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Post 2014 elections: What Batswana envision

Electoral reforms going into 2019 and beyond

Following the 2014 General Elections, Batswana have reflected and introspected in the electoral process and have thus proposed an array of electoral reforms for 2019 and beyond.

A recent draft report emanating from the national stakeholders evaluation workshop for the 2014 General Elections passed to the WeekendPost, has stated that Botswana’s electoral system needs to be reviewed and in particular the Electoral Act.

According to the report, the stakeholders strongly felt that the Act should be reviewed to include proportional representation or a hybrid of proportional representation and the current First Past the Post electoral system.

Through the adoption of the model (mixed), they contended, “the system would be made to have a fairer reflection of the popular vote in the distribution of numbers of parliamentarians in the legislature”.

There has been concern that FTPT favours the incumbency, as the popular vote does not reflect the number of Members of Parliament that the party has attained in the General elections. The ruling Botswana Democratic party attained 46% of the popular vote but its number of MP’s equate to 67% (excluding 4 specially elected members), which gives an unfair advantage to the opposition.

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

The stakeholders also recommended that the date of elections should be pre-determined and entrenched in the constitution of the republic. “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,” the report states.

On the adequacy of civic and voter education, stakeholders said there was need for robust public awareness and efficient information dissemination. They recommended that the IEC needed a serious program to teach people especially the young, on elections and how they are conducted.

However, they also said the impact and effectiveness of the communication and education campaigns should be monitored. There was a general concern that the previous election did not feature adequate public awareness and if there were budgetary issues then more money should be advanced as elections though expensive must never be compromised.

According to the report, stakeholders further advised that: “to make this mandatory, civic and voter education should be entrenched in the IEC Act. The IEC should have an officer in every constituency to educate people on elections and voter education be included in the school curriculum so people learn on the importance of elections while still young.”  

On election of the president, stakeholders strongly recommended that there should be a direct election of the president of the republic of Botswana. The justification was that it would usher in a popularly and democratically elected president. The president currently is not directly elected yet wields extensive powers and this is not in the interest consolidating democracy, according to the report.

On whether there should be minimum qualifications for one to run for public office, the stakeholders overwhelmingly thought educational qualifications should not be screening criteria for elected public office.

The stakeholders argued that educational qualification does not necessarily make a person a good leader. “This would deny potentially good leaders a chance to lead, it should rather be left to the voters if they so wish to elect someone on the basis of their education,” the report reads.

The stakeholders observed that the current legal framework does not provide for electronic registration and voting but it was critical to include such. “There should be a review of the legal frame work on elections in Botswana to include electronic voter registration and voting…as these will ‘expedite’ both registration and vote counting processes.”

They asserted that there is a compelling evidence of the success of e-registration and voting in South Africa and Namibia and therefore Botswana should consider the technology in the coming 2019 National Elections.

However, they highlighted that the introduction of such technology should only be done following widespread education of stakeholders and extensive research on their reliability in Botswana context.

This publication has established that the same recommendations keep recurring after every election and cabinet is yet to act on the suggestions.

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Masisi to dump Tsogwane?

28th November 2022

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.

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African DFIs gear to combat climate change

25th November 2022

The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.

Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa

A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.

COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”

According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.

“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”

Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”

Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.

Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.

“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.

For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.

“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.

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TotalEnergies Botswana launches Road safety campaign in Letlhakeng

22nd November 2022

Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.

The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ,   Patrick Thedi said,  “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”

As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders  will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.

Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele,  who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.

The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as  well as  bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.

TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050,  has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.

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