Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has withheld P570 million Constituency Development Funds, as Councils countrywide struggle to complete projects.
Since the beginning of the 2017/18 financial year, the government has disbursed a total amount of P1, 7 billion to various districts for Constituency Developments.
The program was established to stimulate local economic developments, creating employment and promoting productive and employment generating activities to mention a few.
“For this financial year, Government has not disbursed funds to the various councils because councils still have the balances to complete on-going projects and those that have not yet started,” said Masego Ramakgathi, the Ministry of Local Government spokesperson.
Ramakgathi explained that the implementation programme has been affected by Covid-19 especially when it comes to the implementation and monitoring aspects.
Since its inception, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) from the allocated funds, expenditure stands at P1, 2 billion with the remaining balance still to fund some ongoing projects and those that have not started.
“The government is satisfied with the benefits of the program as it continues to achieve its objectives to stimulate economic growth at locality level by creating employment as well as increasing/improving infrastructure,” said Ramakgathi.
With the said amount yet to be fully spent, the program has identified and implemented a total of 3 869 projects across the different constituencies.
“A total of 3 314 have been completed, 313 are ongoing and 242 have not started. The program has to date employed a cumulative total of 14, 857,” added Ramakgathi.
Some of the projects across various districts are; paving of internal roads, construction of storm water drainages, water reticulation, borehole drilling, and construction of classroom blocks in primary schools among others.
Politicians have recently been criticizing and expressing pessimism of this initiative especially that this financial year’s funds are yet to be disbursed. The ministry however has reasons.
The development fund should account for P570 million every financial year with each of the 57 constituencies receiving P10 million.
Constituency Development Funds have been utilized across the globe by governments transferring capital from central government to the electoral constituencies for grass-root development projects to offset economic growth at lower levels, more especially remote and rural areas.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.