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Dikgosi refuse to report directly to Khama

Members of Ntlo ya Dikgosi (House of Chiefs) have this week turned down attempts to surrender more of their powers by placing their house under the auspices of the Office of the President (OP).  


The bid, through a sponsored motion, was to give more powers to OP and for dikgosi to report directly to President Lt. Gen. Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama.  The motion brought to Ntlo ya Dikgosi debate floor, by Kgosi Galeakanye Modise of Tswapong Region, sought to restructure the department of Tribal Administration such that it reports to OP, not the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, as it is the current case. The motion essentially claims that by moving the Tribal Administration to operate under OP, the Ministry and to some an extent, Dikgosi’s voices, will be more effective, as they will be dealing directly with the country’s first citizen.


When presenting the motion before the house, Kgosi Modise explained that after thorough observation and consultation and research, they found out that the Tribal Administration does not perform its duties effectively under the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.  


“Therefore we will be placing the department at the OP precisely because, as the president is running the country, it means he would connect well to a larger extent with other village leaders across the country and this will make his duty easier, quicker and more flexible,” Kgosi Modise contended.  


“My belief is that,” he continued: “as the head of government, the president, although ministries represent and run his government, if you look at the Tribal Administration which is in every village around the country, it would be more effective if it can report directly to the president.”


In terms of re-structuring, he added that since the department is everywhere, his thinking is that since it is a huge and crucial department, it should be at the most powerful Ministry. “As it stands, the Tribal Admin is to a larger extent deficient of relevant skills and expertise that are needed to allow it to run the department smoothly and efficiently. If under OP like its counterparts in the judiciary, I believe it can match the latter,” he highlighted during his presentation.


On this restructuring exercise, Kgosi Modise further contended that the position of the Tribal Administration Secretary should be elevated in terms of responsibilities and wages while adding that this will attract qualified candidates to those prevailing portfolios.
“Once they have that capacity, which it is clear they currently they lack, they can be allocated a good budget and in turn, the department will be efficient,” Kgosi Modise emphasized.   


The other reason he advanced was that since the department of Tribal Administration also deals with the rule of law, it would be better placed at the OP “like other Justice departments at the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security.” It is worth noting however that, the Administration of Justice is an independent entity, which does not fall under OP. The Ministry of Defence, justice and Security also does not fall under OP. The Office of the President falls under Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration.


Nonetheless, the tribal leader’s point was that it is important to harmonize both customary law and common law. “They can look at them while closer to each other and listen to each other and have a common ground,” he debated.  Kgosi Modise further added that, the current status quo, sometimes is a road block against progress as those at the Tribal Administration are seen as not at par in terms of qualifications, skills and expertise with regard to the law as compared to the Administration of Justice.


“We all know that the Administration of Justice is versed with closer assistance of the know-how expertise in terms of the law,” he observed. According to Modise, it will also be easier for OP to align the plans and roles of Ntlo ya Dikgosi with dikgosi whom are not sitting in Ntlo ya Dikgosi, and that in addition the implementation will be easier too.


“They (Tribal Administration) perform a lot of functions which includes judicial tasks, assists in governing the country as well as prioritizing the developments. So it appears that even though it is an ancient department, contemporary Botswana derive pleasure in it because there is a Kgosi and complementing staff,” he highlighted.


Kgosi Modise said when it comes to systems in place and running of the country, it is clear that department of Tribal Administration does not run efficiently as similar departments are placed at different ministries. While they both perform the judicial function, Administration of Justice is well equipped at the Ministry of Justice while Tribal Administration lacks a mere budget as it relies from the always inadequate budget of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.


When dismissing the motion, Kgosi Tshipe Tshipe of Mahalapye region said in terms of the roles of a kgosi there is no relevance in them being transferred from the Local Governance ministry to OP. “Ministry of Local Government speaks more to dikgosi, their roles are mostly defined by Ministry of Local Governance and Rural Development,” he said.


Instead, he emphasized that Tribal Administration should be equally capacitated enough to match the standards of today. Specially Elected member, Kgosi Maruje III Thabo Masunga highlighted that bogosi on its own is Local Government. “Local government is the embodiment of the institution of Bogosi,” he stressed and added, “So I am wondering whether if they transfer bogosi to the OP, it is going to work. I also wonder if there is need to establish bogosi as a stand-alone ministry of bogosi and culture, or should we leave it to Local Government?”


Masunga said cabinet does not have a requisite authority and they don’t have the right and understanding of bogosi and “I believe an independent researcher can carry out an audit and this will bring a comprehensible audit that will inform government on what to do.”
His contention is that, since Executive and parliament are political appointees, they cannot perform the function of research. Bogosi and politics, he said, have a conflicting interest as they are competing and continue to have conflicting, different needs at different times.


On his part Assistant Minister in the Office of the President Thato Kwerepe told the house that they too found that the department of Tribal Administration is properly placed in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. He said the government has over the years carried Organization and Methods (O&M) Studies in Ministries and Departments to determine the relevance of their mandates and grouping of their related functions.


“These exercises do sometimes result in re-location of such functions to ministries or departments where they can be performed efficiently and effectively.” The Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) has carried out such exercises in Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, the most recent being in 2010 which was approved by Upper panel in 2010.


According to the findings and analysis of the mandate and functions of the department of Tribal Administration, it was found to be facilitating the offices of dikgosi to promote development and security through direct engagement of their tribesman and to prosecute any matters in relation to customary laws in order to maintain law and order in their communities.


In addition to this, Tribal Administration was found to be responsible for community development and local governance through citizen engagement at the lowest level of decentralized governance structures and as such is appropriately linked with local authorities.
The mandate of the Department of Tribal Administration is to ensure that all Tribal Administrative institutions across Botswana are made more effective and efficient.

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Seretse, Kgosi may walk free

30th October 2020
BAKANG SERETSE

The P250 million National Petroleum Fund (NPF) saga that has been before court since 2017 seems to be losing its momentum with a high possibility of it being thrown out as defence lawyers unmask incompetency on the part of the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP).

The Gaborone High Court this week ruled that the decision by the State to prosecute Justice Zein Kebonang and his twin brother, Sadique Kebonang has been reviewed and set aside. The two brothers have now been cleared of the charges that where laid against them three years ago.

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Understanding the US Electoral College and key election issues 

28th October 2020
Mark J Rozell

The United States (US) will on the 3rd of November 2020 chose between incumbent Donald Trump of the Republicans and former Vice President Joe Biden of the Democrats amid the coronavirus pandemics, which has affected how voting is conducted in the world’s biggest economy.

Trump (74) seeks re-election after trouncing Hillary Clinton in 2016, while Biden (77) is going for his first shot as Democratic nominee after previous unsuccessful spells.

US Presidents mostly succeed in their re-election bid, but there have been nine individuals who failed to garner a second term mandate, the latest being George W H. Bush, a Republican who served as the 41st US President between 1989 and 1993.

Dr Mark Rozell, a Dean of  the School of Policy and Government at George Mason University  in  Arlington, Virginia describes the complex US electoral system that will deliver the winner at the 3rd November elections.

“The founders of our Republic de-centralised  authority  significantly  in  creating  our  constitutional  system,  which  means that  they  gave  an  enormous  amount  of  independent  power  and  authority  to  State  and  local governments,” Dr Rozell told international media on Elections 2020 Virtual Reporting Tour.

Unlike  parliamentary  democracies, like Botswana the  United  States  does  not  have  all  of  the  national government elected in one year. They do not have what is commonly called mandate elections where  the  entire  federal  government  is  elected  all  in  one  election  cycle  giving  a  “mandate”  to  a particular political party to lead, and instead US have what are called staggered elections, elections over time.

The two house Congress, members of the House of Representatives have two-year long terms of office. Every two years the entire House of Representatives is up for re-election, but senators  serve  for  six  years  and  one  third  of  the  Senate is elected every  two  years.

For this election cycle, US citizens will be electing the President and Vice

President, the entire House of Representatives and one third of the open or contested seats in the Senate, whereas two thirds are still fulfilling the remainder of their terms beyond this year.

An  important  facet  of  US electoral  system  to  understand  given  the  federalism  nature  of  the republic, the US elect presidents State by State, therefore they do not have a national popular vote for the presidency.

“We have a national popular vote total that says that Hillary Clinton got three million more votes than Donald Trump or in Year 2000 that Al Gore got a half million more votes than George W. Bush, but we have what is called a State by State winner takes all system where each State  is  assigned  a  number  of  electors  to  our  Electoral  College  and  the  candidate  who  wins  the popular vote within each State takes 100 percent of the electors to the Electoral College,” explained Dr Rozell.

“And that is why mathematically, it is possible for someone to win the popular vote but lose the presidency.”

Dr Rozell indicated that in 2016, Hillary Clinton won very large popular majorities in some big population States like California, but the system allows a candidate to only have to  win  a  State  by  one  vote  to  win  a  100 percent of  its  electors,  the  margin  does  not  matter.

“Donald  Trump  won  many  more  States  by  smaller  margins,  hence  he  got  an  Electoral  College majority.”

Another interesting features by the way of US constitutional system, according to Dr Rozell, but extremely rare, is what is called the faithless elector.

“That’s the elector to the Electoral College who says, ‘I’m not going to vote the popular vote in my State, I think my State made a bad decision and I’m going  to  break  with  the  popular  vote,’’ Dr Rozell said.

“That’s constitutionally a very complicated matter in our federalism system because although the federal constitution says electors may exercise discretion, most States have passed State laws making it illegal for any elector to the Electoral College to break faith with the popular vote of that State, it is a criminal act that can be penalized if one is to do that. And we just had an important Supreme Court case that upheld the right of the states to impose and to enforce this restriction”

There are 538 electors at the Electoral College, 270 is the magic number, the candidate who gets 270 or more becomes President of the United States.

If however there are more candidates, and  this  happens  extremely  rarely,  and  a  third  candidate  got  some electors  to  the  Electoral  College  denying  the  two  major  party  candidates,  either  one  getting  a majority, nobody gets 270 or more, then the election goes to the House of Representatives and the House of Representatives votes among the top three vote getters as to who should be the next President.

“You’d have to go back to the early 19th century to have such a scenario, and that’s not going to happen this year unless there is a statistical oddity, which would be a perfect statistical tie of 269 to 269 which could happen but you can just imagine how incredibly unlikely that is,” stated Dr Rozell.

BLUE STATES vs RED STATES

Since the 2000 United States presidential election, red states and blue states have referred to states of the United States whose voters predominantly choose either the Republican Party (red) or Democratic Party (blue) presidential candidates.

Many  states  have  populations  that  are  so  heavily  concentrated  in  the  Democratic party or the Republican party that there is really no competition in those states.

California is a heavily Democratic State, so is New York and Maryland. It is given that Joe Biden will win those states. Meanwhile Texas, Florida and Alabama are republicans. So, the candidates will spent no time campaigning in those states because it is already a given.

However there are swing  states, where  there is a competition between about five and 10 states total in each election cycle that make a difference, and that is where the candidates end up spending almost all of their time.

“So  it  ends  up  making  a  national  contest  for  the  presidency  actually  look  like  several  state-wide contests with candidates spending a lot of time talking about State and local issues in those parts of the country,” said Dr Rozell.

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Masisi to make things right with Dangote

26th October 2020

High Commissioner of the Federal Government of Nigeria to Botswana, His Excellency Umar Zainab Salisu, has challenged President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi to move swiftly and lobby Africa’s richest man, Nigerian Billionaire, Aliko Dangote to invest in Botswana.

Speaking during a meeting with President Masisi at Office of President on Thursday Zainab Salisu said Dangote has expressed massive interest in setting up billion dollar industries in Botswana.  “We have a lot of investors who wish to come and invest in Botswana , when we look at Botswana we don’t see Botswana itself , but we are lured by its geographic location , being in the centre of Southern Africa presents a good opportunity for strategic penetration into other markets of the region,” said Salisu.

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