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Commission warns Bakgatla

Johnson Motshwarakgole

The Vice Chairperson of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the Review of the Constitution of Botswana, Johnson Motshwarakgole, has warned the defiant Bakgatla-Ba-Kgafela that boycotting participation in the proceedings of review of the constitution will have dire consequences on their part.

Speaking on the back of the resistance faced by commissioners in Mochudi this week, the renowned trade unionist said, refusal to participate in the process will mean that other people will take decisions on behalf of Bakgatla.

Commissioners’ experience in Mochudi was a rude awakening, as it became evident that the absence of the tribe Paramount Chief, Kgosi Kgafela II remains a wedge that divides the tribe. Some Bakgatla could not hide their exasperations on the process of the review of the Constitution.

“I, as you, holds a very firm view that, if this process should be wholly complete, Kgosi Kgafela II should take part. However, it is hinged in you, Bakgatla, to ensure he [Kgosi Kgafela II] gives his commentary,” said Motshwarakgole.

“But the fact is anybody who boycotts or withholds their opinion from us, simply means that other people’s opinions are representative of theirs.” Bakgatla said their Paramount Chief, Kgosi Kgafela Kgafela II has put an order that his tribesmen should not participate in the President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s quest to review the Constitution. They said this was clearly indicated in the letter that was written by Kgosi Kgafela II to President Masisi.

One Kabelo Moswetsi, a resident of Mochudi said by participating in this exercise they are pointing a gun on their own heads. He argued that before Bakgatla could take part, there are lots of consultations that have to run between the Bakgatla and the government, some of those were alluded to, in their Paramount Chief’s letter.

“The Government must delegate an Assembly that specifically looks into our issues and concerns as Bakgatla particularly on the issue of our Tribal Territories and the Tribal Act,” he said. Kabelo Kgamanyane concurred with Moswetsi’s sentiments, saying their Chief’s letter indicated that the land of Bakgatla is a reserved land. He said the Bakgatla leader made a request that there be a special dispensation in which him and the President are brought together for a consultation.

Bakgatla Regent, Kgosi Bana-Sekai Linchwe, for his part commended the Commissioners for the good work. He said he personally does not have any contribution pertaining to the review of the Constitution, urging Bakgatla to freely venture their opinion. Ontlametse Letsholo, who is as well-known resident, expressed a concern on the whole exercise. He said it was clearly stated by their leader, that they should not take part in it.

“Because we are already sold out, I might as well venture my opinion,” he said. He contended that the time allotted to the meeting is an indication of how Batswana are taken for granted, and that it is deliberate. “You come here, for only two hours and go back hurried, lest you find your co- looters having out-performed you in Gaborone,” he said.

Michael Matlhage, a resident of Mochudi, said there has been a number of Batswana who expressed their desire for the Constitution to be reviewed a while ago. He noted that the unfortunate circumstance is that, now when the process is being actualized, those who passionately expressed their desire to drive the review are not part of the process.

Matlhage asked the commissioners if they had consulted those individuals, who include Kgosi Kgafela II, to make their contributions. “I now pose this question to you my fellow tribesmen, if your leader was not listened to, when speaking to this subject, who are you to be listened to?” he asked rhetorically.

Sekete Ntshole, a resident, when making his contribution, blasted former Chief Justice Maruping Dibotelo for what he deems hypocritical. He stated that; “Kgosi Kgafela has, beyond reasonable doubts, demonstrated his intelligence and advocated for the review of the constitution.”

He said by the time Kgosi Kgafela was burning with the desire to review the constitution, Dibotelo was in the forefront of having Kgosi Kgafela II being silenced. “Dibotelo you were on your duties at the High Court, you judged our leader, and you are the reason why he fled, now when you have taken away the intelligent man away from us, you come to us and say you want our opinions while you did not want to hear from him?” he asked.

Mochudi resident and retired trade unionist, Japhta Radibe argued that the current Constitution is characterized by a lot of foreign precepts that do not speak to the lives of Batswana. “The Constitution of Botswana is an inherited Constitution, what is rightful, is that the Constitution be nullified, and a fresh one be made,” he articulated.

Neo Molatlhegi of ‘Ledisakgosi’— a Bakgatla regiment, went for jugular and declared that: “Our courts are open, vamoose this place now, go tell the President that Bakgatla are not receptive of this whole process whatsoever.”

A number of speakers, who gave their comment, expressed their desire in directly voting for the President. They argued as well that the time for the Election System of First-Past-the-Post is long over-due and not profitable for a democratic system.

They advised that Botswana considers ‘Proportional Representation’ that enables inclusivity. Likewise, they advocated with one voice for establishment of a Constitutional Court in the country. Bakgatla indicated the need for all oversight bodies in Botswana to be independent of the Government.

The residents of Mochudi said these meetings are not political; therefore all Batswana should be given a chance to venture their opinions. They are of the view during these meetings there should not be anyone who is said to be at work, all must be there to participate in shaping their future.

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Over 2 000 civil servants interdicted

6th December 2022

Over 2,000 civil servants in the public sector have been interdicted for a variety of reasons, the majority of which are criminal in nature.

According to reports, some officers have been under interdiction for more than two years because such matters are still being investigated. Information reaching WeekendPost shows that local government, particularly councils, has the highest number of suspended officers.

In its annual report, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) revealed that councils lead in corrupt activities throughout the country, and dozens of council employees are being investigated for alleged corrupt activities. It is also reported that disciplined forces, including the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), police, and prisons, and the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) have suspended a significant number of officers.

The Ministry of Education and Skills Development has also recorded a good number of teachers who have implicated in love relationships with students, while some are accused of impregnating students both in primary and secondary school. Regional education officers have been tasked to investigate such matters and are believed to be far from completion as some students are dragging their feet in assisting the investigations to be completed.

This year, Mmadinare Senior Secondary reportedly had the highest number of pregnancies, especially among form five students who were later forcibly expelled from school. Responding to this publication’s queries, Permanent Secretary to the Office of the President Emma Peloetletse said, “as you might be aware, I am currently addressing public servants across the length and breadth of our beautiful republic. Due to your detailed enquiry, I am not able to respond within your schedule,” she said.

She said some of the issues raised need verification of facts, some are still under investigation while some are still before the courts of law.

Meanwhile, it is close to six months since the Police Commissioner Keabetwe Makgophe, Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katlholo and the Deputy Director of the DIS Tefo Kgothane were suspended from their official duties on various charges.

Efforts to solicit comment from trade unions were futile at the time of going to press.

Some suspended officers who opted for anonymity claimed that they have close to two years while on suspension. One stated that the investigations that led him to be suspended have not been completed.

“It is heartbreaking that at this time the investigations have not been completed,” he told WeekendPost, adding that “when a person is suspended, they get their salary fully without fail until the matter is resolved”.

Makgophe, Katlholo and Kgothane are the three most high-ranking government officials that are under interdiction.

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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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