AFROBAROMETER STUDY: Batswana want President Lt Gen Ian Khama to justify his policies in parliament. They have also expressed low confi dence on the country’s judiciary. A recent study by the Afro Barometer also indicates that Batswana are concerned about ‘growing corruption’.
Most Batswana say that President Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama and officials in his office are corrupt. At least seventy percent of the population hold that opinion, according to a new study by the Afro Barometer.
Batswana who were interviewed by the researchers who include Professors from the University of Botswana indicated that this perception has been growing steadily since Khama took over power from former President, Festus Mogae in 2008.
The study indicates that in 2008, forty-one percent of Batswana thought that the president and officials in his office were corrupt and the figure increased to sixty-one percent in 2012. Fast forward to 2014, the figures have gone up to seventy-percent.
Similarly majority of the population believe that state institution are involved in corruption including the Police, Botswana Unified Revenues Services (BURS), the Judiciary, Members of Parliament and Councillors.
Meanwhile the study further revealed that most Batswana want the country’s President to appear before Parliament every now and then to account for his policies and actions.
According to the study which was released in Gaborone on Thursday evening, eighty four percent of the country’s population want the President to start attending Parliament so that other members of the house who represent different political constituencies can ask him questions.
“The President is a member of the National Assembly entitled to speak and vote in Parliament. However, the constitution of Botswana is silent on whether the President should appear before Parliament to justify his policies or not. How else does he account when he does not appear before Parliament! He does address kgotla meetings, sit around the fire with elders and rarely addresses press conferences,” explained Professor Mpho Molomo who presented the report.
Even though the President is not directly elected by the people, he has extensive powers and the people believe he is therefore bound to account for his office. This Molomo, believe would be a good practice for democracy as accountability is one of the pillars of democratic governance.
“Accountability and transparency are the fundamental pillars of any functioning democracy that require officials to be open and responsible for their actions and failures. But the same document vests sweeping executive powers on the President to amongst others, make key appointments and decide alone without consulting anybody,” Molomo added.
On some occasions, the President absents himself from Parliamentary proceedings, sparking debate that he undermines the institution of Parliament and suggestions that he should answer questions from Members of parliament as it is done in other democracies like South Africa where the President is required by law to answer questions in the National Assembly at least four times a year.
However the study further revealed that most Batswana do not feel obliged to hold elected officials in checks for performance of their jobs.
Although the researchers are of the view that voters should have power to recall incompetent leaders in an ideal democratic set up, in Botswana the powers are limited to elections term when voters can technically remove incompetent leaders from office.
“Even then, mediocre leaders may still return to office by winning elections or through Presidential special elections dispensation. Only one third of Batswana see it as the responsibility of voters to ensure that once elected, MPs do their jobs. This is a decrease of nine percent points from 2012. A larger proportion assigns this responsibility to the President,” the report reads in part.
The Afro Barometer is an Africa led, non- partisan research project that measures countries social, political and economic atmosphere. It has been doing so since 1999. The latest results covered 1 200 adults from all over the country and according to the researchers who are housed by the University of Botswana, the nationally representative sample yields a margin error of around three percent and a confidence level of about ninety-five percent.
Over 2,000 civil servants in the public sector have been interdicted for a variety of reasons, the majority of which are criminal in nature.
According to reports, some officers have been under interdiction for more than two years because such matters are still being investigated. Information reachingÂ WeekendPostÂ shows that local government, particularly councils, has the highest number of suspended officers.
In its annual report, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) revealed that councils lead in corrupt activities throughout the country, and dozens of council employees are being investigated for alleged corrupt activities. It is also reported that disciplined forces, including the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), police, and prisons, and the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) have suspended a significant number of officers.
The Ministry of Education and Skills Development has also recorded a good number of teachers who have implicated in love relationships with students, while some are accused of impregnating students both in primary and secondary school. Regional education officers have been tasked to investigate such matters and are believed to be far from completion as some students are dragging their feet in assisting the investigations to be completed.
This year, Mmadinare Senior Secondary reportedly had the highest number of pregnancies, especially among form five students who were later forcibly expelled from school. Responding to this publicationâ€™s queries, Permanent Secretary to the Office of the President Emma Peloetletse said, â€śas you might be aware, I am currently addressing public servants across the length and breadth of our beautiful republic. Due to your detailed enquiry, I am not able to respond within your schedule,â€ť she said.
She said some of the issues raised need verification of facts, some are still under investigation while some are still before the courts of law.
Meanwhile, it is close to six months since the Police Commissioner Keabetwe Makgophe, Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katlholo and the Deputy Director of the DIS Tefo Kgothane were suspended from their official duties on various charges.
Efforts to solicit comment from trade unions were futile at the time of going to press.
Some suspended officers who opted for anonymity claimed that they have close to two years while on suspension. One stated that the investigations that led him to be suspended have not been completed.
â€śIt is heartbreaking that at this time the investigations have not been completed,â€ť he toldÂ WeekendPost, adding that â€śwhen a person is suspended, they get their salary fully without fail until the matter is resolvedâ€ť.
Makgophe, Katlholo and Kgothane are the three most high-ranking government officials that are under interdiction.
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.
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.