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What IEC officials said at PAC

The members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament this week questioned the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) about the security of the voters’ data.

After initially stating that the Commission was the only entity authorized to access the data; officials then changed their story and indicated that other entities, such as the Department of Information and Technology (DIT), who are also responsible for the management of the country’s ICT infrastructure, have access. Doreen Serumola answered DIT and IEC have access to the data.

Dintle Rapoo, the manager of elections operations at the Independent Electoral Commission, stated that the Department of Information Technology (DIT) is the custodian of all government data bases. He also noted that the voter’s database is protected using various methods. Just like other databases given security, voter database is given that.

He also stated that the only people who have access to the voter’s database are the individuals who are assigned to the various DIT stations. These individuals are the administrators and consultants who are contracted by the commission to provide consultancy services.

At any given time whenever there is any entrance to our database we are able to see the track and although there is access of the administrators as required, there hasnt been any unscrupulous activity that we have seen in the voters roll because we do can see the trails of any person who have entered particularly the administrators.


IEC’s Serumola also confirmed that the draft bill that seeks to make the commission independent from the president is currently in the process of being tabled in parliament. She also stated that she is not sure when the bill will be passed. She told the committee that the IEC does not have the draft themselves. She was asked by the Chairman of the PAC to submit the draft to the committee.


According to Serumola, the commission has already made a recommendation to the government regarding the use of electronic voter registration. However, she noted that this method is not an electronic voting system.

The initiative was intended to occur before 2024 general election but we are in 2022 now and registration will be done in 2023 but the time is short to allow the electronic registration however, the law can be passed but implementation will be the problem, she said.


She was also asked about plans to increase the number of polling stations in the country. She noted that currently, there is a delimitation commission that has been appointed to reduce the boundaries of the constituencies. After the commission has completed its work, a report will then be produced by the secretary, which will then be forwarded to the other stakeholders.

She also noted that during that time, the secretary is also empowered to draw the various districts and polling stations.I believe we will have it considered of growing polling stations, she said.


She further indicated that the Commission had made recommendations of counting votes at polling stations. There have been concerns that no one knows what happens to ballot papers and boxes between the period ballot boxes are moved from the polling stations to the counting centers.

But if the law allows for counting at the polling stations, then the complaints will be taken care of because as soon as everyone has cast their vote, counting will be done. Such complaints will not exist anymore especially on whether anyone has interfered with the ballot boxes during the time they were moving from point A to B, She explained.


According to the acting secretary, the commission conducted supplementary registration from January to March and another registration that started in May is also ongoing until July. The continuous registration will ensure that those who did not appear in the voters roll in 2019 are registered, she said.

We have youth who had not turned 18 by 2019 general elections, its important for the nation to register so that they can participate in the by-elections and referendums because if their names do not appear in the voters roll , they will not be allowed to vote, Serumola said.

She said when registration period ends, they collect the data then they prepare a supplementary voters roll which will take 2-3 months then publish the roll for 21 days for everyone to inspect the roll to give everyone who have comments about the roll and once the supplementary voters registration has matured it is merged with the current voters roll (2019) and will become one roll.


Speaking to the subject of voter apathy, IEC manager of elections affairs and Field Operations, Rapoo noted that the lack of resources is one of the factors that contributed to the low participation of voters in the 2019 general election. She also mentioned that civic education is also a factor that contributes to the low number of people participating in the elections.

We have stakeholders whose role is to mobilize the citizen to participate in electoral processes but that doesnt happen almost throughout the 5 years except a few months just before the elections when they are preparing for election observation but majority of the work should have been to mobilize the citizens while there was still some time, he said.

Rapoo insisted that the situation is worse when it comes to by-elections because they get as low as 24% of the people in the roll coming out to vote. He said previously they had made recommendations to allow other forms of identity to vote such as drivers Licence, passport but it was not approved.

But I can confirm that in the recommendations sent to the government recently, its not one of them, he said. Rapoo confirmed that the commission supports the public funding of political parties. He also indicated that the commission had also submitted a package of recommendations to the government.


FaR property assets value clock P1.47 billion

6th December 2023

FaR Property Company (FPC) Limited, a property investment company listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange, has recently announced its exceptional financial results for the year 2023. The company’s property asset value has risen to P1.47 billion, up from P1.42 billion in the previous year.

FPC has a diverse portfolio of properties, including retail, commercial, industrial, and residential properties in Botswana, South Africa, and Zambia. The company owns a total of 186 properties, generating rental revenues from various sectors. In 2023, the company recorded rental revenues of P11 million from residential properties, P62 million from industrial properties, and P89 million from commercial properties. Overall, the company’s total revenues increased by 9% to P153 million, while profit before tax increased by 22% to P136 million, and operating profit increased by 11% to P139 million.

One notable achievement for FPC is the low vacancy rate across its properties, which stands at only 6%. This is particularly impressive considering the challenging trading environment. The company attributes this success to effective lease management and the leasing of previously vacant properties in South Africa. FPC’s management expressed satisfaction with the results, highlighting the resilience of the company in the face of ongoing macroeconomic challenges.

The increase in profit before tax can be attributed to both an increase in income and effective control of operating expenses. FPC managed to achieve these results with fewer employees, demonstrating the company’s efficiency. The headline earnings per linked unit also saw an improvement, reaching 26.92 thebe, higher than the previous year.

Looking ahead, FPC remains confident in its competitiveness and growth prospects. The company possesses a substantial land bank, which it plans to develop strategically as opportunities arise. FPC aims for managed growth, focusing on consumer-driven developments and ensuring the presence of supportive tenants. By maintaining this approach, the company believes it can sustainably grow its property portfolio and remain competitive in the market.

In terms of the macroeconomic environment, FPC noted that inflation rates are decreasing towards the 3% to 6% range approved by the Bank of Botswana. This is positive news for the company, as it hopes for further decreases in interest rates. However, the fluctuating fuel prices, influenced by global events such as the war in Ukraine and oil output reductions by Russia and other Middle Eastern countries, continue to impact businesses, including some of FPC’s tenants.

FPC’s property portfolio includes notable assets such as a shopping mall in Francistown with Choppies Hyper as the anchor tenant, Borogo Mall located on the A33 main road near the Kazungula ferry crossing, and various industrial and commercial properties in Gaborone leased to Choppies, Senn Foods, and Clover Botswana. The company also owns a shopping mall in Mafikeng and Rustenburg in South Africa.

The majority of FPC’s properties, 85%, are located in Botswana, followed by 12% in South Africa and 3% in Zambia. With its strong financial performance, competitive position, and strategic land bank, FPC is well-positioned for continued growth and success in the property market.









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BPC Signs PPA with Sekaname Energy

4th December 2023

The Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) has taken a significant step towards diversifying its energy mix by signing a power purchase agreement with Sekaname Energy for the production of power from coal bed methane in Mmashoro village. This agreement marks a major milestone for the energy sector in Botswana as the country transitions from a coal-fired power generation system to a new energy mix comprising coal, gas, solar, and wind.

The CEO of BPC, David Kgoboko, explained that the Power Purchase Agreement is for a 6MW coal bed methane proof of concept project to be developed around Mmashoro village. This project aligns with BPC’s strategic initiatives to increase the proportion of low-carbon power generation sources and renewable energy in the energy mix. The use of coal bed methane for power generation is an exciting development as it provides a hybrid solution with non-dispatchable sources of generation like solar PV. Without flexible base-load generation, the deployment of non-dispatchable solar PV generation would be limited.

Kgoboko emphasized that BPC is committed to enabling the development of a gas supply industry in Botswana. Sekaname Energy, along with other players in the coal bed methane exploration business, is a key and strategic partner for BPC. The successful development of a gas supply industry will enable the realization of a secure and sustainable energy mix for the country.

The Minister of Minerals & Energy, Lefoko Moagi, expressed his support for the initiative by the private sector to develop a gas industry in Botswana. The country has abundant coal reserves, and the government fully supports the commercial extraction of coal bed methane gas for power generation. The government guarantees that BPC will purchase the generated electricity at reasonable tariffs, providing cash flow to the developers and enabling them to raise equity and debt funding for gas extraction development.

Moagi highlighted the benefits of developing a gas supply industry, including diversified primary energy sources, economic diversification, import substitution, and employment creation. He commended Sekaname Energy for undertaking a pilot project to prove the commercial viability of extracting coal bed methane for power generation. If successful, this initiative would unlock the potential of a gas production industry in Botswana.

Sekaname Energy CEO, Peter Mmusi, emphasized the multiple uses of natural gas and its potential to uplift Botswana’s economy. In addition to power generation, natural gas can be used for gas-to-liquids, compressed natural gas, and fertilizer production. Mmusi revealed that Sekaname has already invested $57 million in exploration and infrastructure throughout its resource area. The company plans to spend another $10-15 million for the initial 6MW project and aims to invest over $500 million in the future for a 90MW power plant. Sekaname’s goal is to assist BPC in becoming a net exporter of power within the region and to contribute to Botswana’s transition to cleaner energy production.

In conclusion, the power purchase agreement between BPC and Sekaname Energy for the production of power from coal bed methane in Mmashoro village is a significant step towards diversifying Botswana’s energy mix. This project aligns with BPC’s strategic initiatives to increase the proportion of low-carbon power generation sources and renewable energy. The government’s support for the development of a gas supply industry and the commercial extraction of coal bed methane will bring numerous benefits to the country, including economic diversification, import substitution, and employment creation. With the potential to become a net exporter of power and a cleaner energy producer, Botswana is poised to make significant strides in its energy sector.

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UDC deadlock: Boko, Ndaba, Reatile meet  

4th December 2023

It is not clear as to when, but before taking a festive break in few weeks’ time UDC leaders would have convened to address the ongoing deadlock surrounding constituency allocation in the negotiations for the 2024 elections. The leaders, Duma Boko of the UDC, Mephato Reggie Reatile of the BPF, and Ndaba Gaolathe of the AP, are expected to meet and discuss critical matters and engage in dialogue regarding the contested constituencies.

The negotiations hit a stalemate when it came to allocating constituencies, prompting the need for the leaders to intervene. Representatives from the UDC, AP, and BPF were tasked with negotiating the allocation, with Dr. Patrick Molotsi and Dr. Philip Bulawa representing the UDC, and Dr. Phenyo Butale and Wynter Mmolotsi representing the AP.

The leaders’ meeting is crucial in resolving the contentious issue of constituency allocation, which has caused tension among UDC members and potential candidates for the 2024 elections. After reaching an agreement, the leaders will engage with the members of each constituency to gauge their opinions and ensure that the decisions made are favored by the rank and file. This approach aims to avoid unnecessary costs and conflicts during the general elections.

One of the main points of contention is the allocation of Molepolole South, which the BNF is adamant about obtaining. In the 2019 elections, the UDC was the runner-up in Molepolole South, securing the second position in seven out of eight wards. Other contested constituencies include Metsimotlhabe, Kgatleng East and West, Mmadinare, Francistown East, Shashe West, Boteti East, and Lerala Maunatlala.

The criteria used for constituency allocation have also become a point of dispute among the UDC member parties. The issue of incumbency is particularly contentious, as the criterion for constituency allocation suggests that current holders of UDC’s council and parliamentary seats should be given priority for re-election without undergoing primary elections. Disadvantaged parties argue that this approach limits democratic competition and hinders the emergence of potentially more capable candidates.

Another disputed criterion is the allocation based on the strength and popularity of a party in specific areas. Parties argue that this is a subjective criterion that leads to disputes and favoritism, as clear metrics for strength and visibility cannot be defined. The BNF, in particular, questions the demands of the new entrants, the BPF and AP, as they lack a traceable track record to support their high expectations.

The unity and cohesion of the UDC are at stake, with the BPF and AP expressing dissatisfaction and considering withdrawing from the negotiations. Therefore, it is crucial for the leaders to expedite their meeting and find a resolution to these disputes.

In the midst of these negotiations, the BNF has already secured 15 constituencies within the UDC coalition. While the negotiations are still ongoing, BNF Chairman Dr. Molotsi revealed that they have traditionally held these constituencies and are expecting to add more to their tally. The constituencies include Gantsi North, Gantsi South, Kgalagadi North, Kgalagadi South, Good Hope – Mmathethe, Kanye North, Kanye South, Lobatse, Molepolole North, Gaborone South, Gaborone North, Gaborone Bonnignton North, Takatokwane, Letlhakeng, and Tlokweng.

The resolution of the contested constituencies will test the ability of the UDC to present a united front in the 2024 National Elections will depend on the decisions made by the three leaders. It is essential for them to demonstrate maturity and astuteness in resolving the constituency allocation deadlock and ensuring the cohesion of the UDC.





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