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Lawyers want stake in law making

Chairman of the Law Society of Botswana (LSB), Diba Diba has announced at the opening of the legal year, that the Society has made a decision to play an active role to engage in bills of Parliament before they are made into law. Diba later told WeekendPost that as a lawyers they have realised that they have not been actively involved in advising Parliament in law making.

He further explained that this is a pivotal role that should have been long practiced by lawyers. “Instead of being reactive to laws passed we need to make sure we are involved in the later stage of such developments. Bills passed in Parliament are usually advertised in the Botswana Gazette and we have not been doing anything to contribute considering the nature of our profession,” Diba clarified. He further noted that a formal relationship with the Parliament of Botswana as lawyers will be something that will be considered and explored in the near future.

In last year’s 11th Parliament, 109 bills were passed and were to be endorsed into laws. A total of 312 questions were answered and over 100 questions were responded to because of time constraints and over 23 motions were debated.Amongst the bills the House passed were: the National Assembly Salaries and Allowances Amendment Bill, Transfer Duty Amendment Bill, Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Bill, Capital Transfer Tax Amendment Bill, Income Tax Amendment Bill, Botswana Teaching Professionals Bill.

Diba explained that the involvement of lawyers in the passing of laws will be a major development as this will help prevent unconstitutional laws being made. Currently the law of Parliament is in such a manner that only the sitting President is allowed to make the last call in passing the laws.

LAWYERS WARNED AGAINST OVERCHARGING CLIENTS

In his speech at the opening of the legal year, Diba further warned against some of the unscrupulous legal practitioners who overcharge members of the public even though they are not necessarily in the majority. He worried that the notoriety of a few bad apples will invariably get the most attention. “Overcharging may amount to serious professional misconduct (overreaching) and depending on the amount involved a legal practitioner may be disbarred if found guilty,” he said.

However, Chairman of the LSB assured that the new rules that are before Chief Justice will set out fees by legal practitioners. “The rules will also, we believe, remove the challenge of the repeated court attendances that currently prevail. These contribute significantly to the increase in the cost of litigation.”

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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

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.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021
LAWRENCE-OOKEDITSE

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.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

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.

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