Botswana Council of Non Governmental Organisations (BOCONGO) has recommended that the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) be removed from Office of the president and be directly accountable to parliament.
Currently DCEC is directly accountable to the Office of the President.
A pronouncement by President Lt. Gen. Ian Khama in 2012 led to the transfer of both DCEC and Directorate of Intelligence Security Services (DISS) from the ambit of Minister of Defence, Justice and Security to the auspices of Office of the President under blurred circumstances.
“We should continue to debate that independence of directorates of corruption should be accountable to Parliament and not Ministries of Justice,” BOCONGO Executive Director Bagaisi Mabilo pointed out this week during a corruption workshop on “Civil Society’s role in combating corruption across commonwealth Africa.”
According to the umbrella body of NGO’s when the DCEC reports directly to parliament, they would provide for an environment of vigorous monitoring through independent reviews.
Meanwhile, BOCONGO stated that the reality that we must also acknowledge is that given all of the institutional, operational/administrative and governance issues, Botswana continues to experience levels of corruption big and small.
“While recognizing the significant efforts of the Government of Botswana to diversify Corruption Prevention through DCEC, reporting administrative inefficiencies through Ombudsman, and project monitoring through NSO, we must acknowledge and embrace our situation where we have increasing number of corruption reports, and a general lack of understanding and organized community role and action against corruption.”
Furthermore the BOCONGO Executive Secretary highlighted that even though the world wide ranking of the government’s ability to provide sound policies and regulations and Botswana is commended for having an exemplary policy framework and good policies, they are concerned as civil society that implementation of these policies falls short of their expectations as Batswana.
She added that: “and to site these without pin pointing the actual case studies we have delays in implementing law changes, we have on paper good policies that look like they could work and in practice are implemented in counterproductive manner.”
She said Botswana has a project oriented Monitoring & Evaluation approach to development projects adding that there was limited periodic documented ministerial monitoring information published and placed in the public domain, and this in turn led to challenges with updated data availability to enable them to populate performance indicators and inform policy.
In addition she pointed out that there was no Freedom of Information Act that allows for ease of access to information leading to a limited access to public sector, Civil Society Organisations and private sector institutional strategies to mainstream corruption prevention.
Mabilo also noted that, most critically they have a civil society in Botswana that does not have adequate resources and expertise to play its primary role in Corruption Prevention.
“We have a CSO that does not have the capacity to review and contribute to the UNCAC National Reports due to lack of capacity in this area; and we do not have a CSO that is producing shadow reports on the UNCAC,” she decried.
She further bemoaned that that the country lacked a civil society that has fully appreciated the SADC Protocol Against Corruption (SPAC) nor tracking government performance on implementation of SPAC.
President Mokgweetsi Masisi has taken a stern but unpopular decision within the August House by putting to an end a hefty P403, 200 monthly budget directed towards legislators’ housing allowance.
Since the beginning of the 12th Parliament in November 2019, MPs have been staying in rented spaces. At first they were lodged at Avani hotel and a whooping P6, 2 million was paid by government for accommodation and meals for Members of Parliament and their spouses from October 31, to December 20, 2019.
Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Dr Thapelo Matsheka could be forced to provide a detailed explanation to a number of Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers who are not impressed with Government expenditure for the 2020/21 financial year.
The unconvinced lot smell a rat and suggest that the Minister should furnish them with all the balance sheets for all the procurements and reports of all the transactions carried out by government from April 2020. This is so because within them, there is an air of disbelief in relation to the use of national funds by the powers that be.
The Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) is adamant that opposition coalition, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), will resolve the existing differences in the party leadership, despite fears that the wrangling will dissuade other opposition parties from joining forces.
However, sources from the BPF have indicated that, with or without the UDC the party is determined to move forward and carry on with its mandate. “UDC internal fights need to be resolved, the sooner the better. If they carry on they might cost us in the upcoming elections.”