Edwin Batshu wants AG to rule on the un/constitutionality of the law
The Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Edwin Batshu has summoned the attorney general,Athaliah Molokomme to rule on the constitutionality or unconstitutionality of the new amendment bill that seeks to increase registration of church membership from 10 to 250 members.
The proposed bill had offended the body of evangelical churches,Evangelical Fellowship of Botswana who later decided to petition Minister Batshu to explain his intentions about the bill.The churches are of the view that ammending the Societies Act in that manner will infringe on the fundamental freedoms of religion and association among other reasons.
The churches have written a letter to the Minister requesting a meeting.
In an interview with this publication this week, Batshu revealed that he has not yet met the delegation owing to a couple of challenges and some issues,at the forefront of which is the Minister still awaiting the Attorney general’s intervention on the issue. “As you may be aware the churches had raised a couple of constitutional questions and i saw it fit to engage the principal legal advisor to the government on the issue before arranging a meeting with the complainants,” Batshu said.
This according to the Minister is to afford himself an opportunity to give the churches informed feedback that would leave all parties satisfied.The Minister could not share the timelines he expects the attorney general to have responded.
The reasons behind the government’s decision for the bill was the mushrooming of churches, which has over the years seen many church members swindled of their hard earned money by would-be preachers. In addition, government states that the requirement of registering only 10 people proved easy for many people to form a church only for it to eventually fall apart.
It is not clear what the attorney general‘s advice or response will be on the matter and what effect it will have on the proposed legislation. Churches say such a law is likely to breed lawsuits by future registrants who will under frustrations resort to take the court route. The government is on the other hand convinced that the legislation is the panacea to the ailing religious world.
Meanwhile WeekendPost has established that the government has also committed itself to root out irritant elements in various fields like churches and businesses among many others. Batshu said the government is enforcing strict measures to make sure that Batswana do not undeservedly compete with anyone. “We will as a result not be renewing anyone’s residence or work permits if it would mean Batswana having a difficult time to access the limited job or business market,” he said.
The churches have been attending indoor meetings with the president and the Minister with an intention of remedying matters of spirituality in the country and mapping the way forward. They have, in a meeting with the president proposed a religious council, which will be the overseer of religious matters in Botswana. This was to protect the government not to appear to be regulating churches or religious bodies.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.