Land Board overrules presidential pardon
Tsolamosese residents calls for dissolution of the Landboards
Kweneng Land Board and Mogoditshane sub Land Board are acting in concert to override a decision by President Lt. Gen Ian Khama through the presidential pardon of 2008 which absolved the squatters of Gaborone and surrounding areas, in particular Tsolamosese, Mogoditshane and Nkoyaphiri from demolition of their presumed unlawful residence.
Weekend Post has established that since the presidential pardon, many of the residents were not compensated for the land which was repossessed by the Land boards. According to the presidential pardon, Khama recommended that some residents should pay the Land board P5 000 and others P10 000, depending on their individual cases, in order to comply with the absolution.
The pardon is consistent with the Tribal Land Act, section 39, which states that: “any person who acquires or takes occupation of any tribal land without an appropriate lease or certificate issued by the land board concerned, shall be liable to a fine of P10 000.”
However indications suggest that Kweneng Land board and Mogoditshane sub land board are refusing to accept the fee from the affected residents, and in some cases, some have paid but are yet to be allocated by the land boards. The Tsolamosese and Nkoyaphiri residents maintained to this publication that the land boards also flouted the Kgabo Commission report which absolved some of them from any wrong-doing.
This publication has also gathered that some residents were allocated by Dikgosi (chiefs) in the past and therefore do not possess customary land certificates which are presented as evidence to claim ownership of the land. “We were not allocated plots by the Land boards and therefore have no certificates and some of us bought the land from other people,” one of the residents said.
The land board had however in some instances also demolished some squatters, and later Englishman Kgabo, who chaired the Kgabo commission was roped in to investigate the then alleged land maladministration.
The Kgabo Commission had recommended that those who unlawfully safeguarded plots for themselves should be evicted (and others were ejected) or if such plots were well developed they should be allowed to settle (depending on the jurisdiction of the judicial officer).
Some residents blame the Land boards especially after the latter assured them that those who were on the Kgabo Commission report would not be affected by the demolition. Tsolamosese residents have fought tooth and nail at the High Court with the Ministry of Lands but their efforts drew blanks.
WeekendPost has gathered that the Land board is said to be tapping on the loophole – whereby some residents do not possess land certificates – while not complying with both the Khama pardon and Kgabo commission reports.
“We are the victims of the Kgabo commission, and later we were pardoned by President Khama with a P10 000 fee and others P5 000 for the Land boards to provide us with certificates to the land, and, now the Kweneng Land Board and Mogoditshane sub Land Board want to ignore this presidential pardon – as this is not being implemented as such,” stated a resident of Nkoyaphiri who preferred anonymity in the highly explosive and sensitive land matter.
In a kgotla meeting at Tsolamosese addressed by Member of Parliament for Gabane Mmankgodi Major General Pius Mokgware on Wednesday, some residents called for the dissolution of the two land boards. “There seems to be a lot of corruption at Mogoditshane and Kweneng Land boards and they should be dissolved with immediate effect,” a fuming resident told the kgotla meeting.
He emphasised that some residents who applied after 2000 are already allocated and therefore by-passing those who applied as far back as the early 90’s. He rhetorically asked about the procedure of electing land boards: “who elects them and who are they accountable to?” The two land board officials failed to turn up at the kgotla meetings although they were invited by the Mmankgodi / Manyana constituency office thereby sparking anger among the agitated residents.
Efforts of soliciting comment from the Kweneng Land Board hit a snag as the secretary was said to be on leave while Deputy Land Board secretary Vincent Sekano and Public Relations officer Simon Paledi were yet to respond to Weekend Post inquiries at press at the time of going to press.
It is not the first time the land board finds itself being pitted against the wall for questionable land dealings, in the early 90’s the then Vice president Peter Mmusi set up a commission of inquiry in reaction to a litany of objections about the performance of land boards and impropriety regarding land allocation in Mogoditshane and other peri-urban villages.
Although the Kgabo commission then implicated Peter Mmusi and the then Minister of Agriculture (and Botswana Democratic Party Secretary General) Daniel Kwelagobe for illegally acquiring land in Mogoditshane, a certain piece of land in Nkoyaphiri- they were later absolved by the courts of law.
Meanwhile Minister of Lands and Housing Prince Maele on Thursday told another kgotla meeting at Gabane that he will dispatch a select team to address the grievances as a result of Kgabo commission and flouting presidential pardon, including other concerns raised by the residents. He assured the residents to have addressed the matter within six months.
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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.”