Connect with us
Advertisement

Investors walk away from 400 million pula varsity in Kanye


Kgosikgolo Malope Gaseitsiwe II

Investors have allegedly abandoned an initial proposal to build a university in Kanye village in the Southern District, following a land tussle between them and Bangwaketse Tribal leadership. The technical state-of-the-art university was estimated to cost a whopping 400 million Pula which was already sourced from the European Union and available, Weekend Post learnt.  

The university’s aim was to assist bridge the skills mismatch, boost the economy in the village, create employment and provide practical education by training students on woodwork, welding, tannery (leather), mining, food processing amongst others.

Weekend Post has established that the university investors had wished to construct the institution under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) at a place known as Showgrounds – which was seen as strategic and a central location. The area is closer to amenities such as water and electricity as well as in the heart of the village.

Showgrounds is owned by morafhe and reigning Kgosikgolo Malope Gaseitsiwe II is the custodian. Although the land was supposedly allotted to host the Kanye Agricultural Show, it has been a white elephant for more than 20 years. With regards to the university proposal, Kgosi Malope has been “non-committal” on calling a lebatla to neither solicit advice from morafe nor allocate the land to the proposed university team.

Weekend Post has also gathered that the planned university was a brainchild of some prominent village elders who together with other citizens formed an organization dubbed Thuto Africa precisely for purposes of expediting the idea and securing funds – to fulfill the late Bangwaketse Chief, Kgosikgolo Bathoen Gasitsiwe II’s dreams of seeing the university in Kanye.

Amongst the organisations’ Kanye tribesmen with the vision for a university is former President Sir Ketumile Masire who chairs it, High Court Judge Justice Monametsi Gaongalelwe, and top notch academic Professor Rodgers Molefhi, who all hail from Kanye. Chief Justice Maruping Dibotelo and real estate magnate Willy Kathurima are also members of the organisation.  

This has always been the dream and aspiration of the esteemed Bathoen, who held education with high regard and envisioned a university in his village at one point.

Subsequent to securing the funds, Thuto Africa, therefore wanted to implement the matter but soliciting land was a ‘headache’ and have therefore withdrawn.

This publication has also gathered that the organization competed with other African counterparts for the EU funds and still triumphed and have always looked upon Kanye as a strategic planning and developing area for the project.

A high ranking source close to the developments told Weekend Post in an interview this week that “Malope is the custodian of the land which is owned by morafhe, and Thuto Africa, spearheaded by Professor Molefhi found it fit to rightly request for allocation from that authority hoping that he would call a lebatla for morafhe to deliberate on and advise accordingly – but although surrounded by a pool of advisors he was even not promising on freeing the land.”

This publication understands that the Show committee responsible for the Showground was also consulted on the matter and was “prepared” to relinquish the land “since it is currently not being utilized and has been a white elephant for more than 20 years and still counting”.

Show committee’s position with regards to Showgrounds

When reached for comment, Show committee Chairman, Richard Tshitlho, confirmed that Thuto Africa, chaired by former President Masire and Professor Molefhi as the Secretary indeed approached and consulted them that they need the land for constructing the university under PPP arrangement.

According to Tshitlho if they had their way they would release the land for the school as they believe it will widely benefit the village.

“We thought that since they are speaking of a university we could engage them as it will boost the informal sector, create employment and uplift the level of education in Kanye and by extension the country,” Tshitlho highlighted.

While investors thought the central position that is ideal is show ground and taking into consideration that it is not even utilized, Tshitlho submitted that others feel it still can be built on the outskirts of the village but at the same time worried that the location will be far from students especially those sponsoring themselves.

If the great opportunity of building a university in Kanye, for whatever reasons, does not come to pass Tshitlho highlighted that the consequences will be that developments will lag behind and the place may remain rural without buildings attracting more investors further. “We will remain stagnant, there will be no employment creation, no accommodation business opportunities, and no uplifting of the economy of the informal sector as well as local transport industry.”

The Show committee Chairman also pointed out that they were advised by The Low Level Local Consultation Committee and it posits that it is useless for the Showground land to keep idling but instead they can loan it to some people to utilize it under PPP like Southern District Council (SDC) did with Mongala mall previously.

“We also thought there could be thorough consultations with Southern District Commissioner, (SDC) Council Secretary and Ngwaketse Landboard Secretary to discuss the issue with them further so they advise accordingly.”

Meanwhile he also said they met Malope on the matter. “We went to Kgosi Malope to meet him on the issue,” he pointed out while adding that they had wanted Malope to consult morafe on the matter. “Right now Kgosi don’t want to call morafhe as he feels the strategy may not work.”

District Commissioner, SDC Council Secretary have their say

District Commissioner Mmoloki Raletobane also re-affirmed that the land belongs to morafhe and the Kgosi is the custodian. “He holds it on behalf of the community but it is that morafhe that can guide him on how best to utilize it,” he stated.

As DC, he said any development that is in the interest of government and in line with community, and also not breaking any law “we can give it a nod” while emphasizing that their job is to advise what is simply in the interest of government.

He however said he was not officially approached on the matter of the university but got winds of it being proposed to be built at Showground. “I just know there is a Showgrounds which they want.”

On his part, Council Secretary Mompati Seleka said he is aware of the move, and while they have not contacted his office, he gathers that some village elders came up with the university proposal to be erected at Showgrounds but were facing some resistance from certain quarters of the community.

He stressed that they could have approached them because as Council they are the planning authority and everything has to pass by them.  “When people want to start something like this, they engage us as a Council facility as we would assist them accordingly. We would facilitate the process with regulations to make them accommodative,” he stressed.

Kgosikgolo Malope II was not able to provide this publication with a comment on the matter when contacted this week. “I am sorry I cannot comment on that university proposal issue,” he said.

Continue Reading

News

Masisi, DIS come under scrutiny at UN Rights Committee 

25th October 2021
masisi & magosi

President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi and the Directorate of Intelligence (DIS) came under the lens of the United Nations Human Rights Committee during the just ended dialogue between committee members and the Botswana delegation. 

Scores of issues, among them the country’s reports on topics including whether Masisi abused the State of Emergency Act during the COVID-19 pandemic and alleged surveillance and harassment of members of the public by DIS, were addressed at the session.

A Committee expert asked about legislation in the Penal Code allowing the Government to investigate people who expressed opinions against public figures, particularly the President. How many cases were there of journalists who had been investigated, prosecuted and tried?
Concerning the COVID-19 Emergency Powers Act, there was a provision for a fine or a five-year jail term for journalists using “source(s) other than the Director of Health Services or the World Health Organization” when reporting on COVID-19. The Committee Expert asked for the number of cases and other measures taken under this Act.

Another committee expert wanted to know that the scale and scope of electronic surveillance, which had sharply increased in recent years, was concerning. Furthermore, the Committee was troubled at the lack of a sufficient independent oversight mechanism over the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services that reportedly had contributed to a growing climate of fear and chilling effect on journalists, human rights defenders and opposition politicians. In this respect, a Committee Expert asked about the measures taken by Botswana during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that the right to privacy was protected (collection and management of personal data).

The Expert also enquired about a database website, which was not functioning but was supposed to contain documents of Botswana’s international human rights commitments.
In terms of the freedom of assembly, while the Constitution of the State party guaranteed it, the Committee had received information that, in practice, the Public Order Act required citizens to apply to the nearest police for a permit to hold an assembly, and police had sometimes denied requests for unclear reasons.

The Committee Expert asked if the Public Order Act of the State party had been applied in conformity with those tests. Would the State party indicate the measures it had taken and/or intended to take to make the application of the law in question strictly compatible with the requirements under article 21? Furthermore, the Committee had also received allegations that police officers sometimes used force to compel gathering people to disperse. In this regard, the Expert asked for information on legal provisions and practical guidelines under which police officers may resort to force and any training programme if any, for police and other law enforcement officers to respect and ensure the right of peaceful assembly.

A Committee Expert asked about cases of holding people for longer periods under pre-trial detention than the maximum period provided for in legislation, 36 months, instead of six. Were there any plans to shorten the duration of pre-trial detention in legislation? The Committee noted that there was no provision for local community broadcasting. What measures were the State party taking to ensure that the local communities could also communicate in their language in the media?

What measures had been undertaken by Botswana to increase sustainable development in the country regarding climate change in particular. What efforts had been undertaken to ensure that customary courts worked up to speed? A Committee Expert asked about children in rural areas who travelled a long way to their schools. The delegation was asked about the independence of the Ombudsman Office, including provisions for appointing the Ombudsman. What budget was envisaged for this Office?

The Expert acknowledged the established procedures and institutions for anti-human trafficking but expressed concerns about the lack of reported cases. The Expert asked about the accountability of the public prosecution, as well as the intelligence services. Replying, the Botswana delegation, led by Presidential Minister Kabo Morwaeng, said there was an ongoing consultation for revising provisions that would ensure better protection for journalists and media freedom in Botswana.

Still, the delegation said, freedom of expression was assured in the State party without any restrictions, including in Parliament. There was an education programme providing the opportunity for children in primary school to be taught in their mother tongue. It also explained that the Ombudsman would be dealing with issues of human rights promotion and protection.

“National policies and procedures were envisaged to control the distribution of natural resources. Botswana was also taking measures to increase the access of minority groups to education. Regarding pre-trial detention, the delegation explained that the criminal procedure assured justice was preserved in the country,” said the delegation.

On the issue of torturer and alleged use of unreasonable force on suspects, the Botswana delegation explained that police officers were trained to use minimal force, ensuring that human rights were preserved, including in the cases of assemblies. On the use of surveillance, no legal provisions were breached, and such measures were used in accordance with national legislation. Legal aid was very costly, and it was not possible to keep the record in detail as asked by the Committee.

Morwaeng told the Committee that the Government maintained a robust consultative approach to policy development and legislative process. He said this was a system of governance that ensured that the voices of ordinary citizens were respected and taken into account in the social, economic and political process that affected them the most, giving full effect to the full enjoyment of human rights across the board. The delegation took due note of the views of the Committee, including the importance of harnessing information technology to give a broader appreciation of the provisions of the Covenant.

Continue Reading

News

Masisi on P1 billion water investment

25th October 2021
water project

The P1 billion water project launched by President Dr vMokgweetsi Masisi this week is said to be critical to the success of key projects planned in Lobatse – the Lobatse Milk Afric and Leather Park. After commissioning the multi-million Pula Masama-Mmamashia water project last week following its completion, on Thursday, Masisi performed ground-breaking ceremony of yet another major water project, the Lobatse Water Supply Master Plan (LWSMP1).

The water project was conceptualized in 2009 to address water shortage in areas along the Greater Gaborone zone. These areas include Ramotswa, Otse, Mogobane, Mankgodi, Manyana, Goodhope, Lekgolobotlo, Mmathethe, Molapowabojang and villages surrounding. It was said that some major upcoming projects in Lobatse such as Lobatse Leather Park, Milk Afric and the Pioneer Border Gate are dependent on the success of this project, in order for them to take off and operate effectively. The two projects have been struggling to take-off despite government having put the necessary resources.

The Lobatse Leather Park is anticipated to create about 4700 jobs at the initial stage and 7000 jobs at full capacity. The project entails the development of a complex for different tanneries with the support of state-owned beef company, Botswana Meat Commission. It will comprise primary infrastructure such as a common effluent treatment plant, sewage treatment plant, and others.

When operational, the park is expected to supply the private sector with hides and skins, raw to finished leather tanneries, and the manufacturing of different leather products. These products include shoes, belts, jackets, and others, thereby playing an instrumental role in stimulating economic activity. Leather Beneficiation Park is seen as important for the leather industry as it would ensure that Botswana moves from exporting raw leather to finished leather goods. It is said research has established that there are plenty of hides and skins in the country from the three million cattle and 1.8 million goats.

Meanwhile, Milk Afric dairy farm project which was expected to be complete by the second half of 2018, is in the wilderness after the initial partnership between Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) and Milk Afric failed to bear fruits. BDC has been searching for a new partner for the project. Once fully operational, the farm will produce a total of 21.9 million litres or one third of the national milk demand, which is 65 million litres a year. At present, Botswana imports over 58.8 million litres from South Africa at a cost of P345 million annually.

The P120 million project is a Public Private Partnership deal between Lobatse Town Council (LTC),  with 10 percent shareholding through leasing its 1375.4 ha farm for 25 years; and 26 percent (P40 million) by Botswana Development Corporation (BDC). When speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony held in Ramotswa, Masisi said, in addition to improving the water supply for domestic needs and livelihoods, this infrastructural development will facilitate major projects in the Lobatse region, which are critical to the ailing, old town.

“Our objective as a country is to align developments with the National Vision 2036 Pillar 3 on Sustainable Development, which recognizes water as a very scarce resource which requires strategic management by key players.” Botswana is a developing country with an increasing population, Masisi said, adding that an increase in population naturally causes exponential growth in the demand for water. This is a reality that Botswana is faced with and challenged to address for sustainable water supply, the President said.

He indicated that this is why they are continuously witnessing major water projects undertaken by government, in collaboration with key partners. “Gaborone and surrounding areas have been experiencing an acute water supply deficit due to infrastructure that has outlived its potential to meet the growing demand for water by citizens. This particular project entails the construction of a Pump Station at Forest Hill in Gaborone, a 57 kilometre pipeline from Gaborone to Lobatse and a new Northern reservoir.”

The project, awarded China State Construction and Engineering Corporation/Van and Truck Hire Joint Venture at over P1 billion, is currently at 49% of its completion stage. There are 637 jobs created by this water project. “The transmission pipeline will convey 63 million litres of water a day from Gaborone to Lobatse. This is a great improvement compared to an average supply of 14 million litres of water that has been supplied to Lobatse, Borolong and surrounding areas,” Masisi said.

Continue Reading

News

UN quizzes Botswana on gays, Sebina defilement case

25th October 2021
EU

The United Nations Committee on Human Rights has taken Botswana to task over what it considers to be discrimination laws against lesbians and gays and delay in prosecuting suspects in the infamous Sebina defilement case.  The Botswana delegation led by Presidential Minister Kabo Morwaeng found itself against the wall before the United Nations Human Rights Committee of experts in Geneva, Switzerland.  

First to take Botswana head-on was the UN Committee member, C SOH, who noted that the recent ruling of the High Court pays particular attention to the penal code penalising same-sex sexual conduct as it found that it infringed on the constitutional rights, dignity, liberty and privacy of the LGBTI persons (lesbians and gays).  “Nonetheless, I note with deep concern that those discriminatory provisions of the of the penal code remain in effect and regrettably the government stated in its periodic review before deciding whether or not to repeal section 164 it would still await the final determination of the court of appeal in the case of Motshidiemang vs State,” said Soh.

According to Soh, “This statement makes us cast doubt on the will of the government to vigorously” strike out section 164, which criminalises sex between people of the same sex.  “In this respect, I would like to ask the delegation to explain what the intended goal by the government was when it filed an appeal against the unconstitutionality ruling of the High Court,” he said. Soh said the Botswana Government had also explained that no persons had been convicted under this provision, section 164, ever since the penal code was enacted.

“However, media reports indicate that in August 2016, the government of a Gaborone Magistrate Court sentenced a man three years in prison who had been charged and convicted under section 164 for engaging in unnatural acts. Can the delegation explain these discrepancies relating to persons who have been convicted and sentenced under section 164 of the penal code,” he said.  He also wanted the Botswana delegation to explain how the government addresses how customary courts have been discriminating against LGBTI persons.

Another member of the UN Committee, Duncan Muhumuza, expressed concern that the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) has taken more than four years to prosecute suspects in the Sebina saga in which a councillor was alleged to have slept with a student who was also a minor.
Replying to concerns raised by the UN experts, Mogakolodi Segwagwa, chief state counsel at the Attorney General Chambers, noted that one of the UN committee members has “become fearful that the fact that government appealed the case could be a sign that there is lack of will or doubt on the part of the government as to abolishing or outlawing of same-sex relations.”

“But I would like to assure the panel that Botswana has over the years proved itself at all times to be compliant with court orders. There are many examples I could put forward where the government had to make sure that court orders were executed. That is the assurance I can give out to the committee,” said Segwagwa.  He said there was a good reason for appealing the decision of the High Court in which it outlawed section 164.

“This was a High Court decision, and as you know in our jurisdiction when a judge is at the same court with his brothers and his sisters and fellow judges, whatever decision he puts out so far as that particular court is concerned, it is not law because it is not binding on his fellow brothers and sisters and it is not binding on fellow judges,” explained Segwagwa. He added that “It is merely persuasive so much so that some other judges may choose to when a similar case comes before him or her, depart and ignore the position that that particular judge espoused, and he or she can do so with ease.”

Segwagwa further explained that “There was a very pressing need for this matter to be appealed to the Court of Appeal for purposes of crystalising the law and for purposes of ensuring that if there is any aspect of the law that the High Court had overlooked in arriving at this particular decision, then such an aspect can be taken into consideration by the Court of Appeal.” “So we are waiting for that judgement, and once it comes, it will be implemented. I take it that the committee would like the Court of Appeal to uphold the decision below and strike out this particular section.”

He assured the UN experts that when the High Court struck out section 164 in 2019, the country did not erupt into violence, adding that this was an “indication that we don’t have anything against people of LGBT. They are our brothers and sisters, and we co-exist with them.”  Regarding the Sebina saga, Segwagwa said the painful case “where this councillor was said to have had sexual intercourse with a child is the police dealt with a matter as it is the law and we all know that the police are bound by their Act to do so without fear and prejudice.”

He said Upon completion of their investigation, “the matter was handed over to the prosecuting authority, as Mr Muhumuza had indicated, it has been four years and we concede that four years is a long time and that it is unreasonably a long time and that it defeats the whole adage that justice should be sweetest and freshest so much so that the case needed to be speeded along.”

He added that “But the problem we have which is not a problem in the sense of it being a problem, but the impediment we have in the sense that the Constitution created the Office of the Director of Prosecutions under section 51 subsection A and if you go to that particular section and you read subsection six, the director shall not be subjected to the control of another authority.”

Segwagwa said, “this is the section that was inserted in this constitution to safeguard the independence of the Director of DPP to ensure that he or she prosecutes matters without fear, favour and prejudice and it presents impediment where we can’t try and say to the DPP, go and register or indicate your position now, tomorrow or next year and that is why it has taken all this time, but we believe attempts are being made that it finds its way to the court.”

Continue Reading
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!