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.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.