Kgosi Masunga, Minister Maele square up in land debate
Furious Kgosi Maruje wants land audit
The Minister of Land and Housing, Prince Maele and Kgosi Thabo Maruje II of Masunga recently squared up in Ntlo Ya Dikgosi over the issue of sale of land to foreigners by Batswana.
Minister Maele is convinced that the recently introduced land policy patches up all the loopholes that could ensure that Batswana have land rights. On the other hand Kgosi Maruje is of the view that Batswana are losing land to rich foreigners who have their pockets lined with millions of Pula.
Responding to a motion tabled by Kgosi Mmirwa Malema of Bobirwa on, ‘the introduction of quota policies that limit buying of plots per person,’ Maele opined that Batswana who own land have the right to sell their land. He justified his point by demonstrating that a Motswana who owns shares in the Stock market, or a Motswana who owns cattle are allowed to enhance their economic standing by selling what they have, “why should we discriminate against those who own land?” The Minister said the move could infringe on the constitutional rights of those who own land.
He said the Land Polciy addresses pertinent issues because it bars the sale of undeveloped land; it also stops one from selling their last residential land, among other things. According to the Minister, the Land Policy also protects those who were allocated land under special dispensation such as those of Sesarwa descent, because they cannot sell their land until after 15 years.
Commenting directly on the motion, Maele said that he couldn’t figure out “what mischief the Kgosi Mmirwa Malema motion is trying to address.” He said that “the motion will be in conflict with the constitution” going on to denounce the move saying that such development risks being a lengthy process which will warrant a constitutional reform. Maele said that he could not be persuaded by Kgosi Masunga’s argument saying introduction of policies limiting buying of plots per person would impinge on the constitutionally conferred rights of citizens.
Maele also said that such a move will mean that the government will also be legitimised to regulate the personal investments of nationals such as in the equity market as well as livestock.
MARUJE II WANTS CONSTITUTIONAL REVIEW
Kgosi Maruje had called for a constitutional overhaul to curb a scourge where only a select few of the rich appropriate tracts of tribal land from disadvantaged citizens condemned to the bread line.
Speaking at the House of Chiefs on Tuesday, shoring up a motion tabled by Kgosi Mmirwa Malema of Bobirwa , Maruje said it was time Minister of Lands and Housing got another perspective on the land question.
Maruje said that Botswana has to amend its constitution to provide for the land quota system as it is a national fundamental basis, to make it compatible with the modern environment as the subsequent government Acts and policies all draw root from it.
He said, “Batswana are losing their fundamental basis where we extract our minerals and socialise as a people at blinding speed.”
In his assessment it is even more saddening is that it is near impossible to gauge the scale of the phenomenon since statistics on the subject matter are hard to come by.
The emotive Kgosi Maruje proclaimed how he detests the current state of affairs, before continuing painting a melancholic land picture saying he struggled to find sleep after analysing the Lesetedi Commission report which shows that Batswana are trailing on a miserable retrogressive trance where only aristocrats and foreign nationals individually have hundreds of plots to their names, dispossessed from impoverished Batswana.
“Batswana are literally killing themselves; Batswana have become their own worst enemies.” The youthful Kgosi lamented, saying the craze of land speculation will come back to haunt Batswana as real estate should be leveraged for self-empowerment and unlocking opportunities.
Masunga said the consumerism patterns of the capitalist system as shown in the Lesetedi Commission report baffled him as Batswana are on a virulent drive of land speculation albeit for feeble reasons, some doing it only to hold cash in their hands.
Kgosi Maruje said the clash of the grinding consumerism patterns with the capitalist system results in those with the means controlling the processes and abusing loopholes where people erect structures on plots predetermined for the market, an eyehole into the inside of the naked system he said should be closed.
He further said that the current laws do not address the security situation of the nation and that deliberate and unique policies that work for the country must be instituted, lest it become overrun by foreign nationals, chiding that people do not normally rumble when limitations are inserted in security issues as he believes the first allocation of land to citizens must not be sold or even repossessed.
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The curtain came down at the PAP session with pomp and FUNFAIR
It was pomp and funfair at the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) on March 18 as the African Cultural Music and Dance Association (ACUMDA) brought the curtains down on the PAP session with a musical performance.
The occasion was the celebration of the Pan-African Parliament Day (PAP Day) which commemorated the inauguration of the first Parliament of the PAP on 18 March 2004 at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The celebrations took place at the seat of the Parliament in Midrand to “reflect on the journey” as the institution turns 19. The event sought to retrace the origin and context of the establishment of the PAP.
The celebrations included musical performances by ACUMDA and a presentation by Prof. Motshekga Mathole of the Kara Heritage Institute on “Whither Pan-Africanism, African Culture, and Heritage.”
The PAP Day was officially launched in 2021 to educate citizens about the Continental Parliament and ignite conversations about its future in line with its mandate.
The establishment of the PAP among the AU organs signalled a historical milestone and the most important development in the strengthening of the AU institutional architecture. It laid solid groundwork for democratic governance and oversight within the African Union system and provided a formal “platform for the peoples of Africa to get involved in discussions and decision-making on issues affecting the continent.”
The genesis of the PAP can be legally traced back to 1991 with the adoption of the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community, adopted on June 3, 1991, in Abuja (also known as the Abuja Treaty). This treaty defined the pillars and grounds for realizing economic development and integration in Africa and called for the creation of a continental parliament, among a set of other organs, as tools for the realization of African integration and economic development. This call was reemphasized in the Sirte Declaration of 1999, which called for the accelerated implementation of the provisions of the Abuja Treaty.
PAP celebrated its ten years of existence in March 2014, a year which coincided with the adoption, on June 27, 2014, in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, of the Protocol to the Constitutive Act of the African Union relating to the Pan-African Parliament (PAP Malabo Protocol), which, once in force, will transform the PAP into a legislative body of the AU. It requires a minimum of 28 countries to ratify it before it comes into force.
Therefore, the commemoration of PAP Day serves as a reminder to the decision-makers around the continent to fulfil their commitment to the PAP by ratifying its Protocol, 19 years after sanctioning its establishment. 14 AU member states have so far ratified the Malabo Protocol.
The celebrations of PAP Day coincided with the closing ceremony of the sitting of the PAP Permanent Committees and other organs. The Sitting took place in Midrand, South Africa under the AU theme for 2023, “Accelerating the implementation of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)” from 6 to 17 March 2023.
PAP President, H.E. Chief Fortune Charumbira, expressed appreciation to members for their commitment during the two-week engagement.
“We have come to the end of our program, and it is appropriate that we end on a high note with the PAP Day celebrations.
“We will, upon your return to your respective countries, ensure that the work achieved over the past two weeks is transmitted to the national level for the benefit of our citizens,” concluded H.E. Chief Charumbira.
PAP needs to priorities land issues-Prof Mathole
Prof Motshekga Mathole of the Kara Heritage Institute has advised the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) to prioritise the land issue in the continent if they are to remain relevant.
He said this while addressing the Plenary during the commemoration of PAP Day held at the PAP Chambers in Midrand, South Africa
The PAP Day was officially launched in 2021 to commemorate the inauguration of the first Parliament on 18 March 2004 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Intended as a platform for people of all African states to be involved in discussions and decision-making on problems and challenges facing the continent.
In a speech titled “Whither Pan-Africanism, African Culture, and Heritage,” Prof Mathole stated that for PAP to remain relevant, it must address the continent’s key land dilemma, which he feels is the core cause of all problems plaguing the continent
“If this Parliament is to be taken seriously, ownership of land and natural resources must be prioritized at the national and continental levels. Africans are not poor; they are impoverished by imperialist nations that continue to hold African land and natural resources,” said Prof Mathole.
“When African leaders took power from colonialists, they had to cope with poverty, unemployment, and other issues, but they ignored land issues. That is why Africa as a whole is poor today. Because our land and minerals are still in the hands of colonizers, Africa must rely on Ukraine for food and Europe for medical.”
Prof Mathole believes that the organization of the masses is critical as cultural revolution is the only solution to Africa’s most problems.
“We need a cultural revolution for Africa, and that revolution can only occur if the masses and people are organized. First, we need a council of African monarchs since they are the keepers of African arts, culture, and heritage. We need an African traditional health practitioners council because there is no ailment on the planet that cannot be healed by Africans; the only problem is that Africans do not harvest and process their own herbs,” he said.
Meanwhile, PAP President, H.E. Hon Chief Fortune Charumbira expressed satisfaction with the commitment displayed throughout the two-week period and said the PAP Day celebrations were befitting curtains down to the august event.
“On this high note of our two-week engagement, it is appropriate that we close our program on a high note with PAP celebrations, and I would like to thank everyone for your commitment, and please continue to be committed,” said H.E Hon Chief Charumbira.
PAP’s purpose as set out in Article 17 of the African Union Constitutive Act, is “to ensure the full participation of African people in the development and economic integration of the continent”. As it stands, the mandate of the Parliament extends to consultation and playing an advisory and oversight role for all AU organs pending the ratification protocol.
Also known as the Malabo Protocol, the Protocol to the consultative act of the AU relating to the PAP was adopted at the Assembly of Heads of State and Government summit in June 2014 and is intended to extend the powers of the PAP into a fully-fledged legislative organ. It requires a minimum of 28 countries to ratify it before it comes into force.
The commemoration of the PAP Day, therefore, serves as a reminder to the decision-makers around the continent to fulfil their commitment to the PAP by ratifying its Protocol, 17 years after sanctioning its establishment. 14 AU member states have so far ratified the Malabo Protocol.
The PAP Day commemoration also aims to educate citizens about the PAP and ignite conversations about the future of the continental Parliament in line with its mandate.
DPP drops Kably threat to kill case
The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Chief Whip and Member of Parliament for Letlhakeng/Lephephe Liakat Kably has welcomed the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP)’s decision not to prosecute BDP councillor, Meshack Tshenyego who allegedly threatened to kill him. However, the legislator has warned that should anything happen to his life, the state and the courts will have to account.
In an interview with this publication, Kablay said he has heard that the DPP has declined to prosecute Tshenyego in a case in which he threatened to kill him adding that the reasons he received are that there was not enough evidence to prosecute. “I am fine and at peace with the decision not to prosecute over evidential deficits but I must warn that should anything happen to my life both the DPP and the Magistrate will have to account,” Kablay said.
Connectedly, Kably said he has made peace with Tshenyego, “we have made peace and he even called me where upon we agreed to work for the party and bury the hatchet”.
The DPP reportedly entered into a Nolle Prosequi in the matter, meaning that no action would be taken against the former Letlhakeng Sub-district council chairperson and currently councillor for Matshwabisi.
According to the charge sheet before the Court, councilor Tshenyego on July 8th, 2022 allegedly threatened MP Kably by indirectly uttering the following words to nominatedcouncilor Anderson Molebogi Mathibe, “Mosadi wa ga Liakat le ban aba gagwe ba tsile go lela, Mosadi wame le banake le bone ba tsile go lela. E tla re re mo meeting, ka re tsena meeting mmogo, ke tla mo tlolela a bo ke mmolaya.”
Loosely translated this means, Liakat’s wife and children are going to shed tears and my wife and kids will shed tears too. I will jump on him and kill him during a meeting.
Mathibe is said to have recorded the meeting and forwarded it to Kably who reported the matter to the police.
In a notice to the Magistrate Court to have the case against Tshenyego, acting director of Public Prosecutions, Wesson Manchwe cited the nolle prosequi by the director of public prosecution in terms of section 51 A (30) of the Constitution and section 10 of the criminal procedure and evidence act (CAP 08:02) laws of Botswana as reasons for dropping the charges.
A nolle prosequi is a formal notice of abandonment by a plaintiff or prosecutor of all or part of a suit or action.
“In pursuance of my powers under section 51 A (300 of the Constitution and section 10 of the criminal procedure and evidence act (CAP 08:02) laws of Botswana, I do hereby stop and discontinue criminal proceedings against the accused Meshack Tshenyego in the Kweneng Administrative District, CR.No.1077/07/2022 being the case of the State vs Tshenyego,” said Manchwe. The acting director had drafted the notice dropping the charges on 13th day of March 2023.
The case then resumed before the Molepolole Magistrate Solomon Setshedi on the 14th of March 2023. The Magistrate issued an order directing “that matters be withdrawn with prejudice to the State, accused is acquitted and discharged.”