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Morwaeng’s remuneration of politicians Bill halted

Standing Committee on Remuneration (Members of the National Assembly, councillors, Ntlo Ya Dikgosi and Specified Offices) was withdrawn and will be tabled normally in the July sitting.

The Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Kabo Morwaeng first presented the Bill to the general assembly in February 2021 but later withdrawn after facing stiff resistance. On March 31, 2022 Morwaeng yet again tried to table the Bill brought under ‘unclear’ certificate of urgency but it yet again faced resistance in the follow of Parliament. The Bill has not yet reached its maturity as it was re-published in the Government Gazette on March 25, 2022.

One Member of Parliament said the Bill which was first published on February 19, 2021 was withdrawn because clearly the stakeholders were not consulted. “Specified officers were not defined either. The Bill was brought under certificate of urgency without convincing reasons why the Minister would want to deny stakeholders the chance to scrutinise the Bill. The Minister is asking Parliament to pass the Bill as it is urgently but it is not yet matured,” he said.

He added that it is unclear why the Bill is urgency. The legislator asserted: “However the opposition is likely to reject the Bill. Our position is that like other similar committees before it the proposed committee lacks independence. The role of the Minister and its composition makes the committee to be under the tight grip of government”.

Another MP who also did not want to be named said the influence of the Executive on the committee is immense. “Unconfirmed reports suggest that the committee will serve the interest of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party in respect of managing their succession plan.

It is said that the party seeks to replace the current Vice President Slumber Tsogwane with a loyalist like Minister Peggy Serame. As such they want to introduce a pension for the position of Vice President and a monthly allowance for the First Lady,” he said.

The object of this Bill which Morwaeng intends to present to the National Assembly is to establish the Standing Committee on Remuneration (Members of the National Assembly, councillors, Ntlo Ya Dikgosi and Specified Offices). The committee shall be responsible for assessing the remunerations and conditions of service of members of the National Assembly, councillors, specified offices and members of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi.

The committee shall be composed of members appointed by the Minister such as a Chairperson, who shall be a retired Judge or a legal practitioner with at least 10 years of experience. There shall be a person with experience in political matters and a person with experience relating to Bogosi. Other members shall be persons with experience in public administration or human resources, law and financial matters.

Ex-officio members of the committee and shall have the right to vote. These are Permanent Secretaries in the Ministry responsible for Presidential Affairs, Justice and Finance. The Minister responsible for finance shall appoint the secretary for the committee.

“The functions of the committee shall be to assess the remunerations and conditions of service of members of the National Assembly, councillors, specified offices and members of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi and make recommendations to the Minister and the Minister responsible for finance within 30 days after any assessment under Subsection (1) has been made,” read the Bill.

The committee may, in the exercise of its functions, order any public officer or any government entity to provide any information in the possession or under the control of such officer or entity. Subject to the provisions of this Act, the committee shall regulate its own procedure for meetings. “The committee shall have at least two meetings in a year for the discharge of its functions, and such meetings shall be held at such places and times as the Chairperson may determine.

A quorum for a meeting of the committee shall be a simple majority of its members. A member shall be paid such allowances and such travelling, accommodation and subsistence expenses incurred during his or her service on the committee and shall be determined by the Minister.

“If a member appointed under Section 3(2) is present at a meeting of the committee at which any matter in which the member or immediate family member of the member is directly or indirectly interested in a private capacity is the subject of consideration, the member shall as soon as practicable after announcement of the meeting, disclose such interest and shall not, unless the committee, otherwise directs, take part in any consideration or discussion of, or vote on, any question touching on the matter.”

When a member fails to disclose his or her interest in accordance with Subsection (1) and a decision by the committee is made benefitting such a member, or an immediate family member of the member, such member or decision shall be null and void to the extent that it benefits such member of family member. “A member who fails to comply with the provisions of Subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable to a fine not exceeding P10, 000, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or to both.”

A member shall observe and preserve the confidentiality of all matters coming before the committee and such confidentiality shall subsist even after the termination of their terms of office or their mandates. Any member or any person to whom confidential information revealed through working with the committee shall not disclose the information to any other person unless he or she is required to do so in terms of any written law or for purposes of any judicial proceedings.

Any member or any other person who contravenes the provisions of this Section commits an offence and is liable to a fine not exceeding P10, 000, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or both.

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Botswana approves extradition of British fugitive

20th March 2023

Raiz Ahmed Tayub, a British fugitive sought by Interpol for his involvement in human trafficking and slave trade crimes, was captured by the Botswana Police Service (BPS) earlier this year.

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BOCRA detects new cyber attacks targeted at Botswana

20th March 2023

Government owned communications regulator, Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) recently detected several cyber-attacks targeted at national information and communications infrastructure, companies and home routers in this country.

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Malawi appeals for help over Cyclone Freddy at PAP

17th March 2023

As of yesterday evening, the death toll from the Cyclone in Malawi had risen from the initially reported 190 to 225 in a short period of time, over 20 000 people have been displaced, and the worst of fears are yet to come as the fatalities continue to mount. This was reported by a Malawi Member of Parliament attending the Pan African Parliament session in Midrand, South Africa, Hon Steven Mikiya.

Mikiya was giving a statement on behalf of Malawi as the ongoing Pan African Parliament in South Africa.

Mikiya said the Cyclone has wreaked the most havoc in our country’s Southern Region. “The Southern Region, has been hardest hit with widespread heavy rains and strong winds. This caused a rapid rise in water levels and subsequent flooding. Meanwhile, power supply has been disrupted, roads blocked off and rendered impassable and mudslides have also been widely reported,” he said.

He made a special appeal to the PAP:  “Where I come from, there is a parable which I would like to share with you which says, “mzako weniweni umamudziwa panthawi ya mavuto.” Simply put, a friend in need is a friend indeed or put loosely, a person who helps at a difficult time is a friend you can rely on.”

Mikiya continued: “Yes! Misfortune has knocked on our door and left in its wake a trail of death and destruction that may take years to fully recover from. However, amidst these difficulties, I have every reason to believe that sometimes when you are in a dark place and think you have been buried, you have actually been planted. My belief, Mr. President, arises out of my faith in this gathering and out of the conviction that it is not coincidental that Cyclone Freddy hit Malawi and Mozambique while the delegations of both countries are here.”

According to Mikiya, the level of destruction, the loss of life, property and the decimation of the entire fabric of established communities has been unprecedented. He noted that all this, is coming at a time when Malawi was starting to show signs of recovery from the deadly COVID-19 pandemic that also came hard on the heels of Cyclone Ana and Cyclone Gombe that left a similar trail of devastation and destruction in Malawi and neighbouring countries.

As of Sunday, this week, from the 12th of March, Malawi and Mozambique have been facing the devastating effects of Cyclone Freddy that made a landfall over Mozambique on Saturday the 11th and reached Malawi by Sunday the 12th of March.

The Malawi legislator said he has absolute faith in the Pan African Parliament, which he described as “a league of nations brought together by a shared ancestry, history, identity as well as our beloved continent which we inhabit”.

Meanwhile, Malawi President, Lazarus Chakwera, has declared a State of Disaster in the affected areas effectively appealing for local and international support for the affected families.

Mikiya appealed to the Pan African Parliament drawing “positive” inspiration from Europe which rallied around Turkey after the destructive earthquakes to bring the much-needed relief and humanitarian aid to the people of Turkey.

He said Africa should demonstrate to the world that the African Union and its Organs are not mere talk shows, but effective institutions which stand up when it matters most.

“Alone, it may take us a lifetime to fully recover, but together, in the Pan-Africanist spirit of Ubuntu, our lives and livelihoods will return to a semblance of normality in record time. This is the time to live by our operative mantra, “One Africa, One Voice.” Mikiya concluded.

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