Items filtered by date: Tuesday, 26 February 2019 - Botswana Guardian
Tuesday, 26 February 2019 16:18

The big HIV debate

“HIV exposure” is the term commonly used to refer to the prosecuting of HIV exposure in the courts of law. HIV Scotland an advocacy organisation for people living with HIV and AIDS in the UK explains that Scotland is unique in that it is the only country in the UK where apart from the “…possibility of being charged for passing on HIV in those circumstances, it is possible to be prosecuted for putting another person at risk of HIV infection, even if they don’t become HIV positive.

(The term used for this in law is ‘reckless endangerment’ or ‘reckless exposure).” According to the UNAIDS in order to fast-track the HIV response and reach the goals of ending AIDS by 2020 and 2030 there has to be an emphasis on removing human rights barriers and legal obstacles. UNAIDS also reports that there are currently about 73 countries that have laws which “criminalise HIV non-disclosure, exposure, or transmission”, and “…39 countries have applied other criminal law provisions in similar cases.”  Botswana is a nation with such laws; the Public Health Act 2013 “…criminalises wilfully exposing the public to any communicable disease” as stated in the Legal Environment Assessment (LEA) report 2017; the Act also makes “communicable diseases notifiable” including HIV.

The LEA report was a coordination of efforts led by the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the UN and the UNDP as supported by its’ Botswana National Steering Committee consisting of representatives from organisations including the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Attorney General’s Chambers, USAID, UNAIDS, PEPFAR, BONELA, BONEPWA, LEGABIBO, Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, Botswana Police Service, Botswana Prisons Service, and Ministry of Education. The report which also speaks to the human rights perspective acknowledges that the Public Health Act 2013 has “positive aspects” but also contains “broad criminal provisions” therefore recommending that the Act together with Section 184 of the Penal Code “…be reviewed and revised, to ensure that they are not inappropriately applied to HIV and TB and are in line with recommendations of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, UNAIDS and other international and regional standards…

“Botswana should ensure that prosecution for HIV transmission is only available in very limited circumstances, when transmission is actual and intentional and prosecutions are pursued with a high level of evidence,” reads the LEA report.  In his research paper submitted to the University of Pennsylvania (USA) in 2012, titled “The challenges of HIV/AIDS criminal legislation in Botswana” Zein Kebonang, a High Court Judge, at the time writing in his capacity as the Operations Director at the Botswana UPenn Partnership in Gaborone focused specifically on the Government of Botswana’s ‘attempts to halt the spread of HIV by amending in 1998 the country’s criminal code to provide for stiffer penalties for those charged and convicted of the offence of rape’.

Kebonang, who is currently embroiled in a corporate scandal similarly found that, “punitive sanctions can only be justified where it can be shown that a person acted intentionally to transmit the disease.” Kebonang further observed that punishing convicted persons for being HIV positive will only perpetuate HIV stigma and further marginalise people living with HIV and leading to the invasion of the right to privacy and, “…the unwarranted disclosure of confidential information” and also “vitiates” on the rights to voluntarily test for HIV.

Kebonang noted that in the year 2010 there were 862 rape cases reported, cases he considers as “insignificant” as they do not account to why a third of the population in Botswana is HIV positive. “One of the shortcomings with this law (Penal Code) is that it assumes that transmission only occurs through rape,” writes Kebonang.

On 6th September 2017 Judge Lot Moroka in his judgment for a rape case in Francistown found that the accused ‘person acted intentionally to transmit the disease’ in the State Vs. David Motlhokomedi Ntshwarisang sentence. The judge ruled that the accused was guilty of inflicting “double trauma” on the rape victim who was already suffering a violation of “bodily integrity” and from the “emotional and psychological anguish” of being raped. “The pain is even higher where the perpetrator is HIV positive as it exposes the victim to double trauma,” reads the judgment. The accused was a pastor at a church who raped his victim, “… under the guise of administering church based massage reserved only for pregnant women in his church,” it reads. Ntshwarisang was convicted of rape under Section 141 - Penal Code - of which Subsection 3 reads that, “any person convicted of the offence of Rape shall be required to undergo a Human Immunodeficiency Virus test before he or she is sentenced by the court.”

In this case, the court determined that the accused based on his medical records was aware that he was HIV positive prior to the rape and thus used Subsection 4 to sentence him, “…to a minimum of 20 years’ imprisonment or to a maximum term of life imprisonment with corporal punishment, where it is proved on a balance of probabilities, such person was aware of being Human Immunodeficiency Virus positive.” In his judgment Moroka sentenced the accused to the “…mandatory 20 years imprisonment.” Moroka reinforced what he considers to be the best interests of society; “It is in the interest of society that a deterrence sentence be passed with twin objectives of deterring similarly mined persons and in particular putting the accused out of circulation for a considerable period.” The alternative judgment, if it was proved that the accused had been unaware that he is HIV positive would be “a minimum of 15 years’ imprisonment or to a maximum term of life imprisonment with corporal punishment.”

Research studies show that although HIV is criminalised to varying degrees across the world; there are both pros and cons to criminalising it, and there is no evidence that new HIV infections will be curbed by this. The Oslo Declaration on HIV Criminalisation was adopted in Norway in 2012 and has since been endorsed by “…some 1650 civil society organisations, health and legal experts from around the world.” The declaration states that HIV is not spread by people who know their status, that HIV epidemics are driven by undiagnosed HIV infections. The declaration adds that the criminalising of HIV “…does more harm than good…” and that “neither the criminal justice system nor the media are currently well-equipped to deal with HIV-related criminal cases. Relevant authorities should ensure adequate HIV-related training for police, prosecutors, defence lawyers, judges, juries and media.”

Subsequently and during the 22nd International AIDS Conference 2018 in Amsterdam (Netherlands) another group of “leading” HIV scientists issued a joint statement “urging governments to pay close attention to the significant advances in HIV science to ensure that science informs the application of criminal law in cases related to HIV.” A local attorney, Victor Ramalepa of Ramalepa Attorneys says he supports Botswana’s Public Health Act, “Anybody who puts the public in any form of danger knowingly and deliberately must be prosecuted. I am not specific to HIV; I mean any other communicable disease. If you do not warn the other person, and you do not afford them the use of protection you must be prosecuted.”

Kennedy Mupeli, a representative of CEYOHO, also living with HIV shares his views. “It is negligent on your part to sleep with me without knowing my HIV status when we are in a consensual intimate sexual relationship. If I am accused of willfully exposing someone to HIV, the one who allegedly acquired HIV from me should be equally charged for willfully acquiring HIV. “If I get a sexually transmitted disease or STI from someone I should be held equally responsible for acquiring the STI. It is up to intimate sexual partners to protect themselves from HIV via condoms or PrEP.” Mupeli shares similar views with other human rights activists that in the absence of rape there is no need for a person to disclose their HIV status.

“We are not supposed to be pushed against the wall, with a criminal burden on our backs,” says Mupeli. His argument is that he cannot be disclosing his positive HIV status to all sexual partners. “We have to be careful because some people know they are HIV positive and are looking for a source to blame. “We don’t need that law it is not effective but draconian. Currently most people who are HIV positive are on treatment and cannot transmit HIV,” states Mupeli.

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Member of Parliament for Selibe Phikwe West Dithapelo Koorapetse has accused Permanent Secretary in the minisrty of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development Pearl Ramokoka of being a ‘bully’. The clearly agitated MP asked Minister Thapelo Mabeo in Parliament: “Are you aware that your Permanent Secretary is bullying her staff to the point where some people are even suffering from strokes?

“What is wrong in that ministry? Why are you not addressing problems in your ministry”? Koorapetse’s outbursts were in response to Mabeo’s answer regarding one female officer on D3 salary scale in the ministry (name withheld) who has been paid close to half a million Pula for the past 24 months while she does not do any work. This happened after the officer disputed her transfer from the department of Labour where she worked as Principal Industrial Relations Officer to the department of Gender Affairs as Senior Gender Officer (D4) in the former Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs on the 28th September 2016.

According to minister Mabeo, the officer did not honour the transfer claiming that the Director at her new duty station did not give her work. But, responding to Botswan Guardian through her attorney Letsweletse Martin Dingake this week, the employee explained that the reasons for her transfer were not advanced, neither was there consultation in accordance with The General Orders 12. “I did not refuse the transfer, I recieved the transfer letter on the 4th October 2016 then I started winding up at Labour, on the 12 October 2016.

“I went to report at Gender Affairs, to the Director. During the introductory discussion then the Director indicated issues which in her view would adversely impact on my performance and progression, including the issue of diploma”. She said that at the time the PS had just been given a qualification waiver allowing Diploma holders to progress beyond D3. The waiver was not applicable to Gender Affairs and Occupational Safety and Health Department because entry level is strictly Degree.
It was only applicable to Labour, Immigration and Civil and National Registration (Omang).

“She returned me saying that she wants to talk to the PS. I made a written confirmation that I was returned and in an exchange of correspondence they indicated that I did not have proof of return”.  She later challenged the administrative decision to transfer her and the court ruled in her favour on 24th January 2019 and now occupies her original position as Principal Industrial Relations II, in the Department of Labour and Social Security. Koorapetse wanted minister Mabeo to say if he is aware that this employee has not been allocated work for 18 months following the transfer dispute and that she has been paid up to nearly half a million for two years, “that is the total of around P498 000 but without work”?.

Mabeo said the officer could not be allocated work in the Ministry of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development as she was substantively an employee of the Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs. The minister did not deny that the officer was not given work. He said the fact that she has been reinstated but even up to now she is not being given work is something that is “honestly appalling”. He added, “We cannot keep on paying an officer that is not doing any work, it is unacceptable. That is why I am saying I am going to follow up this matter”.

Mabeo told parliament that, “I spoke to the officer just before I came to Parliament, and she has regrettably confirmed to me that even though she has been reinstated, she is not being given work. “I will be going back to engage the executive at my ministry because this is administrative”.

Koorapetse asked why the Permanent Secretary cannot be surcharged for the loss of money through payment of work not done and the court case costs, to which Mabeo said the provision under which surcharge could be invoked was “deemed irrelevant to this particular case”. Surcharge is provided for in Section 43 of the Public Finance Management Act Cap: 54:01. The circumstances under which the power of surcharge may be exercised are varied, but mainly involve wilful default or negligence pertaining to custody of public finance and property.

But Koorapetse was not done with the Minister. “You know I have several questions coming your way regarding your Permanent Secretary. What is it that you are doing substantively and properly to deal with the Permanent Secretary”? Keorapetse asked Mabeo if he realises that he has a problem with his Permanent Secretary and that there will be many such cases of litigation, which the ministry will lose, “and you are still telling us that it will not be proper to surcharge the Permanent Secretary? Mabeo promised to follow up the matter. “I do agree with you, like I have earlier alluded to. There is no way we can be paying an officer who is just sitting in the office, who is supposed to be providing a service to the people. I fully agree with you, it is very awkward”.

Not only is the Permanent Secretary allegedly bullying staff members to a point where some employees are suffering from strokes, some officers are said to be rendered irrelevant and allegedly transferred to departments where their skills are of no use. However in an interview with Botswana Guardian the PS dismissed the MP’s rantings saying he was misiformed by some employees who just don’t want to work.

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Businessman and Member of Parliament for Tati East Samson Moyo Guma, has successfully managed to place under Provisional Judicial Management his United Refineries Botswana Holdings (URB) – a cooking oil manufacturing plant in Francistown. Guma’s petition comes weeks after he was reported to being followed by the taxman. Guma is the Chairman of the company.

Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) was reported to be after Guma’s companies for failing to pay tax. Guma is unhappy that state institutions are being used to fight political wars. BURS and Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) have been raiding some high-profile people for tax related matters among them tax evasion. URB has been put under provisional Judicial Management through an order of the court by Justice Tshepo Motswagole of Gaborone High Court.

Justice Motswagole has ordered that while the order remains in force URB shall be under the direction and management of the Provisional Judicial Manager Evans Munalula, and that the said Provisional Judicial Manager shall himself be subject to the supervision of the Registrar and Master of the High Court. “As from today any other person or persons vested with the management of the Respondent’s affairs shall be divested thereof, and that the affairs of the Respondent shall forthwith be managed by Provisional Judicial Manager appointed in terms of this order. The Provisional Judicial Manager shall discharge the duties prescribed by Section 472 as read with Section 474 of the Companies Act.

“The Provisional Judicial Manager shall be empowered without the authority of the shareholders but subject to the authority of the creditors and the Master, to borrow money with or without security on behalf of the Respondent for the purpose of paying essential running expenditure in and about the business of the Respondent including salaries, wages, and utilities for the business required by the Respondent and to pledge the credit of the Respondent for any goods or services required,” said the Judge.

Justice Motswagole ordered that while URB is under Provisional Judicial Management all actions, proceedings, the execution of all writs, summons and other processes against the URB be stayed and be not proceeded with without leave of the court being obtained.
He ordered a rule nisi (temporary order) returnable on April 12th 2019 calling upon all interested persons to appear and show cause, if any, to the court why a final Judicial Management order should not be granted. Any party intending to oppose the relief sought in the proceedings is expected to file their notice of opposition in terms of the Rules of the High Court and file their answering affidavit.

According to BDC website the mandate of URB is to procure, refine and distribute vegetable oil in Botswana, with particular interest in the Botswana market and also the export market in countries in the SADC region. The company manufactures crude cooking oil through a refinery. The company imports the raw sunflower it uses for producing its cooking oil from South Africa.

In 2015 then Assistant Minister of Trade and Industry, Advocate Sadique Kebonang described progress made by URB towards realisation of an edible oil refinery and seed crushing plant construction as impressive. Advocate Kebonang who was touring URB plant in March that year said he was happy that the URB team made the project visualisation a reality by utilising available skills.

The close to P100 million project is estimated to refine between 2 500 -3 000 tonnes of edible oil per month. URB, a 100 percent citizen-owned company, manufactures cooking oil at its edible oil refinery plant situated at the Dumela Industrial Site in Francistown. The company was issued a licence to start operations in October 31st 2016.

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The University of Botswana is hosting an international conference on ‘race, identity and globalisation in Southern Africa and beyond’ today (February 22nd) and tommorrow at the Library Auditorium. It is a collaboration between the Department of French at the University of Botswana and two French research laboratories GRER-ICT (at the University of Paris – Diderot) and CREA (at the University of Paris – Nanterre).

The theme of the conference has attracted participants from Africa, Europe and beyond given that the issue of identity affects everybody in spite of social, economic or political background, but instead, as stated by head of French department at UB Rodah Nthapelelang, “It calls for introspection of the individual and introspection of the collective in order to define the self”.

Nthapelelang says that as individuals we are called every day to define our identity, be it through subtle means or in administrations. The individual has to know their identity. A nation has to know its identity. Identity therefore, is not stagnant; it evolves over time, it changes on the basis of contexts and at any given point in time, identity can be problematised, she said.

The main question is how one defines their identity in a globalised world. How does the individual define their identity within a collective? How do states manage to keep their particularity and avoid being engulfed in this “monster” which is globalisation?
The conference is bilingual- with some presentations in French and others in English.  Prof Kwesi Prah, an author of several books including Beyond The Color Line (1997), public speaker, and Sociology professor will provide a keynote address on “Nurture and Nature: Race and Culture, Myth and Reality”.

In the context of Botswana, presentations will revolve around Ethnicity in Botswana; Racial and National Identity in Botswana; Cultural Supremacy and Politics; Linguistic and Cultural Diversities of Botswana;  Botswana amidst hostile settler regimes of Southern Africa; Marginalised communities and identity politics; Race, gender, class and ethnicity in Botswana; Dual and complex identities of Batswana in Botswana and the Diaspora; Cultural Fluency and the politics of Belonging or not Belonging; and Performing the Botswana Identity.

The research outputs are aimed at informing policy locally and even beyond. Nthapelelang said that as a Centre of Excellence, the University of Botswana has got numerous partnerships with Universities over the world and that this confertence is an example of the networking that forms the basis of a solid academic foundation.

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Tuesday, 26 February 2019 15:47

BOSETU calls for National Education Pitso

Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) have called for a ‘National Educational Pitso’ to address issues that lead to poor final examination results in the country. BOSETU blames the declining performance results of Botswana General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) on government and the ministry of Basic Education.

For more than five years now, BGCSE and Junior Certificate (JC) results have been registering poor performance. BGCSE results released last week show St Joseph’s College as the only school that has scored above 40 percent of candidates attaining 5C’s or better  for the past two years. It performed better among other schools in 2018 exams with the top record of 47.75 percent, while the lowest performing school is Goodhope Senior Secondary School with a pass mark of 10.92 percent which places it as the last performing school of the 34 senior secondary schools in Botswana.

Botswana Examinations Council (BEC) Executive Secretary, said at the media briefing that a total number of 32 470 candidates wrote the 2018 examination showing a decrease of 12.8 percent in candidature compared to the 2017 cohort of 37251. He said that the results marked a very slight improvement of 0.5 percent based on 5Cs or better pass rate. In 2017 it was 24.1 percent while this year, it is 24.6 percent. Deputy President of BOSETU, Mogomotsi Motshegwe says the declining results for the past years are not healthy for a country that aspires to become a knowledge-based economy. He says while the budget allocates a large share of funds to the education ministry, the results do not correspond.

The union blames this on misplaced priorities. He cites the imbalance in teacher-student ratio as one factor that impinges on the teacher’s ability to observe all the students and give them attention to help them excel. “A class of students can be occupied by up to 52 students!”This further hinders the opportunity for tutorials and remedial teaching that could help improve students’ results. “During practical subjects like Home Economics and Design and Technology, where students are expected to be hands-on to learn the skills, even the time can just pass out without all the students doing their practicals due to the larger number in class because it is just too much for the teacher to demonstrate for each of them,” said Motshegwe.

Automatic promotion of students to another level is another factor leading to poor final exams results. “This causes such situations like those in which students are at junior school yet they cannot write their own names. “Standard four attainment tests used to be taken into consideration but nowadays students just proceed despite their pass mark,” he said. He also mentioned lack of resources in schools as a cause of poor performance because students cannot learn efficiently.

“There are no books in schools and this forces students to share at school which means they can’t carry textbooks home where their parents can also take part in their school work,” Motshegwe said emphasising that this compromises the quality of education in the country. “There is no way students can be ready for work when our education system is mostly based on theory than practicality. This is why graduates can’t get jobs. This should be worked on from primary level to tertiary level,” he said.

He also lamented the absence of syllabus for brigade institutions where a lot of students apply to when they do not do well in BGCSE. “The Ministry should scrutinise issues like this one,” he said. BOSETU suggests that there should be a ‘National Educational Pitso’ to enable all relevant stakeholders to help with research and serious recommendations.

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Parliament has approved a motion to reconsider its decision to ban plastic bags and introduce the plastic levy policy. Presenting the motion on Friday, Member of Parliament for Gaborone North Haskins Nkaigwa said the standard of plastic carrier bags should be maintained by businesses and government should educate consumers on the danger of plastics on the environment.

“Government should also encourage research and innovation on the adoption of environmental friendly carrier bags not made from plastics and be adopted over time without compromising the relevant industries,” said Nkaigwa. Nkaigwa said if the policy to collect levy is introduced jobs can be created and other development projects could be done. “The environment itself presents viable opportunities for job creation and economic development but the ministry is not considering it,” he said.

Last year the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism reversed the decision to ban the use of plastic bags stating that it is still in discussions with the industry players. According to Kgalagadi Plastics Industries (KPI) Managing Director, Raj Patel government could have raised about P480 million if the levy could have been implemented.

“Considering our production in a month, we produce 10 million bags and the levy would be charged at 40 thebe per plastic, so government could be collecting P4 million in a month. This means P48 million could be collected every year and now government could have made P480 million in 10 years,” said Patel.

For his part, Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Kitso Mokaila said they are currently in discussions with the manufacturers and other stakeholders to come up with the best solution to their concerns. Speaking to Botswana Guardian, Patel said that they are currently looking for ways to come up with biodegradable material and they are suggesting that government should not ban the use of plastic bags. 

“We have engaged consultants from UK and they are coming next week. Government should not ban the use of plastic bags because the problem is not the plastic bags but the people. Government could be educating the consumers about the use of plastic bags,” said Patel.

He said currently the plastic manufacturing industry employs more than 800 people so jobs are going to be lost if government can ban the use of plastics. “We need to find a better solution for our country. If we look at other countries like UK, USA they still use plastic bags but they have policies and have raised awareness on the effects of plastics on the environment,” he said.

Last year June the ministry issued a statement indicating that effective 1st November the use of shopping plastic carrier bags would be prohibited and offenders would face charges of seven months imprisonment or fined an amount of P5000. 00.

However the ministry pointed out that there has never been a detailed research done locally on the dangers of plastic bags but stated that the country must strike a balance between economic growth and environmental conservation. Currently there are more than 40 countries that have banned, partly banned or taxed single use plastic bags, including China, France, Rwanda, Kenya and Italy.

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A modern private medical facility is set to be built in Francistown, thanks to Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry’s efforts to attract foreign investors to Botswana.

Minister Bogolo Kenewendo told parliament that the fruits of their investment attraction efforts were beginning to show. “We are currently in discussions with several producers and a private hospital to set up operations in Francistown,” she said. The discussions include looking for a 20, 000 sqm space for a certain producer, whom she did not name. Francistown has also been declared one of the seven Special Economic Zones (SEZs) that will be master-planned for by the end of 2019. While there is currently no consideration for establishing Francistown Economic Diversification Unit (FEDU), Kenewendo confirmed that BITC office will open in Francistown, particularly to deliver the one-stop business service centre, so that it can facilitate all the investors that come through Francistown.

The office will be responsible for promoting business development and encouraging investment in the northern part of Botswana. It will service both domestic and foreign investors in Francistown and surrounding areas, as well as adjacent regional blocs such as Selebi Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit (SPEDU), Orapa, Letlhakane,  Pandamatenga, and Kasane regions to name a few.

Kenewendo was answering a question from MP for Francistown South, Wynter Mmolotsi who had asked what her ministry was doing to attract investment to Francistown considering the current unemployment situation which resulted from closure of mines.
He also wanted to know if she would consider establishing the Francistown Economic Diversification Unit (FEDU) to perform similar functions to the SPEDU. Kenewendo said the ministry continues to attract investment and encourages business development across all of Botswana, through its various targeted investment promotion initiatives and that includes Francistown through Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC).

Business development initiatives have been undertaken in Francistown.These include investors’ seminars such as African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) awareness, United Nations (UN) Procurement and Exporter Round Tables. Other exercises were held in partnership with other parastatals such as CEDA and LEA as part of the ministry’s Investment and Trade Outreach Programme for 2018/2019.

Mmolotsi asked if the minister would extend any special dispensation like tax incentives to people who want to establish businesses in Francistown like has been done for businesses in Selebi Phikwe. Kenewendo said one of the services they are offering in reserved areas is a one-stop service centre and promised that they are bringing it to Francistown. Other special dispensations that are particular to manufacturing industries and can also be extended to Francistown include the 15 per cent manufacturing tax incentive.

Published in News
Tuesday, 26 February 2019 15:09

Lessons from Isaac Kgosi’s fall

The rise and inevitable fall from grace of former DIS Director General, Isaac Kgosi, can be attributed solely to his handler, former President, Ian Khama. In the fog of power, Khama just lost control of Kgosi. By the time the fog cleared, Kgosi had firmly asserted himself as a centre of power. In a short space of time, Kgosi had evolved from being a centre of power, to being power itself. And all credit to him; Kgosi had power, abundance of power. But unchecked power is an opiate. 

In a while, Kgosi had successfully summersaulted Khama. Instead of being handled, he was the one handling Khama. And the poor Khama just like the rest of the nation became a spectator, watching helplessly as Kgosi embarked on an ambitious endeavour to be god. Kgosi took total control of Khama. He determined what Khama heard and saw. He even determined friends and foes for him. The only thing he left for Khama was showmanship and it was for a reason. Khama was free to go on his beloved rent-a-Messiah shows, where he would dance Polka the rural folks and later quench their thirsty with sweet-aid all in his endeavour to ‘eradicate’ poverty. As really how blankets, diphaphata and soup could be marshalled as strategic instruments of poverty alleviation, remained inexplicable. However, to Kgosi, these roadshows were an important distraction to oversight that Khama ought to have exercised on his trustee.

With no one watching him, ‘Mzico’ as they affectionately call Kgosi, went on overdrive pillaging, foraging and buccaneering the state. The DIS could not have been a more perfect tool for this looting. The DIS served as both an instrument of attrition and accumulation. He deployed it against those he perceived to be blocking his highway to wealth. All nefarious means including blackmail, bribery, extortion or even elimination were deployed and employed against his perceived adversaries. The only safe ones were those willing to ‘toe’ the line of his self-serving agenda. These league of friends were rewarded handsomely and some turned millionaires overnight.

The ongoing raids and revelations have gone to point the extent and nature of unhealthy business relationships between Kgosi and some conmen masquerading as businessmen. The staggering amount of public funds transacted between the DIS and these conmen goes on to prove sense of impunity, entitlement, and greed that prevailed at the time. Khama’s inaction to bring his trustee to account led many to conclude that there were, ‘birds of the same feather.’ Despite all glaring evidence, Khama stood by Kgosi, and the milking of the country continued unabated.

My sincere advice to President Masisi is that, ‘bodiba bo jeleng ngwana wa ga mmago, e re o bo bona, o bo dikologe.’ Intelligence services by default, comes with power, because knowledge is power. It is common cause that the new Director General, Peter Magosi would command substantial power. However, the buck stops with President Masisi and Parliament to bring him into immediate order if they reasonably suspect he is going rogue. Our intelligence services have in the past, failed beyond doubt to keep their secrets secret and have raised legitimate doubts amongst the general public on whether they can be trusted to continue to operate in secrecy with minimal oversight.

Instead of fighting to disable our enemies, our intelligence services were on aggressive crusade to loot. I sincerely hope, Masisi would learn from the mistakes that Khama made with Kgosi and that Brigadier Peter Magosi would learn from Kgosi’s downfall. Friends and foes, permit me to once again repeat Lieutenant General Louis Fisher’s words that “No one has his fate in his hands.”
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Tuesday, 26 February 2019 14:44

Is multi-level marketing profitable

If the title confuses you, think Tupperware, think AmWay. This form of marketing is also known as network marketing. In my opinion, this is the most natural form of marketing that has unfortunately been exploited by many pyramid schemes. In fact, a pyramid scheme has almost the same blueprint as network marketing, save for a few differences.

Just as a disclaimer, this article is only a fair assertion on how one can avoid pyramid schemes, and how one can make money from MLM, if at all. Humor me. So let us start with the basics. How do you distinguish a pyramid scheme from a legitimate MLM? In 1979 Amway won a landmark case, in which it was declared that they are not a pyramid scheme. They noted the following factors as distinguishing factors between them and pyramid schemes. Legitimate MLM’s do not pay fees for simply recruiting new salespeople. This is one of the most basic ways of telling apart the scammers. Ask yourself these questions, why would anyone pay you for recruiting a sales person who is not actually buying anything? How are they making profit from this practice?

To make money in a legitimate institution you have to sell actual products, like every business out there. As a manager, you get a percentage of the commission due to the salespeople in your team. So still, actual products are being sold. This is not true for a pyramid scheme. The best of MLM’s do not require you to buy starter kits or impose minimum monthly order values to stay on as a member. I mean imagine, as a salesperson, if you ever fall under your monthly quota, you have to use your own funds to supplement just to stay on as a member. When does this ever become profitable then?

Pyramid schemes will usually charge you joining fees and impose mandatory trainings, which come at a cost to you. They might also charge membership fees. The products sold in pyramid schemes (if you ever get here) are usually of low value and their price is usually not very competitive. To aggregate these points, a legitimate MLM has an ardent focus on product sales as opposed to recruitment. It seems quite elementary that to stay wary of the pyramid schemes doing the rounds you just have to observe the above. But below are a few more pointers on how to avoid them:

Avoid anyone who sells you a list of potential sales leads. Imagine, if this same list has been sold to 9 other people before you, it is probably washed out by the time it reaches you and hence useless. And to be fair, if they have the sales leads why are they not chasing them down?

Do not sign up for an MLM at a motivational event. Even when you do go for one of these events, take time outside of it to do your own due diligence about the company you are about to sell and its products. Are their products any good? Do they have any recent lawsuits against them? How are competitor products, and their pricing?

Be particularly wary of anyone who tries to get your buy-in by flaunting their own success. And the golden rule on anything money related; if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. It is easy to be purely critical of MLMs. To be fair though, many people have amassed wealth through this method of selling, or at least built a sustainable side hustle.

All this article aims to do is make you aware that there are scammers out there and how to be wary of them. As I said, this is the most natural form of marketing. Hence, many of us can become marketers for big companies like Avon, Amway, Tupperware and the like without having to get a marketing degree. You simply ask the people in your network to try out your products, and perhaps refer you to their networks. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Published in News
Tuesday, 26 February 2019 14:41

CMB directors, Lekalake face criminal charges

The first session of the final creditors’ liquidation meeting of Capital Management Botswana (CMB) adjourned last Thursday to April with the High Court Master, Chipo Gaobatwe ruling that CMB directors are in contempt of court. When wrapping up, attorney for the Liquidator, Peter Collins told the Court Master that he is still left with some people who must give testimony amongst them Chief Executive of Bona Life, Regina Vaka, but will appear on April 25 when the meeting resumes.

Collins said another person that must testify is Moitsheki Lekalake who came to the court briefly and disappeared, but did not give the liquidator his particulars. He then requested the Master to write a letter  referring him to the Attorney General because to refuse to come when subpoenaed is a criminal offence.

Collins said that CMB directors Rapula Okaile and Tim Marshland as well as their attorney, Gabriel Kanjabanga have contravened Section 430 of the Company’s Act. Kanjabanga was subpoenaed in his own right to explain his involvement because the liquidator discovered that he was involved in his official capacity in some transactions. The above section states that any person summoned by the Master or other officer in terms of subsection (3) or (4) who fails without valid excuse (a) to attend any meeting to which he has been summoned; or (b) to produce any book or document or extract from any book or document in his possession, custody or control, shall be guilty of contempt of court and liable to a fine not exceeding P1,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both.

Collins requested the Master to refer them to the Attorney General saying something must be done lest the integrity of the court, the office of the high court master and the meeting, is compromised. Collins told the court master that he has proof that Marshland has been served with summons to appear, he said Marshland contravened Section 512 and 513 of the Companies Act. He said he has an affidavit deposed by one Van Wyk from South Africa who delivered the summons to Marshland and explained that Marshland said he was not prepared to sign. Collins quoted the section which states that in every winding up of a company unable to pay its debts, all the directors of the company, including, if the Master so directs, in writing, any person who has been a director within a period of six months preceding the date on which the winding up commenced, shall attend the first and second meetings of creditors and every adjourned first and second such meetings.

The directors shall also attend any subsequent meeting of creditors if required to do so by written notice from the liquidator.  The Master or other officers in the public service who is to preside or presides at any meeting of creditors may summon any person, who is known or, on reasonable grounds, believed to be in possession of any property which belongs or belonged to the company or to be indebted to the company or any person who in the opinion of the Master or such other officer may be able to give any material information concerning the company or its affairs, whether  before or after the commencement of the winding up, to appear at such meeting or adjourned meeting for the purpose of being interrogated under section 431.

He requested the Court Master to write a letter referring the concerned parties to the Attorney General where they will be made to face criminal charges. In her ruling High court Master Gaobatwe ruled that Okaile and CMB directors are in contempt, but she finds it difficult to refer Okaile to the Attorney General as he delivered a sick note to the court and is not sure if he has recovered. She said she will write a letter for both Lekalake and Marshland to be sent to AG Chambers.Attorney for NBFIRA, Sipho Ziga requested the court Master to furnish them with the official court record in summary form of the first meeting as he has to present it before the high court.

To that the court Master Gaobatwe agreed and promised that the summary requested from her office will be available on February 28th. She ruled that new creditors though allowed will not be able to submit during the second meeting billed for April 25- 26, but will do so at a later date to be communicated.

Published in News
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