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Guma wants MPs to declare assets

Tati East Member of Parliament, Samson Guma

Tati East Member of Parliament, Samson Guma this week challenged the norm in parliament, asking fellow MPs to adopt the law on Declaration of Assets and Liabilities to prove to the public that indeed they are not hiding anything from them.

Responding to President Dr Lt Gen Ian Khama’s State of the Nation Address, the outspoken Guma said the law on Declaration of Assets and Liabilities is ‘urgent’ and should be adopted as soon as possible. He further warned that failure to do so will vindicate the public which views MPs as corrupt heads looting public money.

The one time Assistant Minister of Finance and Development Planning said it is important that the Declaration of Assets and Liabilities bill is brought before parliament so that MPs study it carefully with the view of enacting it immediately. “It is in the interest of the MPs to adopt this law since it will assist them (MPs) gain public confidence,” he asserted.

Guma told the house that he declared his business interests to President Khama in 2008, however he was quick to add that it is still not enough. “The perception out there is that we (MPs) are corrupt, hence the need to enact this law to instil public confidence in us,” he said. “I do not know what we are hiding.”

Considered one of the wealthiest men in the country, the maverick Guma went on to take pride in his wealth, insisting that it was acquired through hard work not corruption or unholy means. “I was working hard years back when some of you were out there drinking [alcohol],” he said. “I will not apologise for it.”

The general principle of Declaration of Assets and Liabilities is to increase transparency and the trust of citizens in public administration, disclosing information about assets of politicians and public servants would show they have nothing to hide.

The Declaration of Assets and Liabilities law has its opponents within the ruling party and it is a subject they have avoided for almost two decades. It was first coined by then Minister of Health and former Francistown East MP Joy Phumaphi but the bill has not seen the light of the day despite opposition legislators advocating for it for the better part of the last decade.
Institutions such as Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) have also said that such a law will make it easier to investigate economic crime involving pubic officials.  

Guma who got his bank accounts frozen as a result of an investigation by Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) and the DCEC for crimes relating to tax evasion has expressed his innocence. The case is currently before the courts but Guma told fellow MPs that, “you can hold my money as long as you want, but the money is mine.”

The Tati East legislator whose relationship with the ruling party has been “hot and cold” accused his party colleagues of sabotaging him for political expediency. Guma stated that since 2014, no minister has visited his constituency but the situation of the people he represents is dire. “People are starving, there is no water and people are asking me what did they voted me for,” said Guma to the raptures of opposition MPs.

Guma narrated how Minister Tshekedi Khama mocked his constituents last week when he failed to show up for a Kgotla meeting he was supposed to address. “We waited for him to arrive at the airport, and back home the Kgotla was filled with people, waiting for him. But he was nowhere to be seen. One old woman came to me crying and asking; "Why are we being treated like this," he said.

A few months ago, a frustrated Guma announced that he was quitting politics after he fell off with his business partner Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Thapelo Olopeng. Guma has since somersaulted on his decision and affirmed his loyalty to the ruling party.

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Free at last: Ian Kirby Speaks Out

6th December 2021
Justice Ian Kirby

The outgoing President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ian Kirby, shares his thoughts with us as he leaves the Bench at the end of this year.

WeekendPost: Why did you move between the Attorney General and the Bench?

Ian Kirby: I was a member of the Attorney General’s Chambers three times- first in 1969 as Assistant State Counsel, then in 1990 as Deputy Attorney General (Civil), and finally in 2004 as Attorney General. I was invited in 2000 by the late Chief Justice Julian Nganunu to join the Bench. I was persuaded by former President Festus Mogae to be his Attorney General in 2004 as, he said, it was my duty to do so to serve the nation. I returned to the Judiciary as soon as I could – in May 2006, when there was a vacancy on the High Court Bench.

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Civil society could rescue Botswana’s flawed democracy’ 

6th December 2021
Parliament

Botswana’s civil society is one of the non-state actors that could save the country’s democracy from sliding into regression, a Germany based think tank has revealed.  This is according to a discussion paper by researchers at the German Development Institute who analysed the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes In Botswana.

In the paper titled “E-government and democracy in Botswana: Observational and experimental evidence on the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes,” the researchers offer a strongly worded commentary on Botswana’s ‘flawed democracy.’  The authors noted that with Botswana’s Parliament structurally – and in practice – feeble, the potential for checks and balances on executive power rests with the judiciary.

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Bangwato at loggerheads over Moshupa trip

6th December 2021

Bangwato in Serowe — where Bamagwato Paramount Chief and former President Lt. Gen Ian Khama originates – disagree on whether they must send a delegation to dialogue with President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s family in Moshupa. Just last week, a meeting was called by the Regent of Bamagwato, Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane, at Serowe Kgotla to, among others, update the tribe on the whereabouts of their Kgosi (Khama). 

Further, his state of health was also discussed, with Kgamane telling the attendees that all is well with Khama. The main reason for the meeting was to deliberate on the escalating tension between Khama and Masisi — a three-year bloodletting going unabated.

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