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Appeals court to settle Presidential powers debate next week

The Law Society of Botswana (LSB) will on Monday next week attempt to convince the court of Appeal in Gaborone that President Lieutenant General Dr  Seretse Khama Ian Khama was wrong in refusing to appoint a local attorney, Omphemetse Motumise, a High court judge.

In a matter that will lead to clarify the role and rights of the Republic’s President vis-à-vis that of the judicial Service commission (JSC) in regards to the appointment of High court judges, LSB, through its attorneys will further debate the reasons why it believes the Gaborone High court was very wrong when it ruled that the President’s decision in that regard was final.

On 5th, February, 2016, Justice Walia of the High court ruled that President Khama had a constitutional backing to refuse to appoint a judge and that he is not obliged to give reasons for his refusal. Walia stated that even though Motumise was recommended for appointment by the JSC, that did not bind the President to rubberstamp the reccomendation.

Walia concluded that although the JSC recommend names for appointment, the power to appoint a Judge vests in the President. “He shall be the appointing authority but in the exercise of his powers as such, he may not appoint a person not recommended by the JSC,” Walia explained and added that  the JSC plays an advisory role in as far as the appointment of Judges is concerned because  “having made a recommendation, it falls out of the picture altogether. How then can it ever be regarded as the appointing authority?

When the case was brought before court, the argument was whether or not the President’s decision was reviewable. The LSB and Motumise argued that the decision of the President is reviewable while the Attorney General attorneys argued that it is not.
However, Walia maintained that, the President derives his executive powers from section 47 of the Constitution. The said section vests the powers of the country on the state President and empowers the President to take or reject advice from anyone.

Walia was responding to the LSB’s contention that in refusing to appoint someone who was recommended above others by the JSC, the President acted irrationally and unlawfully as he did not even give reasons. However Walia maintained that the President was smart in not giving reasons because they (reasons) may damage the reputation of the rejected candidate.

“In so far as the decision may have been based on adverse information to the person of the applicant, it was, in my view, benevolent of the President to not make a disclosure in public, lest the applicant suffer damage to his reputation. In my view the President has committed no reviewable wrong in making the decision. The argument on irrational is therefore without merit,” Walia pointed out.

However LSB was not happy with the judge’s decision and when it challenges his ruling on Monday, the contention would be that, in as much as Walia said the President was not obliged to disclose the information, he did not have facts before him to prove whether indeed or not the President’s decision was a justified one.

“There were no facts before the court to establish whether the decision was in fact motivated by concerns of either national security and policy or information in relation to the second appellant (Motumise,” LSB’s grounds of appeal reads in part. LSB is advocating that shortlisted High court judge applicants should be interviewed in public so as to promote transparency.

Since Walia dismissed that point by citing privacy rules, LSB is expected to give it a try before the Appeals court because it believes, the High court erred, “in failing to recognise the general rule in relation to the protection of the privacy of the applicants who apply for high public office, that they must accept that the public has a legitimate interest in their application unless there are reasons that justify secrecy which in this case no such reasons were given.”

LSB further wants the outcome of the of the JSC’s deliberations to be made public.
The court of Appeal, the highest in the land, is expected to settle the matter early February.

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Masisi to dump Tsogwane?

28th November 2022

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.

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African DFIs gear to combat climate change

25th November 2022

The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.

Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa

A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.

COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”

According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.

“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”

Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”

Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.

Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.

“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.

For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.

“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.

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TotalEnergies Botswana launches Road safety campaign in Letlhakeng

22nd November 2022

Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.

The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ,   Patrick Thedi said,  “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”

As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders  will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.

Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele,  who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.

The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as  well as  bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.

TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050,  has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.

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