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IEC wants divorce from Presidency

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and other stakeholders have recommended that there should be direct election of the President so as to usher in a President who is popularly and democratically elected among other recommended reforms.


In its National stakeholder’s evaluation report for 2014 general elections, the IEC contends that the direct election of the President would enhance the country’s democracy.


“Currently, the President is not directly elected, yet wields extensive powers and this is not in the interest of consolidating our democracy,” the reports reads in part.


The stakeholders further wants the date of elections which is currently dictated by the sitting President to be entrenched into the country’s constitution to promote a fair playing field for all political parties.


Currently the President of the ruling party is the only one who decides on the date of elections. This IEC said gives an advantage to the ruling party.


“This is to avert a scenario where the country’s President, who is also president of a political party, has exclusive knowledge of the date and may share it with his party to prepare ahead of political competitors,” further reads the recommendations.


Another area that the stakeholders believe needs attention is the delimitation exercise which they strongly contended that it has to be completely vested with the IEC and not the delimitation Commission, which many believe is usually influenced by the ruling party.

The stakeholders are of the view that the delimitation exercise should involve political parties more. It was also argued that the IEC should engage political parties in the demarcation of ward boundaries until the end of the process to ensure openness.


“It was felt that the delimitation exercise was completed too close to the past general election and this disenfranchised parties as they had to contend with redrawn boundaries within a short period of time,” the report further stated.


This, it stated led to political party events calendars being compromised. The recommendation therefore was that, the delimitation exercise be completed at least two years before registration for the next elections begins.


Although stakeholders were of the view that the process of drawing boundaries be upheld, they suggested that there be special consideration to reduce the huge distance covered by some council wards.


The Stakeholders further felt that Botswana should review the Electoral Act to include proportional representation or a hybrid of proportional representation and the current past the post electoral system. Through the adoption of this, the system would be made to have a fairer reflection on the popular vote in the distribution of numbers of Parliamentarians in the legislature.


It was also recommended that the country’s constitution must express the independence of the IEC.


“Stakeholders conceded that currently the IEC conducts credible elections and exercises some independence and fairness. Despite this, there were fears that unless such independence is clearly stipulated in the constitution, it is possible for a government in future to thwart the independence of the IEC.


On the issue of qualifications, stakeholders overwhelmingly thought that educational qualifications should not be screening criteria for elected public office.  “This would deny potentially good leaders a chance to lead their people, rather it should be left to the people to elect those who are more educated if they so wish, and it was argued that educational qualification does not necessarily make a person a good leader.”

Stakeholders also cautioned against the use of civil servants as returning officers because this could affect service delivery.


Dissolution of Councils was another area of concern. It was recommended that councils should not be dissolved in a similar manner and time as Parliament for the general election. Stakeholders argued that councils serve communities and when you dissolve them for elections; the communities will suffer given that they help communities until midnight on Election Day. “In the interest of Service delivery they should not be dissolved.”  


Stakeholders also proposed that continuous registration be continued as it gives an opportunity to more people to register to vote.

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Gov’t shy to shame failing ministers

22nd February 2021
Morwaeng

Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng together with Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Elias Magosi, this week refused to name and shame the worst performing Ministries and to disclose the best performing Ministries since beginning of 12th parliament including the main reasons for underperformance.

Of late there have been a litany of complaints from both ends of the aisle with cabinet members accused of providing parliament with unsatisfactory responses to the questions posed. In fact for some Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers a meeting with the ministers and party leadership is overdue to address their complaints. Jwaneng-Mabutsane MP, Mephato Reatile is also not happy with ministers’ performance.

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Bokamoso, Gov’t in P10M womb removal suit

22nd February 2021
Bokamoso

Bokamoso Private Hospital is battling a P10 million legal suit for a botched fibroids operation which resulted in a woman losing an entire womb and her prospects of bearing children left at zero.

The same suit has also befallen the Attorney General of Botswana who is representing the Ministry of Health and Wellness for their contributory negligence of having the unlawful removal of a patient, Goitsemang Magetse’s womb.

According to the court papers, Magetse says that sometimes in November 2019, she was diagnosed with fibroids at Marina Hospital where upon she was referred to Bokamoso Private Hospital to schedule an appointment for an operation to remove the fibroids, which she did.

Magetse continues that at the instance of one Dr Li Wang, the surgeon who performed the operation, and unknown to her, an operation to remove her whole womb was conducted instead.
According to Magetse, it was only through a Marina Hospital regular check-up that she got to learn that her whole womb has been removed.

“At the while she was under the belief that only her fibroids have been removed. By doing so, the hospital has subjected itself to some serious delictual liability in that it performed a serious and life changing operation on patient who was under the belief that she was doing a completely different operation altogether. It thus came as a shock when our client learnt that her womb had been removed, without her consent,” said Magetse’s legal representatives, Kanjabanga and Associates in their summons.

The letter further says, “this is an infringement of our client‘s rights and this infringement has dire consequences on her to the extent that she can never bear children again”. ‘It is our instruction therefore, to claim as we hereby do, damages in the sum of BWP 10,000,000 (ten million Pula) for unlawful removal of client’s womb,” reads Kanjabanga Attorneys’ papers. The defendants are yet to respond to the plaintiff’s papers.

What are fibroids?

Fibroids are tumors made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They develop in the uterus. It is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of women will develop fibroids in their lifetime — however, not everyone will develop symptoms or require treatment.

The most important characteristic of fibroids is that they’re almost always benign, or noncancerous. That said, some fibroids begin as cancer — but benign fibroids can’t become cancer. Cancerous fibroids are very rare. Because of this fact, it’s reasonable for women without symptoms to opt for observation rather than treatment.

Studies show that fibroids grow at different rates, even when a woman has more than one. They can range from the size of a pea to (occasionally) the size of a watermelon. Even if fibroids grow that large, we offer timely and effective treatment to provide relief.

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Masisi warned against a sinking Botswana

22nd February 2021
Ndaba GAolatlhe

The Alliance for Progressives (AP) President Ndaba Gaolathe has said that despite major accolades that Botswana continues to receive internationally with regard to the state of economy, the prospects for the future are imperilled.

Delivering his party Annual Policy Statement on Thursday, Gaolathe indicated that Botswana is in a state of do or die, and that the country’s economy is on a sick bed. With a major concern for poverty, Gaolathe pointed out that almost half of Botswana’s people are ravaged by or are about to sink into poverty.  “Our young people have lost the fire to dream about what they could become,” he said.

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