The Botswana Evangelist Fellowship of Botswana (EFB) has welcomed the decision by Government to appeal the decision of the High Court to allow the Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) to legally register their organization with the Registrar of Societies.
The appeal follows EFB’s recent lobby to government to appeal the matter as they viewed the judgment “as injurious to godly norms, values, priceless principles, and indeed relegation of the Christian norms and Tswana customs to the peripheries.”
In addition, Member of Parliament for Tati West Pastor Biggie Butale had also urged the Minister to appeal the court decision. “I hope this is not the beginning of gay parades where grown men with hideous beards kiss in public and other un-wholesome demands,” Butale said last year when deliberating on the State of the Nation Address.
Government through the Attorney General had already filed appeal papers. The move follows an earlier High Court decision that ruled that LEGABIBO should be allowed to lawfully register with the department of Civil and National Registration under the auspices of Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs.
Consequently, the umbrella church organisation contended that ordering the registration of LEGABIBO whose objective is to advocate for recognition and protection of homosexuality is a hammer to the society’s moral conscience. They added that the judgment is likely to cause a spin in an acceleration of moral deterioration and moral bankruptcy which will add to the already burden of lawlessness and social ills bedeviling the society.
As a result EFB is relieved that government appealed the matter. When reacting to the appeal this week EFB President Pastor Master Obololetswe Matlhaope told this publication that they believe the Honourable Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Edwin Batshu acted within his discretion and thoughtful judgment.
“First and foremost, we believe that the Minister as an independent man who is guided by the Executive arm of government acted within his discretion and thoughtful judgment,” Pastor Matlhaope pointed out.
The EFB leader said that the government’s decision to appeal the judgment shows that the Minister was guided by strong convictions in refusing the registration. “He is within his right to pursue those convictions,” he lamented. According to Matlhaope, the landmark High Court case was a review of the Minister’s administrative decision.
“As the EFB we believe the Minister’s decision represents the aspirations of Batswana and as such we whole heartedly support the appeal. Our country is at a point of moral quagmire, Batswana and even our State President is concerned, and we thence uphold it in prayer before the Almighty.”
Meanwhile, LEGABIBO Coordinator Anna Mmolai-Chalmers confirmed that “indeed the Government of Botswana through the Attorney General’s Chamber has appealed a decision made by the courts to register LEGABIBO to grant the organisation freedom of expression and association.”
She asserted that: “Although we acknowledge that any party to court proceedings has the right to appeal a decision to the Court of Appeal, we wish to state that we are disappointed that the government has decided to lodge an appeal, especially after international bodies such as the UN special rapporteur on Freedom of Association, has lauded the High Court judgment.”
She said LEGABIBO has of course instructed its attorneys to oppose the appeal. LEGABIBO legal representation through Dow and Associates firm are handling the matter. The matter is in the court's hands, we therefore welcome the opportunity for the Court of Appeal to deliberate on this important issue, she highlighted.
The EFB supports the appeal as it tests the assertions of LEGABIBO with the highest court in the land, EFB leader said.
The controversial but outspoken EFB was founded in 1973 by nine Pentecostal and evangelical churches. Originally led by Rev. Makhaola, then General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God in Botswana, it has grown over the years and now has over 35 members. The EFB is a member of the Association of Evangelicals in Africa, the World Evangelical Fellowship and the Botswana Council of NGOs.
Their mission is to impact the nation with the sound gospel of Jesus Christ and to unite and empower members to achieve this goal, being relevant to the socio-economic-political needs of the nation and they envision a whole Botswana holistically reached through combined and coordinated efforts of the evangelical church by 2016.
The P250 million National Petroleum Fund (NPF) saga that has been before court since 2017 seems to be losing its momentum with a high possibility of it being thrown out as defence lawyers unmask incompetency on the part of the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP).
The Gaborone High Court this week ruled that the decision by the State to prosecute Justice Zein Kebonang and his twin brother, Sadique Kebonang has been reviewed and set aside. The two brothers have now been cleared of the charges that where laid against them three years ago.
The United States (US) will on the 3rd of November 2020 chose between incumbent Donald Trump of the Republicans and former Vice President Joe Biden of the Democrats amid the coronavirus pandemics, which has affected how voting is conducted in the world’s biggest economy.
Trump (74) seeks re-election after trouncing Hillary Clinton in 2016, while Biden (77) is going for his first shot as Democratic nominee after previous unsuccessful spells.
US Presidents mostly succeed in their re-election bid, but there have been nine individuals who failed to garner a second term mandate, the latest being George W H. Bush, a Republican who served as the 41st US President between 1989 and 1993.
Dr Mark Rozell, a Dean of the School of Policy and Government at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia describes the complex US electoral system that will deliver the winner at the 3rd November elections.
“The founders of our Republic de-centralised authority significantly in creating our constitutional system, which means that they gave an enormous amount of independent power and authority to State and local governments,” Dr Rozell told international media on Elections 2020 Virtual Reporting Tour.
Unlike parliamentary democracies, like Botswana the United States does not have all of the national government elected in one year. They do not have what is commonly called mandate elections where the entire federal government is elected all in one election cycle giving a “mandate” to a particular political party to lead, and instead US have what are called staggered elections, elections over time.
The two house Congress, members of the House of Representatives have two-year long terms of office. Every two years the entire House of Representatives is up for re-election, but senators serve for six years and one third of the Senate is elected every two years.
For this election cycle, US citizens will be electing the President and Vice
President, the entire House of Representatives and one third of the open or contested seats in the Senate, whereas two thirds are still fulfilling the remainder of their terms beyond this year.
An important facet of US electoral system to understand given the federalism nature of the republic, the US elect presidents State by State, therefore they do not have a national popular vote for the presidency.
“We have a national popular vote total that says that Hillary Clinton got three million more votes than Donald Trump or in Year 2000 that Al Gore got a half million more votes than George W. Bush, but we have what is called a State by State winner takes all system where each State is assigned a number of electors to our Electoral College and the candidate who wins the popular vote within each State takes 100 percent of the electors to the Electoral College,” explained Dr Rozell.
“And that is why mathematically, it is possible for someone to win the popular vote but lose the presidency.”
Dr Rozell indicated that in 2016, Hillary Clinton won very large popular majorities in some big population States like California, but the system allows a candidate to only have to win a State by one vote to win a 100 percent of its electors, the margin does not matter.
“Donald Trump won many more States by smaller margins, hence he got an Electoral College majority.”
Another interesting features by the way of US constitutional system, according to Dr Rozell, but extremely rare, is what is called the faithless elector.
“That’s the elector to the Electoral College who says, ‘I’m not going to vote the popular vote in my State, I think my State made a bad decision and I’m going to break with the popular vote,’’ Dr Rozell said.
“That’s constitutionally a very complicated matter in our federalism system because although the federal constitution says electors may exercise discretion, most States have passed State laws making it illegal for any elector to the Electoral College to break faith with the popular vote of that State, it is a criminal act that can be penalized if one is to do that. And we just had an important Supreme Court case that upheld the right of the states to impose and to enforce this restriction”
There are 538 electors at the Electoral College, 270 is the magic number, the candidate who gets 270 or more becomes President of the United States.
If however there are more candidates, and this happens extremely rarely, and a third candidate got some electors to the Electoral College denying the two major party candidates, either one getting a majority, nobody gets 270 or more, then the election goes to the House of Representatives and the House of Representatives votes among the top three vote getters as to who should be the next President.
“You’d have to go back to the early 19th century to have such a scenario, and that’s not going to happen this year unless there is a statistical oddity, which would be a perfect statistical tie of 269 to 269 which could happen but you can just imagine how incredibly unlikely that is,” stated Dr Rozell.
BLUE STATES vs RED STATES
Since the 2000 United States presidential election, red states and blue states have referred to states of the United States whose voters predominantly choose either the Republican Party (red) or Democratic Party (blue) presidential candidates.
Many states have populations that are so heavily concentrated in the Democratic party or the Republican party that there is really no competition in those states.
California is a heavily Democratic State, so is New York and Maryland. It is given that Joe Biden will win those states. Meanwhile Texas, Florida and Alabama are republicans. So, the candidates will spent no time campaigning in those states because it is already a given.
However there are swing states, where there is a competition between about five and 10 states total in each election cycle that make a difference, and that is where the candidates end up spending almost all of their time.
“So it ends up making a national contest for the presidency actually look like several state-wide contests with candidates spending a lot of time talking about State and local issues in those parts of the country,” said Dr Rozell.
High Commissioner of the Federal Government of Nigeria to Botswana, His Excellency Umar Zainab Salisu, has challenged President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi to move swiftly and lobby Africa’s richest man, Nigerian Billionaire, Aliko Dangote to invest in Botswana.
Speaking during a meeting with President Masisi at Office of President on Thursday Zainab Salisu said Dangote has expressed massive interest in setting up billion dollar industries in Botswana. “We have a lot of investors who wish to come and invest in Botswana , when we look at Botswana we don’t see Botswana itself , but we are lured by its geographic location , being in the centre of Southern Africa presents a good opportunity for strategic penetration into other markets of the region,” said Salisu.