No other Motswana has come out, besides Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, to challenge for the other nine available positions in the African Union Commission (AUC), when it goes for elections in January 2017.
The AU nomination process reopened on the 10th of August and will close when Botswana goes for Independence Day on September 30th.
At AU, the Commission is the head of secretariat of the continental bloc and its chairperson is its Chief Executive Officer, legal representative and Accounting Officer, according to Article 7 of the Commission’s statutes.
The Chairperson is also directly responsible to the Executive Council for the discharge of her duties. This is the position that Venson-Moitoi is challenging for.
The other 9 available positions in the AUC include Deputy Chairperson and 8 Commissioner positions. Only one Southern African; Anthony Mothae Maruping from Lesotho is currently one of the 8 commissioners. Maruping is Commissioner for Economic Affairs and was elected in 2013.
The remaining commissioners include Commissioner for Peace and Security, Algerian Smail Chergui elected in October 2013 and Nigerian, Aisha Abdullahi who is Commissioner for Political Affairs, elected in July 2012.
Others are Egyptian, Elham Mahmoud Ahmed Ibrahim who is Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, elected in January 2008 and re-elected again in July 2012 for a second term.
Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko from Sierra Leone is Commissioner for Social Affairs and was elected in July 2012 while Commissioner for Trade and Industry, Fatima Haram Acyl from Chad was elected in July 2012.
Tumusiime Rhoda Peace of Uganda was elected in January 2008 and re-elected in July 2012 for a second term as Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture while Martial De-Paul Ikounga of Congo was elected in January 2013 for position of Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology.
All the positions are technically vacant and the elections are scheduled to be held during the 28th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, scheduled for 30-31 January, 2017, at AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where Venson-Moitoi is gunning for the Chairperson post.
AUC’s current Chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma recently had her mandate prolonged following a hung election at AU’s Kigali summit in June.
Dlamini-Zuma’s decision not to run for a second term has been interpreted as the most potent sign yet of her ambition to challenge South African Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa for the Presidency of the African National Congress (ANC) and henceforth the State.
Thus far Dlamini-Zuma reportedly has the backing of the ANC youth league, it’s women’s wing as well as a supposedly influential lobby group calling itself the ‘Premier League’, led by Premiers of three provinces of Mpumalanga, Free State and North West.
The Premier League team consists of Ace Magashule, Supra Mahumapelo and David Mabuza who are Premiers and ANC Chairpersons of the Free State, North West and Mpumalanga Provinces respectively.
Colourfully hinting at their rejection of Ramaphosa, ANC youth league leader Collen Maine was recently quoted as saying in South African media: “What we will pursue is the constitution of the ANC. It says any member of the ANC can elect and be elected. If there is some history that if you were whatever you can automatically proceed, thina [us] we are not driving automatic cars. We are driving the constitution.
“There may be some precedents, but some precedents are wrong. We will not fall into traps of precedence; we will apply the constitution.” Maine said.
According to the rules of procedure of the Assembly and Executive Council, the Statutes of the Commission as well as Modalities for the Election of Members of the Commission, the candidatures for the posts of the Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson and the Commissioners are required to be circulated to Member States at least three (3) months before the election.
The re-opening of the process allows for both the former candidates, as well as new candidates to run for any of the ten 10 positions. In accordance with the Note Verbale sent to Member States, the process is such that the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson’s candidatures should be submitted to the Commission (Office of the Legal Counsel, in sealed envelopes) on or before 30 September 2016.
For the remaining 8 Commissioners Member States should have submitted their candidatures to their respective regions on or before 19 August 2016 to pave way for regional consultations which when finalized, the regions should submit their candidatures to the office of the legal counsel for the AU Commission (in sealed envelopes) on or before 16 September 2016;
So far the region has one individual vying for position of Commissioner from Lesotho believed to be Maruping.
Venson-Moitoi told WeekendPost this week that she has not yet tended her candidature but will do so before the September 30th deadline.
The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP)’s decision to reject and appeal the High Court’s verdict on a case involving High Court Judge, Dr Zein Kebonang has frustrated the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and Judge Kebonang’s back to work discussions.
JSC and Kebonang have been in constant discussions over the latter’s return to work following a ruling by a High Court panel of judges clearing him of any wrong doing in the National Petroleum Fund criminal case filed by the DPP. However the finalization of the matter has been hanged on whether the DPP will appeal the matter or not – the prosecution body has since appealed.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) top brass has declined a request by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to negotiate the legal fees occasioned by 2019 general elections petition in which the latter disputed in court the outcome of the elections.
This publication is made aware that UDC Vice President Dumelang Saleshando was left with an egg on his face after the BDP big wigs, comprising of party Chairman Slumber Tsogwane and Secretary General Mpho Balopi rejected his plea.
“He was told that this is a legal matter and therefore their (UDC) lawyer should engage ours (BDP) for negotiations because it is way far from our jurisdiction,” BDP Head of Communications, Kagelelo Kentse, told this publication.
This spelt doom for the main opposition party and Saleshando who seems not to have confidence and that the UDC lawyers have the dexterity to negotiate these kind of matters. It is not clear whether Saleshando requested UDC lawyer Boingotlo Toteng to sit at the table with Bogopa Manewe, Tobedza and Co, who are representing the BDP to strike a deal as per the BDP top echelons suggested.
“From my understanding, the matter is dealt with politically as the two parties are negotiating how to resolve it, but by far nothing has come to me on the matter. So I believe they are still substantively engaging each other,” Toteng said briefly in an interview on Thursday.
UDC petitioners saddled with costs after mounting an unprecedented legal suit before the court to try and overturn BDP’s October 2019 victory. The participants in the legal matter involves 15 parliamentary candidates’ and nine councillors. The UDC petitioned the court and contested the outcome of the elections citing “irregularities in some of the constituencies”.
In a brief ruling in January 2020, Judge President Ian Kirby on behalf of a five-member panel said: “We have no jurisdiction to entertain these appeals. These appeals must be struck out each with costs including costs of counsel”. This was a second blow to the UDC in about a month after their 2019 appeals were dismissed by the High Court a day before Christmas Day.
This week BDP attorneys decided to attach UDC petitioners’ property in a bid to settle the debts. UDC President Duma Boko is among those that will see their property being attached with 14 of his party members. “We have attached some and we are on course. So far, Dr. Mpho Pheko (who contested Gaborone Central) and that of Dr, Micus Chimbombi (who contested Kgalagadi South) will have their assets being sold on the 5th of February 2021,” BDP attorney Basimane Bogopa said.
Asked whether they met with UDC lawyers to try solve the matter, Bogopa said no and added. “Remember we are trying to raise the client’s funds, so after these two others will follow. Right now we are just prioritising those from Court of Appeal, as soon as the high court is done with taxation we will attach.”
Saleshando, when contacted about the outcomes of the meeting with the BDP, told WeekendPost that: “It would not be proper and procedural for me to tell you about the meeting outcomes before I share with UDC National Executive Committee (NEC), so I will have to brief them first.”
UDC NEC will meet on the 20th of next month to deal with a number of thorny issues including settling the legal fees. Negotiations with other opposition parties- Alliance for Progressives and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) are also on the agenda.
Currently, UDC has raised P44 238 of the P565 000 needed to cover bills from the Court of Appeal (CoA). This is the amount in a UDC trust account which is paltry funds equating 7.8 per cent of the overall required money. In the past despite the petitioners maintaining that there was promise to assist them to settle legal fees, UDC Spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa then said the party has never agreed in no way to help them.
“We have just been put in debt by someone,” one of the petitioners told this publication in the past. “President’s (Duma Boko) message was clear at the beginning that money has been sourced somewhere to help with the whole process but now we are here there is nothing and we are just running around trying to make ends meet and pay,” added the petitioner in an interview UDC NEC has in December last year directed all the 57 constituencies to each raise a minimum of P10, 000. The funds will be used to settle debts that are currently engulfing the petitioners with Sheriffs, who are already hovering around ready to attach their assets.
The petitioners, despite the party intervention, have every right to worry. “This is so because ‘the deadline for this initiative (P10, 000 per constituency) is the end of the first quarter of this year (2021),” a period in which the sheriffs would have long auctioned the properties.
President of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Duma Boko’s alliance with former President Lt Gen Ian Khama continues to unsettle some quarters within the opposition collective, who believe the duo, if not managed, will once again result in an unsuccessful bid for government in 2024.
While Khama has denied that he has undeclared preference to have Boko remaining as leader of UDC, many believe that the two have a common programme, while other opposition leaders remain on the side-lines.