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2019 Elections assessors call for IEC independence

Elections appraisers in the just ended 2019 controversial polls have this week called for enactment of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) Act by Parliament to ensure true independence of the body overseeing elections.  

IEC is currently housed under the auspices of the Office of the President with both President and his cabinet being interested parties to elections. The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) won the latest edition of elections with a resounding victory that sparked suspicion of election rigging where the opposition parties led by Umbrella for Democratic Party (UDC) suspected BDP collusion with the IEC to influence the election outcome.

The matter was however dismissed by the High Court on technicality and when the matter reached the Court of Appeal it indicated that they have no jurisdiction to entertain the election petitions. Participants at this week’s National stakeholder evaluation workshop for 2019 General Elections which was themed “stakeholder engagement: key to transparent and efficient elections,” which included the Civil Society representatives recommended for urgent IEC Act.  

In terms of the independence of IEC they said the Commission should have an Act of Parliament just like the Police Act, Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Act and other parastatals Acts. “They say the independence of IEC can be enhanced by having such structure to develop into a body corporate,” IEC Spokesperson confirmed this to WeekendPost after the workshop in Gaborone. In addition, in the engagement meeting they also called for the review of Electoral laws being through the referendum, Electoral Act, and the constitution.

“But if you amend the constitution it affects the subsidiary laws like the Electoral law. There is that trickling effect. For example counting of ballots at polling station impact on Electoral Act. They also took this resolution,” the IEC official pointed out to this publication. Although the parties also recommended political party funding, there were some concerns from certain quarters in terms of the model to be adopted for its implementation. Others were wondering what it will be regulated by; the IEC or government or an independent body that may be formed.

At the end it was agreed that there is need for political party funding but it should be motivated that it comes with an independent body to regulate its funds on the basis of it to be agreed methodologies. Another recommendation was with regard to the Principal residence definition and it was said that on the basis of the recent court outcome with regard to Alliance for Progressives President Ndaba Gaolathe, Umbrella for Democratic Change leader Duma Boko and others, which was interpreting the case, that there is already a clear definition of Principal residence.

“The meeting agreed that the constitution is currently adequate in its interpretation and application of the law and therefore it should not be changed but left as it is. The only difference was with regard to when you have an addition residence like most Batswana do. That when as a voter you decide which one you want it to be your principal residence,” Maroba told Weekend Post. Furthermore, there was also an issue on recommendation on having a minimum qualification for Members of Parliament of Councillors and it was thoroughly debated.

 Others dismissed it on the basis that some leaders may just have talent and experience to lead and may do it very good without qualifications. Others who were in support wanted the political officers to have such because they deal with issues of Policies and the law which needs some level of understanding.  “Without adequate schooling how you will interpret those,” they asked rhetorically before the adoption of the recommendation.  The election evaluators also want the term limits for MP’s and Councillors to serve for only two terms and pave way for others with fresher ideas to take over.  

Moreover, some recommendations which were also endorsed were to do with counting the ballots papers at the polling stations so that they don’t move to the counting centres where cheating in elections may occur. In regard to using different languages for campaigning purposes to reach out to non-Setswana speaking citizens, others felt that the constitution must be amended first to allow for such development. It was recommended in the meantime that where there are challenges of language barrier, IEC should enable voter education and they should hire local people in the area who can interpret for others.

Meanwhile opposition parties in Botswana have shunned the IEC engagements by coming in insignificant numbers and with no representation from senior members of all the parties. Of all the party representation, only Pius Mokgware was a senior member of his party, Alliance for Progressives (AP). Umbrella for Democratic Party (UDC) had 1 representative, Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) 2, Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF), 2 and 1 Independent candidate.  

The meeting was intended to partly stimulate the amendment of the law as it was the first meeting of its kind subsequent to the 2019 General Elections. Maroba said the IEC was worried about a no show by the opposition and for bringing mostly junior members from their parties.
“I wonder why they didn’t turn up in numbers because in these engagements, they are motivating possible amendment of the law. And when you talk the amendment of the law it is a serious discussion,” Maroba said.  


He added that, “So our hope was that they will send members of their parties from the highest levels especially from their Central Committees. We believe at that level they can speak with authority on behalf of their political organisations. But unfortunately that did not happen and we don’t have an answer for that.” According to Maroba, their participation on these engagements would really help IEC to know their concerns and address them and go to the next polls in 2024 on the same level and understanding.

“So we are concerned about their no-show in the sense that, whether one party is happy and the other is not, we are mandated and we are bound by the constitution and the Electoral Act to facilitate elections. If some political parties do not take us seriously and think we are useless that cannot supersede the implementation of the law as is. That can’t stop IEC from conducting elections.” He added that as IEC they are concerned because the parties did not see the importance of the stakeholders meeting but unfortunately that unhappiness will persist.

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MMG acquires Khoemacau in a transaction valued at P23Bn

9th April 2024

MMG Limited, the Hong Kong-based mining company specializing in base metals, has successfully concluded the acquisition of Khoemacau Copper Mine, a state-of-the-art, world-class copper asset nestled in the northwest of Botswana.

On Monday, MMG announced that the acquisition of Khoemacau Mine in Botswana was finalized on 22nd March 2024. “This acquisition enriches the company’s portfolio with a top-tier, transformative growth project and signifies a monumental milestone in the Company’s journey,” MMG communicated in an official statement published on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Upon completion of the acquisition, MMG remitted to the Sellers an Aggregate Consideration of approximately US$1,734,657,000 (over P23 billion), a sum subject to potential adjustments post-Completion.

In addition to the Aggregate Consideration, MMG, in accordance with the Agreement, advanced an aggregate amount of approximately US$348,580,000 (over P4.5 billion) as the Aggregate Debt Settlement Amount, to settle certain debt balances of the Target Group (Cuprous Capital/Khoemacau).

On November 21, 2023, Khoemacau announced that the shareholders of its parent company [Cuprous Capital] had agreed to sell 100% of their interests to MMG Limited.

MMG is a global resources company that mines, explores, and develops copper and other base metals projects on four continents. The company is headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, and has a significant shareholder, China Minmetals Corporation, which is China’s largest metals and minerals group owned by the Government of the People’s Republic of China.

On December 22, 2023, Khoemacau Copper Mining (Pty) Ltd received the approval from the Minister of Minerals and Energy of Botswana regarding the transfer of a controlling interest in the Project Licenses and Prospecting Licenses associated with the Khoemacau Copper Mine, a result of the Acquisition.

 

The Botswana Competition & Consumer Authority (CCA) on January 29, 2024, notified the market that it had given its approval for the takeover of Khoemacau Copper Mining by MMG Limited.

On January 29, 2024, the CCA issued a merger decision to the market, stating that after conducting all necessary assessments, it was ready to proceed.

The Competition Authority affirmed that the structure of the relevant market would not significantly change upon implementation of the proposed merger as the proposed transaction is not likely to result in a substantial lessening of competition, nor endanger the continuity of service in the market of mining of copper and silver ores and the production, and sale or supply of copper concentrate in Botswana.

Furthermore, the CCA stated that the proposed merger would not have any negative impact on public interest matters in Botswana as per the provisions of section 52(2) of the Competition Act 2018.

Earlier this month, Minister of Minerals & Energy, Lefoko Maxwell Moagi, informed parliament that his Ministry was endorsing the Khoemacau acquisition by MMG Limited. He noted that not only was the company acquiring the existing operation but also committing to an expansion program that would cost over $700 million to double production, create more jobs for Batswana, and increase taxes and royalties paid to the Government.

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Bullish CA Sales saw revenue rise to R11.3 billion in 2023

9th April 2024

Despite the global economic landscape being fraught with challenges, CA Sales Holdings Limited (CA&S), a powerhouse distributor of fast-moving consumer goods across Africa, remains steadfast in its bullish sentiment. This Botswana and Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed company, with its extensive operations spanning Botswana, South Africa, Eswatini, Namibia, Lesotho, Mauritius, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, is primed to deliver exceptional financial performance in 2024.

The company’s portfolio of services is diverse and comprehensive, encompassing everything from warehousing and distribution to retail execution, advisory, retail support, training, technology, and data solutions. It’s a one-stop-shop for all things retail, providing a seamless and efficient service to its vast clientele.

The recent financial results released by the local bourse have painted a picture of a thriving company. CA&S has seen a substantial increase in revenues, rising from R9.48 billion in 2022 to a robust R11.3 billion in 2023. The company’s profits have also seen a significant uptick, growing from R1.42 billion to R1.72 billion within the same period. The company attributes these impressive results to the successful implementation and execution of its growth strategy. “Revenue growth was driven by organic growth, acquisitions, expansion into new regions as well as the on-boarding of new clients to the group’s portfolio. As a result, gross profit increased by 21.1% to R1.72 billion (2022: R1.42 billion). The positive top line growth together with the gain on bargain purchase, contributed to the increase of 40.7% in operating profit for the group to R747.31 million (2022: R531.07 million)”

The financial health of the company is further evidenced by the increase in total assets, which have risen by 26.0% to R5.2 billion. This growth is attributed to the increase in fixed and intangible assets, bolstered by business combinations and increased working capital due to the surge in revenue. The company’s strong cash flow generation from operations has also contributed to a healthy increase in cash resources from R735.8 million to R1 062.0 million at the end of December 2023.

As part of its expansion strategy, CA&S has made significant acquisitions. The company has acquired 100% of the share capital of T&C Properties Namibia (Pty) Ltd and Taeuber and Corssen (Pty) Ltd, collectively known as the T&C Group, for R65.0 million. The T&C Group is a Namibian-based distribution and retail execution business. This acquisition has broadened the group’s footprint in Namibia. In addition, CA&S has acquired all the operations of MarketMax (Pty) Ltd, a sales and merchandising business, for R11.5 million. “Contracts acquired are with clients who retail their brands in the pharmaceutical channel. This acquisition is in line with the group’s channel broadening strategy.” The company has also increased its shareholding in Smithshine Enterprises (Pty) Ltd to 100%, in exchange for CA&S shares, to the value of R3.8 million.

The company has expressed its intention to continue its expansion of services for new and existing clients and to continue offering bespoke solutions to brand owners across the region. “A focus will be on channel broadening across existing businesses within existing geographies. Where feasible, the group will also grow its client and customer networks and make value-adding acquisitions.”

CA&S appears to be ready to deliver another strong financial performance, despite the challenging global economic landscape. The company’s management believes that CA&S remains steadfast in its resilience and strategic positioning. They emphasize that with a robust balance sheet, a widespread geographical footprint across Africa, as well as a portfolio marked by diversification, CA&S is well-positioned to deliver favorable results in 2024. “CA&S’ growth strategy of expanding its services to existing and new clients, channel broadening, expansion into new geographies, coupled with value adding acquisitions, will help ensure the group remains firmly on course to attain its growth aspirations.”

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BDF SERVICE MEMBER DIES IN MOZAMBIQUE

27th March 2024

The Botswana Defence Force (BDF) says one of its service members deployed in Cabo – Delgado Province in the Republic of Mozambique due to a short illness.

The member passed away on this morning.

The deceased Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) was deployed as part of the BDF’s Contingent 5 under SAMIM Forces in the Cabo Delgado Province for peace support operations in the Republic of Mozambique.

The next of kin have been informed.

 

 

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