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Masisi’s alcohol ban irrational, unconstitutional – KBL


Botswana’s premier brewer and leading distributor of beer, Kgalagadi Breweries Limited (KBL) says the recent alcohol ban by the government is unjustifiable, irrational and overrides the rights that are enshrined in the constitution.

KBL in court papers filed on Tuesday this week, before Justice Tshepo Motswagole, argues that the wholesale ban on the sale, dispensing and distribution of alcohol is inherently unconstitutional and even unnecessary.

The brewer through their attorneys, contends that prohibition of alcohol sale must be “necessary or expedient for securing the public safety and also be rational in terms of the principle of legality.”

The company says it is prepared to put a gallant fight against the government as they believe, that despite the Emergency Powers Act (EPA) empowering the President to make regulations which appear to him to be necessary or expedient, this might not be the case as it could be subjective. As such they will put to test “the necessity and expediency as there is no evidence that banning alcohol is indeed an expedient measure, which is beneficial for combating COVID-19”.

The imposition of the concurrent bans were procedurally irregular as the President was required to consult with those who would be affected by the ban, KBL posits. “I should not be heard to say that each and every single person affected had to be consulted, I am merely saying that those who would be most adversely affected should have been consulted,” reads an affidavit signed by the company’s Managing Director Brenno Diaz reads.

“The decision to impose the ban without affording a hearing to persons and entities that would adversely be affected by such a ban is indefensible due to the fact that it is not as if the government had been unaware of the possibility of the so called ‘third wave’ of the pandemic”.

The court papers further emphasize that, “the government cannot therefore sensibly claim that it had to haste with utmost haste because it was taken by surprise.”

In the past, it is said, KBL has attempted to appraise President Masisi on the devastating effects of the ban but he has never responded. The refusal by the President to hear KBL out, has forced the company to accuse him of not applying his mind to issues.

KBL argues that, “this is because such bans infringe on a myriad of rights under the constitution, as any of the regulations and notices imposing such bans are unconstitutional.”

To back their constitutional argument, KBL says the abrupt stop of alcohol sale, infringes on the right to work and trade which is an integral law which Botswana is a signatory to.

Furthermore, the company says the ban tramples on the right to property as their licenses (property) remain suspended. KBL also highlights that the government is disregarding the right to dignity as the ban unjustifiably limits the rights of people to work and thus earn a living, which infringes on the right to human dignity.

So far KBL laments that it has suffered more harm since the first ban in April last year. In 2020 the company says it lost revenue amounting to P514, 677,000.00 and P348, 209,000 in 2021 to date.

“This harm is ongoing and will continue for as long as the ban subsists,” concludes KBL. If the current prohibition is extended further, KBL says it will have no other option but to shut down some of its sites such as Francistown and Palapye or even review its current operations model which includes local production to a distribution depot.

The company has warned the government that there are no public emergency so pressing that the total ban must be enforced immediately in spite of KBL, its employees and others in the industry. “Every day that the ban endures is a day without desperately needed income for employees and those in the industry who themselves are at risk of real hardship,” the affidavit reads.

The alcohol industry according to the Institute of Employment and Labour Studies (ILES) has employed approximately 50,000 directly with the entire value chain at around 200 000.

KBL is the applicant with the Attorney General of Botswana as the First respondent, President Masisi is the second respondent while Director of Health Service is the third. The applicant has given an antagonist up to the 7th of July to deliver their notice of opposition and to deliver their answering affidavit, on or before the 16th of July 2021. At press time this publication was not aware of any opposition application.


Meanwhile, University of Botswana’s Professor Zibani Maundeni is of the view that Botswana has reached a point where “we realise that lockdowns and shutting down the liquor industry do not prevent the spreading of the coronavirus”.

Maundeni argues that lockdowns and closures only destroy livelihoods. “They impoverish people who are not employed by the government and destroy industries (particularly the private sector and the informal sector).

Government should now be advised to open up the economy to allow people and businesses to operate, lift up curfews to allow night life to return, but enforce masks and speed up vaccination to prevent loss of lives. The economy must be allowed and supported to recover. The ban on alcohol is proving to be unreasonable and costly to livelihoods and to the economy,” he said.


Masisi to dump Tsogwane?

28th November 2022

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.

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African DFIs gear to combat climate change

25th November 2022

The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.

Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa

A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.

COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”

According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.

“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”

Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”

Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.

Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.

“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.

For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.

“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.

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TotalEnergies Botswana launches Road safety campaign in Letlhakeng

22nd November 2022

Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.

The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ,   Patrick Thedi said,  “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”

As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders  will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.

Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele,  who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.

The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as  well as  bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.

TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050,  has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.

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