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BDP to decide on reforms

BDP Secretary General; Botsalo Ntuane

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee (CC) is expected to make a final saying on recommendations from its Political Education and Election Committee (PEEC) at its next meeting.

Subsequent to the adoption of resolution 8 and 9 at the Mmadinare Congress, in September, the party central committee mandated the PEEC with exploring the feasibility of political and electoral reforms.

According to senior party official and PEEC secretary, Kabo Morwaeng, the sub-committee informed all regions, and constituencies to deliberate on the matters which were put before the party for consideration.

“We have been in touch with every region and constituencies and the discussions have been ongoing,” he told this publication. Morwaeng further revealed that all regions are expected to deliver a report on 30th of November 2015, which is Monday next week.

The sub-committee, chaired by former Barataphati stalwart and party veteran, Gaotlhaetse Matlhabaphiri is expected to meet over the reports from various regions and compile a single report with recommendations. The report will be submitted to the party central committee for consideration.

The SUB-committee was also given a mandate to engage civil society and experts in the proposed reforms by the party.

The BDP central committee which sits every Monday of a new month will have its next meeting on the 7th of December.

The reforms agenda are a brainchild of party secretary general, Botsalo Ntuane who convinced his colleagues to consider adopting a number of reforms in a bid to save the party from losing power in the next general elections. The reforms agenda formed part of Ntuane’s campaign for the secretary general position which he won against Matlhabaphiri.

Despite retaining power for the eleventh time since independence, BDP emerged from last year’s general elections badly bruised.  BDP registered its lowest popular vote since independence, for the first time getting 46.7 percent votes, escaping defeat in 12 constituencies, thanks to opposition parties’ split votes.

At the heart of the reforms are several proposals such as adoption of hybrid electoral system encompassing First Past The Post (FPTP) and Proportional Representation (PR).  

For the first time in history, the BDP has opened up to the possibility of introducing political party funding, a subject that has been a ‘taboo’ within the party. Political funding was part of the debate and discussions held by the regions with the view of adopting the idea or maintaining the state of affairs.

Political party funding has attracted a number of credible proponents in the last few years that are of the view that, a matured democracy like that of Botswana should have by now embraced such an initiative. Among them is former President Sir Quett Ketumile Masire who said that failure to do so may result in political parties sourcing funds from undesirable organisations in foreign countries.

The reform talks have their own opponents within the BDP as influential members of the central committee who believe the introduction of Proportional Representation or hybrid system as proposed by Ntuane will essentially hand over power to opposition in 2019.

This publication has established that within the party central committee, Ntuane, Fidelis Molao, and party veteran Daniel Kwelagobe are deep-seated proponents of the reforms. This means adoption of reforms could be determined by whichever side has more support. The Party central committee is not compelled to heed to PEEC recommendations.

On the other hand, adoption of the reforms will result in amendment of the country’s constitution. With BDP in majority and little likelihood of resistance from opposition amendments maybe made before 2019 general elections.

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Botswana approves extradition of British fugitive

20th March 2023

Raiz Ahmed Tayub, a British fugitive sought by Interpol for his involvement in human trafficking and slave trade crimes, was captured by the Botswana Police Service (BPS) earlier this year.

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BOCRA detects new cyber attacks targeted at Botswana

20th March 2023

Government owned communications regulator, Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) recently detected several cyber-attacks targeted at national information and communications infrastructure, companies and home routers in this country.

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Malawi appeals for help over Cyclone Freddy at PAP

17th March 2023

As of yesterday evening, the death toll from the Cyclone in Malawi had risen from the initially reported 190 to 225 in a short period of time, over 20 000 people have been displaced, and the worst of fears are yet to come as the fatalities continue to mount. This was reported by a Malawi Member of Parliament attending the Pan African Parliament session in Midrand, South Africa, Hon Steven Mikiya.

Mikiya was giving a statement on behalf of Malawi as the ongoing Pan African Parliament in South Africa.

Mikiya said the Cyclone has wreaked the most havoc in our country’s Southern Region. “The Southern Region, has been hardest hit with widespread heavy rains and strong winds. This caused a rapid rise in water levels and subsequent flooding. Meanwhile, power supply has been disrupted, roads blocked off and rendered impassable and mudslides have also been widely reported,” he said.

He made a special appeal to the PAP:  “Where I come from, there is a parable which I would like to share with you which says, “mzako weniweni umamudziwa panthawi ya mavuto.” Simply put, a friend in need is a friend indeed or put loosely, a person who helps at a difficult time is a friend you can rely on.”

Mikiya continued: “Yes! Misfortune has knocked on our door and left in its wake a trail of death and destruction that may take years to fully recover from. However, amidst these difficulties, I have every reason to believe that sometimes when you are in a dark place and think you have been buried, you have actually been planted. My belief, Mr. President, arises out of my faith in this gathering and out of the conviction that it is not coincidental that Cyclone Freddy hit Malawi and Mozambique while the delegations of both countries are here.”

According to Mikiya, the level of destruction, the loss of life, property and the decimation of the entire fabric of established communities has been unprecedented. He noted that all this, is coming at a time when Malawi was starting to show signs of recovery from the deadly COVID-19 pandemic that also came hard on the heels of Cyclone Ana and Cyclone Gombe that left a similar trail of devastation and destruction in Malawi and neighbouring countries.

As of Sunday, this week, from the 12th of March, Malawi and Mozambique have been facing the devastating effects of Cyclone Freddy that made a landfall over Mozambique on Saturday the 11th and reached Malawi by Sunday the 12th of March.

The Malawi legislator said he has absolute faith in the Pan African Parliament, which he described as “a league of nations brought together by a shared ancestry, history, identity as well as our beloved continent which we inhabit”.

Meanwhile, Malawi President, Lazarus Chakwera, has declared a State of Disaster in the affected areas effectively appealing for local and international support for the affected families.

Mikiya appealed to the Pan African Parliament drawing “positive” inspiration from Europe which rallied around Turkey after the destructive earthquakes to bring the much-needed relief and humanitarian aid to the people of Turkey.

He said Africa should demonstrate to the world that the African Union and its Organs are not mere talk shows, but effective institutions which stand up when it matters most.

“Alone, it may take us a lifetime to fully recover, but together, in the Pan-Africanist spirit of Ubuntu, our lives and livelihoods will return to a semblance of normality in record time. This is the time to live by our operative mantra, “One Africa, One Voice.” Mikiya concluded.

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