities. Consequently, some students miss school when they experience menstruation due to this lack.
Madome emphasized the significance of the donation in preventing the girl child from missing lessons and its potential to improve the school’s overall results. She expressed the school’s gratitude and expressed a desire for continued support from Pep Stores.

Popagano Junior Secondary School, situated in the Okavango District, holds the second position academically in the North West region. Despite its location, the school has been dedicated to achieving excellence since 2017

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Botswana misses out critical PAP committee meeting

23rd May 2023

The Pan African Parliament (PAP) committee on gender, family, youth and people with disability in its sitting considered, adopted and recommended to the plenary session the preliminary report on the framework for the model law on gender equality.

According to the last week’s media release from PAP which is sitting with its various committees until June 2nd,  the committee is following up the PAP initiative to draw up a model law on gender equality to enable national governments to harmonize, modernize and standardize their legislations to address local needs is set to be discussed in Plenary.

However, what is concerning is the fact that Botswana which is a member state missed the deliberations. Kgosi Mosadi Seboko who sat in the committee representing Botswana has since been ejected by parliament and this is a huge blow for a nation that is still battling equity and gender balance.

“Although PAP has no legislative powers it makes model laws for member states to adopt. PAP also develops protocols to be ratified by countries. The input of countries at Committee state is extremely critical. It now means the voice of Botswana is missing the discussions leading up to development of protocols or model laws,” said one of Botswana’s representative at PAP Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang who is attending the current session.

While Botswana is missing, the committee meeting took place on the sidelines of the Sixth PAP second ordinary Session being held under the African Union Theme of the Year for 2023, “The Year of AfCFTA: Accelerating the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area” in Midrand, South Africa and will run up to 2 June 2023. Chairperson of the Committee, Hon Mariam Dao-Gabala expressed satisfaction with preliminary processes undertaken so far towards the formulation of the Model Law,” a release from the PAP website reads.

“The law should be suitable to all countries whatever the predominant culture or religion is. The aim is to give an opportunity to women to participate in the economic, political and social development of the continent. Women are not well positioned and face a lot of obstacles. We are introducing the idea of equity in the Law because we cannot talk about equality without equity,” said Hon Mariam Dao-Gabala in the press statement.

The release has stated that among issues to be covered by the Model Law is the migratory movements of women. The Committee proffered that this has to be addressed at the continental level to ensure that migrant women enjoy all their rights and live with dignity in their destination country. The members of the Gender Committee undertook consultations to consolidate the contributions of the various stakeholders that will be the logical framework format for the Model Law.




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BDP MPs demand review of Ministers performance

22nd May 2023

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers were left frustrated when State Minister Kabo Morwaeng failed to furnish them with reports from various ministries at a party retreat held last month.

The two-day retreat of BDP MPs at Notwane Farms was held to discuss the implementation and progress of government projects in line with the party’s 2019 general elections manifesto, in order to assert themselves and press the President to take action against ineffective members of his cabinet. They believed that the laxity of these members could cost them the elections next year.

To accomplish this, the party had requested that each ministry submit their reports to the State Ministry, as it was the most senior ministry. These reports were expected to be assessed at the retreat to evaluate service delivery and the implementation of the party manifesto.

The ministries submitted their performance reports to the Ministry as agreed, but Masisi and the MPs did not have the opportunity to review them. This was the main agenda of the retreat, but when it commenced, and many were anticipating the reports, they were nowhere to be found.

“Minister Morwaeng told us (MPs) that he forgot to prepare them, and as a result, there was nothing to discuss. He said he would share those reports in our WhatsApp group. To us, that was an insult because it is a very serious matter, and we needed to discuss it and see which ministry is failing and how it can be assisted to ensure that service delivery is met,” revealed one MP to WeekendPost.

Reliable sources have informed this publication that one of the reasons why the reports were not shared is due to the poor performance of the State Ministry. It is said that the Minister decided not to share the reports because it would portray him as incompetent, especially since President Masisi was present and seeking suggestions from MPs.

It is understood that the Ministry of Lands and Water Affairs, as well as the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, performed well, while the Ministry of Health and the State Ministry performed poorly.

The MPs are primarily concerned about the lack of correlation between the ministries’ recurrent and development budgets.

“You would notice that in some cases, a ministry would spend their recurrent budget accordingly, but when you look at their development expenditure, it is at 15 percent. That’s the money that should ensure that people receive services and amenities, and we wanted to advise ministers to communicate with bureaucrats to address this,” added the MP.

Without the reports, and with the expected agenda now in tatters, it is said that President Masisi asked MPs to come up with suggestions on how to win public confidence to secure victory in the next elections. It was at this point that backbenchers asked President Mokgweetsi Masisi to crack the whip on ineffectual ministers who had failed to fulfill their mandates. MPs expressed their concerns to the President, particularly regarding the state of affairs at the hospitals.

“There is a serious shortage of medicines and personnel in our areas, especially in rural areas. We have been complaining about this situation for some time, but there seems to be no change,” one MP told WeekendPost.

“The state of our roads and infrastructure is in disrepair. What irks us the most is that we have been complaining about these things for some time, but there has been no change. We demand progress.”

The issue of poor delivery and the significant deficit in the ruling party’s election promises is so severe that President Masisi had his ministers sign performance agreements and annual performance plans. The President effectively read them the riot act, informing them that they would be fired if they continued to fall short in delivering on their mandates.

He told journalists at a press conference that he recently had a serious engagement with Minister of Health Minister Dr. Edwin Dikoloti and Assistant Minister of Health Sethomo Lelatisitswe regarding the deplorable state of affairs at public health facilities.










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