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Clash of laws lands AG in court again

ATTORNEY GENERAL: Athaliah Molokomme


The Attorney General (AG) and the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) are to appear before the High Court to explain why they have introduced an unconstitutional regulation that threatens citizens’ right to freedom of association.

Just a week after the AG was humiliated before the High Court over its failure to understand the Constitution vis-à-vis Parliamentary regulations, the country’s legal advisor has once again been accused of trying to manipulate the constitution, this time around by introducing a law that flies in the face of the country’s and international laws.

The regulation at the heart of the matter is the DCEC Act, which was introduced last year, ostensibly aimed at prohibiting DCEC staff members from joining trade unions.

The said section reads that, “An officer of the Directorate shall not become a member of any trade union, or anybody or association affiliated to a trade union, or anybody of association the object of which is to control or influence the conditions of employment in any trade or profession.”

The National Amalgamated, Local and Central Government and Parastatal Workers Union (NALCGPWU), whose members from the state agency resigned en masse, took the matter to court because it believes the newly introduced law triggered their resignations.

The DCEC management is said to have instructed and warned any staff member, who might have joined any trade union to resign their membership, as their continued association was a violation of the amended law.

Through court papers filed by Tshiamo Rantao of Rantao Kewagamang Attorneys, the union is of the view that the regulation is an “unreasonable limitation on DCEC employees’ right to organise” and that it is a violation of the Botswana Constitution, which provides for the right to association for every citizen.

The Constitution clearly states that, “Except with her or his consent no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his or her freedom of assembly and association. That is to say, his or her right to assemble freely and to associate with other persons and in particular to form or belong to trade unions or other associations for the protection of or her interests.”

The Public Service Act, of 2008, also allows every public service employee to join a trade union of their choice for the purpose of collective bargaining.  

Further, the position taken by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Committee of Experts and Committee on Freedom of Association support the country’s Constitution in regards to the freedom and association provisions.

However, the ILO makes the Armed Forces and the Police the only two exemptions from unionising, although with some limitations, civilian employees in these organs are allowed to unionise.

The DCEC, which comprisdes mostly former police detectives, amongst others, has made a blanket provision to prohibit all its employees, including, drivers and cleaners from joining unions.

The union, therefore, wants the High Court to declare the DCEC regulation in question “unconstitutional” and struck down.

However, the DCEC and the AG would go all the way to defend the provision. Although David Moloise of the Attorney General’s Chambers and his DCEC team failed to file their heads of argument this week, they have promised to do so by next week Friday.

The matter was postponed to next February to allow Government to file the necessary papers. The AG was ordered to pay the legal costs of the day.

This matter comes a week after the AG lost a High Court case in which it was challenging Parliament Standing Orders in regards to the election of the Speaker and deputy Speaker of Parliament and the endorsement of the Vice President.

The AG was seemingly in support of President Ian Khama who wanted Members of Parliament (MPs) to vote for their preferred candidates by the show of hand instead of secret ballot.

 Although the Parliamentary Standing Orders clearly stated that the voting would be done by secret ballot, the AG contended that the provision was unconstitutional.

However, the matter was ruled in favour of the Parliament Standing Orders.

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6th February 2023

After falling to close the gap on Arsenal by losing to a record breaking goal by Kane at the Tottenham stadium.Manchester City now find themselves being charged by the Premier League with more than 100 breaches of its financial rules following a four-year investigation.

According to BBC , it has referred the club to an independent commission over alleged rule breaches between 2009 and 2018 , and also that Man-city has not been co-operating since the investigation which started in 2018 .

BBC further states that The commission can impose punishment including a fine , points deduction and expelling the club from the Premier league.

The alleged breaches include ,  breaching rules for requiring full details of manager remuneration,from 2009-2010, to 2012-2013 seasons when Roberto Mancini was in charge . Also player remuneration between 2010-2011 and 2015-2016.

The Premier league stated that City breached rules related to UEFA regulations , including Financial Fair Play , from 2013-2014 to 2017-2018 ,as well as Premier League rules on profitability and sustainability from 2014-2016 to 2017-2018

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South Korean Embassy aids students living with disabilities

6th February 2023

South Korean Ambassador in South Africa has donated e-learning equipment through Botswana Red Cross Society (BRCS) to Tlamelong Rehabilitation Centre in Tlokweng recently, in a bid to fine tune the student’s textile skills.  

When talking at the handing over ceremony, Chull-Joo Park, said they agreed with BRCS to give out e-learning equipment to better the training skills of students living with disabilities.

“With the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) equipment and job training skills, we will be able to help the students living with disabilities to do e-learning and to better their education and job training,” said Chull-Joo Park.

It was revealed that the South Korean Embassy approached BRCS with the intent to donate equipment and educational material that includes an embroidery machine, photo copier machine, tablets and interactive boards to be utilized by the trainees.

The industrial printer is a machine that works with embroidery machine to print designs for clothing and it will enable the learners to have more material available to them to facilitate learning.

Through this embroidery machine, students will be exposed to better technologies which ultimately improve the quality of materials they produce. It will also allow students to learn business skills and run profitable ventures.

Smart board gadgets will provide the students with an elevated learning process to be fostered by e-learning. The gadgets provide a more visual element to the learning process, which in turn improves learner mental retention.

Tlamelong Rehabilitation serves the marginalized and underserved less privileged persons living with disability in Botswana. The center offers boarding services, vocational training, social services, physiotherapy and rehabilitation services for young people living disabilities aged 18-35 from across the country over a period of two (2) years per cohort which has a maximum intake capacity of 35. BRCS through International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have managed to create great working synergy with the South Korean Embassy in Pretoria based in South Africa to support or augment the National Society’s Rehabilitation Centre’s learning challenges.

For his part, BRSC Secretary General Kutlwano Mokokomani said they are delighted to convey their gratitude as BRSC to the South Korean Embassy for donation and they look forward to an enduring partnership for such worthy causes.

“South Korean Embassy’s great gesture will enable trainees to thrive, to fulfil their dreams to become a reality as this equipments will go a long way in creating great impact in the lives of trainees and their families. We wish to convey our sincere gratitude to the South Korean Embassy for their noble gesture of donating the E-learning equipments.”

BRCS offers rehabilitation services spread across three (3) areas in Botswana being Sefhare Stimulation center in Sefhare, Tshimologo stimulation center in Francistown and Tlamelong rehabilitation center in Tlokweng.

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DIS alleges plot to kill Masisi hatched in South Africa

6th February 2023

A dispute is brewing between Botswana and South Africa intelligence agencies over alleged mercenary training camps discovered in South Africa by the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS). 

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