Botswana needs to create one (1) million jobs until the middle of the century if she is to achieve full employment. But, according to the Demographic Dividend report, in order to maintain the current unemployment rate the country will have to create 340 000 jobs until 2050.

Ambassador of the European Union to Botswana and SADC, Jan Sadek shared these staggering statistics recently during the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Sector (TVET) communication campaign dubbed “Making TVET cool”. Sadek said that demographic developers in Botswana will see thousands of young people enter the labour market in coming decades, in a context where the formal labour market is still small.

He advised that youth need to be empowered with skills that meet the market requirements of technical skills, soft skills and work ethics in order to get jobs.Entrepreneurial skills must be complemented by policies that support entrepreneurship in order to create self-sustained employment, he said. Sadek said that providing youth with access to education and Technical and Vocational Training is of paramount importance. “If we want to boost investment and create jobs, skills need to be matched with demands of the labor market,” he said.

He added that TVET increases employability by equipping the youth with the technical skills to meet labour market needs and opportunities. The campaign is aimed at changing the perception that society already has regarding TVET as programme targeting students with minimum pass rate. He added that TVET and skills training do not create jobs themselves, but that jobs are created by the private sector. “The active engagement of the private sector in all levels of the TVET system is fundamental to increase its quality and relevance through apprenticeships, internships and on-the-job training,” said Sadek.

He said making TVET an effective driver for the country’s economic and social development needs concerted efforts and actions of all stakeholders.“It requires a well-functioning governance framework that incorporates and balances stakeholders’ different interests, expectations and potentials through strong collaboration of public and private actors at all levels,” he said. Sadek shared that the EU is supporting skills development in several countries in the SADC region and that in Botswana they have a budget support programme targeting TVET reforms that amounts to 13 MUER. 

A representative of Changing Parents’ Persperctives on TVET, Victoria Damame concurred that a lot of parents perceive TVET to be meant for the less academically gifted students, which limits the potential and impact of the programme. “This is supported by certain views like vigorous entry requirements. Students who enrol for TVET mostly have less points and that even goes to an extent of hindering those with higher qualifications to choose a TVET course because a parent won’t allow it, with that perception that TVET is for the less academic students,” she said.

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Tuesday, 22 January 2019 16:47

David Kau brings one-man show

Twenty years after David Kau first started his successful career as a stand-up comedian the funny South African is slated to host his one man show at Maitisong Theatre on February 1st. The show, which marks the start of his SADC tour is dubbed Half man, Half Comic. The title of the show celebrates how he has spent half of his life in making people laugh.

The show is a special one for the Gaborone audience as it marks ten years since he last performed in Botswana. Now married and a father of three, Kau tells this publication in a telephone interview that it has been a while since he performed in a one-man show. He notes that this is the beginning of his SADC tour, which includes Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Lesotho.

He explains that it was a good time to come and celebrate his big milestone with his Botswana fans during the Botswana Music Awards weekend. He learnt about the awards from one of the most promising and talented gems of Botswana, namely Thato Jessica who is looking at breaking into the comedy market outside the country. Kau’s company, Disadvantaged Backgrounds Productions is trying to find a way that they can assist the performer to penetrate the market outside the country.

According to Kau, it was no brainer when it came to picking a partner that clearly understands his vision and can pull off a memorable show hence he settled on his long time trusted friend/partner, namely Fish Pabalinga of Leap Frog. The duo had previously worked together in shows that includes Miss Botswana. Over the past couple of years, he had to cut back on traveling as he wanted to focus on his family, and raising his children. “I decided to stay at home more. And I have also been making movies,” he explains.
To date, he has made close to 15 movies for Mzansi Magic. He has also moved a bit from doing political commentary.

“The material is different,” says Kau. He reveals that he is planning to take advantage of the many platforms that are available for creators. He is also working on a Black Only documentary. Blacks Only is one of the many projects he wanted to use to create a platform for the up and coming comedians. “The landscape and the economy has changed. We have more infrastructures, and we want to reach other countries such as Kenya, Ghana, Uganda and Nigeria where there is a strong comedy industry,” explains Kau.

His last visit to Botswana was to MC at Miss Botswana pageant and he was not successful as the audience were impatient with him. But, this is something that he has put behind him, and is looking forward to doing what he was best known for over the past twenty years.

Kau was discovered at the Smirnoff International Comedy Festival in October 1998 at The Baxter theatre in Cape Town. Over the course of the twenty years, Kau has risen, and grown to become a force to reckon with in comedy. Not one to hog the limelight, he has given a platform to some of the best comedians in South Africa including the likes of Celeste, Thapelo Tips, as well as Chris Mapane to mention a few through events such as the 'So you think you are funny. 'Reached for a comment, Pabalinga confirmed the event, and highlighted that this was one event that comedy lovers do not want to miss.

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The SADC Parliamentary Forum - a regional organisation of 14 Parliaments of the Southern Africa Region based in Windhoek, Namibia – is recruiting for qualified candidates from 12 of the member countries for the position of Secretary General.

The closing date for applications is 15th February 2019 while the position is tenable for the period 1st July, 2019 to 30th June, 2024. All member countries -Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, and Tanzania- are eligible to apply for the position with the exception of Zambia and Zimbabwe.

According to the SADCPF Secretariat, this is in the spirit of rotation, as was approved by the 44th Plenary Assembly on 4th December, 2018, in Maputo, Mozambique at which the decision to recruit for the position was taken. SADC PF serves as the voice of Parliamentarians on regional matters, and promotes regional cooperation and integration.

A Motswana citizen, Boemo Ndu Sekgoma, the longest serving director of programmes at SADC PF- currently holds the position of secretary general on acting capacity. This was necessitated by the void ocassioned by the departure of substantive secretarary general - Dr. Esau Chiviya - a Zimbabwean native, who was implicated in financial impropriety and has been subjected to a discipinary hearing chaired by SADC PF Executive Committee member, Adv. Duma Boko, who doubles as Chairman of the SADC PF Legal Sub-Committee
The Secretary-General is the Chief Executive and Accounting Officer of the SADC Parliamentary Forum set up under Rule 13 of the SADC PF Constitution, which provides that: “There shall be a Secretariat headed by the Secretary General and comprising such other staff as may be appointed by the Executive Committee”.

The Secretary General shall be appointed by the Plenary Assembly on the recommendation of the Executive Committee, on such terms and conditions of service approved by the Plenary Assembly.Among others the duties of the Secretary General of the SADC PF include corporate development, initiating new directives, as well as managing and co-ordinating the activities of the SADC PF subject to the general direction of the Executive Committee.

The Secretary-General is the Secretary to the Plenary Assembly, as well as other policy organs, and shall provide advice to the Plenary Assembly, the President, the Executive Committee and the policy organs on procedure and any other related matters.
The Secretary General shall coordinate the overall business and is the custodian of the Journals and records of the Plenary Assembly, and shall ensure the timely dissemination of records and implementation of resolutions.

The Secretary-General, as the head of the Secretariat is responsible for ensuring effective day to day operations, protecting the integrity of the Secretariat and managing the staff. In this context, the Secretary General is expected to provide effective professional and managerial leadership in the development and implementation of internal corporate, financial, administrative and human resources management strategies, policies and plans.

The Secretary-General shall be primarily responsible for the public representation of the SADC PF and promoting its aims and objectives. The Secretary General shall be responsible for maintaining relations with Member Parliaments and the host government, and for providing necessary advice and guidance as may be appropriate for ensuring the effective participation of the membership in the affairs of the SADC PF.

The post holder must be a citizen of a Southern African Development Community Member Country with at least a minimum of a relevant Master’s degree, including a good first degree from reputable universities; He or she must have a minimum of 10 years proven relevant experience in top managerial positions in reputable organisation/s. Parliamentary experience is not a necessity but will be an added advantage; and must be 55 years old or younger, as at 1st July, 2019.As an equal opportunity employer, SADC PF strongly encourages qualified women, with the requisite experience to apply.

Applications must be made through the Member Parliament of the country of which the candidate is a citizen.

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SADC Parliamentary Forum President, Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos and his team are lobbying member states to support the transformation of the SADCPF into a SADC regional Parliament.

 The intense lobbying happens as the region braces for the 38th SADC Summit of heads of state and government slated for 1 - 18th August in Windhoek, Namibia, which is expected to endorse the request. Immediately after the 43rd Plenary Assembly Session of the SADCPF in Luanda, Angola late June, Dias dos Santos jetted into Zambia’s capital, Lusaka to lobby President Edgar Lungu to support the transformation of SADCPF into a fully-fledged SADC regional Parliament.

Dos Santos, who doubles as Speaker of the National Assembly of Angola, was accompanied by SADC PF Acting Secretary General, Boemo Sekgoma. When opening the 43rd Plenary Assembly of the SADCPF, Angola’s President, Joao Manuel Gonçalves Lourenco reaffirmed his country’s commitment to integration agenda and in supporting the role of Parliament.

According to press reports, Lourenco assured delegates gathered in the Palace of the National Assembly of Angola that the issue of SADC PF’s transformation into a SADC Regional Parliament was being considered at the highest level in Angola and would be discussed at the next summit of SADC Heads of State and Government in Namibia.

SADC Parliamentary Forum, which currently boasts 14 national Parliaments and some 2500 MPs, was established under Article 9(2) of the SADC Treaty by the SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government held on 8th September 1997, in Blantyre, Malawi. The Forum was set up to “constitute a Parliamentary Consultative Assembly, the ultimate goal being the establishment of a Regional Parliamentary Framework for dialogue on issues of regional interest and concern”. Twenty-one (21) years later, it will appear this is finally coming to pass.

But it has not been a walk in the park for SADCPF.SADC PF first presented its request for transformation into a Regional Parliament to the SADC Summit in August 2004 in Grand Baie, Mauritius, but the request and subsequent others at the February 2008 SADC Council of Ministers’ Meeting in Lusaka, Zambia; the August 2011 SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government in Luanda, Angola, and the August 2015 SADC Summit in Gaborone, Botswana – were all rejected.

The reasons advanced by SADC Summit for rejecting the transformation of SADCPF into a regional integration were that “Member States should firstly aim for the consolidation of the Pan African Parliament (PAP); that Member States should, first of all, finalise the process of rationalisation of the African Union Regional Economic Communities (AU RECs); Member States should endeavour to define the relationship between the RECs and the African Union (AU) more broadly as this may help to better understand both the role and the scope of the Regional Parliament, and lastly, that the idea of establishing a SADC Regional Parliament may be considered in the distant future.”

According to documents seen by this publication, the second time the Forum presented its request for transformation was during the February 2008 SADC Council of Ministers’ Meeting held in Lusaka, Zambia. The third time was in August 2011 in Luanda, Angola during the SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government; and the fourth time was during the August 2015 SADC Summit held in Gaborone, Botswana.

On all these occasions, the Summit repeatedly adopted the pre-conditions laid down in 2004, when SADC PF presented its request for transformation for the first time. As a result, an ad-hoc Committee of the Executive Committee of the SADCPF was established to scrutinise the issue of transformation of SADCPF into a regional Parliament and report back, which it did on June 3, 2016 in Ezulwini, Kingdom of Swaziland (now Eswatini).

The Ad-hoc Committee was made up of Adv. Jacob Francis Mudenda, Speaker of the National Assembly of Zimbabwe, as Chairperson and members, Justice Dr. Patrick Matibini, SC, MP, Speaker of the National Assembly of Zambia; and Prof. Peter Katjavivi, Speaker of the National Assembly of Namibia.

When reporting back its findings, the Ad-hoc Committee made it unambiguously clear that the pre-conditions cited for not transforming the SADC Parliamentary Forum into a Regional Parliament, were not “ample justification”. On the excuse that member states should first aim for Consolidation of the Pan African Parliament (PAP), the considered view of the Ad-hoc Committee was that, except for the Southern African Development Community (SADC), all other Regional Economic Communities (RECs) of Africa have Regional Parliaments, hence the pre-condition to first aim to consolidate the PAP is, therefore, “untenable and not justifiable”.

The Ad-hoc Committee said it was interesting to note that all the other Regional Parliaments were in fact established regardless of the establishment/consolidation of the PAP. It said that in any case, PAP in its constitutive Protocol, acknowledges that the Regional Parliaments are the building blocks of the Continental Parliament, which was established by Article 14 of the Abuja Treaty of 1991, which established the African Economic Community.

The Ad-hoc Committee reported that the consolidation could therefore be better achieved through the establishment of Regional Parliaments, including the SADC Regional Parliament as one of the building blocks of PAP.

In addition, it was the Ad-hoc Committee’s humble view that SADC cannot arrogate itself the responsibility of consolidating PAP before establishing its own Regional Parliament, “as this is a matter or mandate for the African Union (AU) Commission”.  It found that there was therefore, no nexus or corollary between the consolidation of the Continental Parliament and the establishment of the Regional Parliament.

As for the second precondition regarding the need to finalise the process of rationalisation of the African Union Regional Economic Communities (AU-RECs), the SADC PF felt that If SADC is one of the defined Regional Economic Communities of Africa, “it is not clear how as a community or any of the other Regional Economic Communities would need to be rationalised” as a condition precedent to the establishment of the SADC Regional Parliament.  

The Ad-ho Committee said the process of rationalisation of the RECs has “already been consummated” by way of the signing of the African Free Trade Zone (AFTZ) in June 2015, in South Africa.  Furthermore, the Committee reported that the African Union (AU) Member States in June 2014, in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea signed the amended Protocol to the PAP’s Constitutive Act which paved the way for the Continental Parliament to assume legislative powers.

It said that when the Regional Parliaments of other RECs were established, the question of rationalisation of the AU and the RECs as a pre-condition for their establishment of their respective Regional Parliaments did not arise. “The SADC Parliamentary Forum is also of the view that the rationalisation of the AU-RECs is primarily the responsibility/mandate of the AU Commission.

To that extent, the issue of the establishment of the SADC Regional Parliament does not arise in the said rationalisation process,” the Ad-hoc Committee said in its report. 

As for the third precondition on the need to define the relationship between the RECs and the AU, the SADC Parliamentary Forum said it acknowledges and appreciates this need more broadly for the reason that such a clear definition of relationships would assist to better understand the role and scope of the Regional Parliaments being, East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), ECOWAS Parliament for West Africa, CEMAC for Central Africa, and the Maghreb for North Africa, which should “in any event include the proposed SADC Regional Parliament”.

The Ad-hoc Committee said there was no reason, therefore, why after Member States have defined the relationship between the RECs and the AU, the establishment of the SADC Regional Parliament should pose as an impediment, obstacle or challenge to its establishment. “In any event, the need to first define the relationship between the RECs and the AU appears not to have been an impediment, obstacle or challenge to the establishment of the other four (4) Regional Parliaments,” it said.

And regarding the last precondition that SADC Summit cited for declining the request for transforming the SADC PF into a regional Parliament, saying that the SADC Regional Parliament may be established in the distant future, the Ad-hoc Committee said that this reason should not arse at all. “Consequently, the establishment of the SADC Regional Parliament should not be forestalled as it is the only Regional Parliament that is yet to be established on the continent”.

The Ad-hoc Committee said while it appreciates that the headquarters of Pan African Parliament has been located in Midrand, South Africa within SADC, “that mere location of PAP should not deprive the SADC Region in establishing its Regional Parliament which the PAP requires as one of the five Parliamentary Regional building blocks”. 

Once these preconditions had been dealt with, the Ad-hoc Committee of the Executive Committee of the SADCPF suggested some strategies to facilitate the reconsideration of the matter. It was suggested that Speakers and Members of SADC Parliaments should engage their respective Heads of State and Government and ensure that Cabinets deliberate and agree to the transformation of the SADC PF into a SADC Regional Parliament.

It was further suggested that “a willing SADC Member State” be Identified and requested to move a motion on the Agenda of the Summit slated for August 2016 in the Kingdom of the then Swaziland (now Eswatini) for the establishment of a SADC Regional Parliament and to make a formal representation to SADC Senior Officials who are responsible for drafting the Summit Agenda. 

It is a trite observation that ever since the August 2016 SADC Summit, vigorous and intense lobbying for the transformation of SADCPF into a Regional Parliament has taken place, culminating with the courtesy call on Angola’s President Cde João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, on Tuesday 26th June 2018 by selected Speakers of SADC National Parliaments and leaders of the delegation at the 43rd Plenary Assembly to engage President Gonçalves Lourenço, as one of the champions for the transformation agenda to use his influence to convince other Heads of State to include the quest for transformation on the Agenda of the SADC Summit to be held in August 2018, in Windhoek, Namibia.  

The delegation also requested President Lourenco to lobby for the President of the SADC PF and selected Hon. Speakers to address the Council of Ministers/ Attorneys General at the August Summit. This would enable them to address first-hand any concerns that may be raised at the Summit instead of communicating through a lobbying document.

The courtesy call was in accord with the resolution of the Executive Committee which has been endorsed by the 43rd Plenary Assembly of the SADC PF. During their meeting President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço “affirmed his support as well as the support of the Government of Angola” to the SADC PF transformation agenda. The President advised the delegation to put in place the “necessary strategic preparatory processes” towards an effective lobbying effort which should lead to the ultimate goal of transforming SADC PF into a Regional Parliament at the next SADC Summit in Namibia this August.

The Speakers assured the Angolan President that the transformation of SADC PF will be cost-effective to Member States Parliaments because the headquarters of the proposed Regional Parliament will be housed at the current National Assembly in Namibia and that the proposed transformation of SADC PF into a Regional Parliament will not create an “autonomous organ” outside the SADC structures, but will be a “subservient organ” of SADC answerable to the SADC Summit’s authority.

It was finally agreed that every National Parliament must continue to galvanize support for the transformation by working closely with the relevant Government Ministries in their respective countries, in preparation for the SADC Summit to be held in Namibia in August 2018, when the Namibian President, Dr. Hage G. Geingob, is expected to take over the Chairmanship of SADC.

Among the Speakers that met President Gonçalves Lourenço were Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos of Angola also President of the SADC PF; Monica Mutsvangwa, Zimbabwe Senator & Vice-President of the SADC PF; Sephiri Enoch Motanyane, Speaker of the National Assembly, Lesotho; Professor Peter H. Katjavivi (Namibia); Nicholas Prea, Speaker of Seychelles); Baleka Mbethe (South Africa); Verónica Nataniel Macano Dlhovo of Mozambique and others.

The SADCPF has made considerable milestones such as the developing model laws on Eradicating Child Marriage and Protecting Children Already In Marriage, which provide benchmarks against which Member States can gauge the effectiveness of their national legislation; the Norms and Standards for Elections in the SADC Region which have been used both in the region and beyond as part of the orientation package for election observation missions.

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An estimated 250 million people are on the move around the world, including 28.2 million young migrants between the age of 2 and 15, says Head of Office at International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Botswana, Sikhulile Dlamini.

 Dlamini stated that even though migration dates to history the difference is that today more people are on the move than ever before. She was speaking at a National Social Workers Workshop on Case Management and Best Interest Determination for the Protection of Unaccompanied and Separated Migrant Children in Gaborone this week.

Migration has become not only the mega-trend of our time but also a contentions segment of the political discourse in countries of origin, transit and destination, she said. The two-day workshop held in partnership with the United Nations International Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) is expected to address challenges of mixed and irregular migration through policy advice, consultations and stakeholder workshops.

The IOM has been providing technical support to various stakeholders in Botswana since 2014, in efforts to enhance migration governance. It was during these trainings that stakeholders expressed the need to strengthen the capacity of Social Workers on Case Management and Best Interest Determination in relation to unaccompanied and separated migrant children.

“Today the focus will be on population that often encounters suffering during the migration process and or after arrival in countries of destination-unaccompanied and migrant children. As IOM we engage on migration-related matters with stakeholders. There has been a consistent message that Social Workers need a platform to reach consensus on a case management system that will enhance protection of this population.

“These efforts are aimed at promoting and upholding human dignity and protecting human rights, including the rights of migrant children, as enshrined in the Convention of the Rights of the Child and the Children’s Act of 2009,” she pointed out
Dlamini revealed that Africa is projected to have the largest population growth of any geographical region by 2050, which will have important consequences for international migration, and major implications for the continent’s economic development.

She said the people will move as they always have done. Dlamini said the philosophy of the IOM is that migration is not a problem to be solved but an issue to be managed. She indicated that in Southern Africa, contemporary economic migration has been influenced by multiple factors.

Dlamini said labour demand remains an important driver of economic migration in SADC. Madoda Nasha, Deputy Manager under Trafficking in Persons Unit in the Ministry of Defence Justice and Security said victims of human trafficking have to be treated as a special case.

He explained that ministry responsible for social welfare shall from money appropriated by Parliament for purposes of establishing and operating centres for victims of trafficking and accredit non-governmental organisations as centers for victims.

Nasha revealed that there is a Committee on Human Trafficking Prohibition which includes key stakeholders including most of the ministries. He stated that the committee is coming up with National Action Plan which would include the social workers who work closely with the victims.

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It is true that the best education one can get is to travel. This is exactly what happened to me during a recent weeklong educational trip dubbed 2018 Durban July Mega hosting of SADC countries.

There was no dull moment on any day, as we travelled a lot and slept in different top hotels. But day 5 remains indelible in my mind as this is the day I had to remember one of the world’s greatest icons and the first democratically-elected black president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. On this day, we visited the historic Mandela capture site. Without doubt the place has enormous significance because it is where he was captured and his long walk to freedom was interrupted for 27 years on the R103, the old main road about 5 kilometres outside the town of Howick on his return to Johannesburg.

Mandela was arrested on 5 August 1962, when he disguised as a chauffeur for Cecil Williams in what clearly shows he was sold out- this was 17 months of going underground. Records show to this day, it is not clear who could have been the informer, but certainly there was a tip off from a well informed person.Mandela was arrested after meeting with the ANC president Chief Albert Luthuli to report to him on the financial and military progress he had gained during his tour of some African countries.I first met Mandela when he came to Botswana subsequent to his release during a press conference at the old studios of Radio Botswana. During that day, I asked him two questions, being, is the Patriotic front in the agenda of the ANC and if it is, which parties will the ANC involve and for what reasons. And how does the ANC expect to share power with National Party when the ANC accuses the NP of orchestrating violence in the black Township?

Instead of answering me, Mandela looked me in the face and asked me what did you say your name is? This sent shivers down my spine. I felt like hiding and regretted that moment, but bravely put up my face and said Dikarabo sir. He followed with showers of praise on me saying that is a beautiful name and good questions too. To be honest, I never heard the answers to my questions as I was busy celebrating to have been given credit by a great man like him.

The next time I met Mandela was during the Gaborone Trade Fair. On that day, Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano was the guest speaker, but for whatever reason, Mandela decided to visit Gaborone in order to meet with him and the late President Sir Ketumile Masire who was the SADC chairman. On that day, I was on an assignment, but Mandela recognised me once again.Years later after his demise I got to realise that Mandela spirit still lives. It took an invitation and a partnership sponsorship between Tourism KwaZulu- Natal and Air Namibia and my employers who gladly release me for a well planned weeklong working holiday to KZN Province.

I have been to Mandela’s house 8115 Vilakazi Street in Orlando West, but did not experience the same feelings as I had when walking on the freedom path to the sculpture composed of 59 steel poles designed by Marco Cianfanelli. The capture site is one place to visit by all; it is an amazing site having started as an ordinary monument composed of a stone which captures the history of how he was arrested. But the present structure has completely changed thanks to the brains of one artist Marco Cianfanelli who gave it a facelift through his design and made it one of the most interesting sites to come across.   Records show that Cianfanelli created this national monument to mark the 50 years anniversary since Madiba’s capture.

The monument is made up of 50 steel columns and stands at about 9 metres high. The monument represents the momentum gained in the struggle through symbolism of Mandela’s capture, but they also suggest the idea of solidarity. It points to an irony as the political act of Mandela’s incarceration cemented his status as an icon of struggle, which helped to ferment the groundswell of resistance, solidarity and uprising bringing about political change and democracy. It was freezing cold on the day of our visit, but that could not deter us from gaining the experience and being counted amongst those who stepped their feet here. It started with a brief of the site by the tour guide, and then we went inside the small house which tells a great history of Mandela in prison and other leaders such as Oliver Reginald Tambo through pictures.

I could not resist taking pictures along some of the huge portraits displayed in there. Then having fully understood the history of how he was captured, it was time to walk the path to one of the most amazing sculptures ever designed. Make no mistake once you enter into the pathway, it is just about walking to the sculpture for snap shot! No, on each side there are some iron boards carrying history of what happened in each year of the 50 years since Mandela’s capture just across the road. Having now toured the freedom park or capture site, it was time to go, but not before I could call our South African counterparts to join me to sing a few freedom songs which all black children both local and abroad used to sing whenever it was time to pursue and, or continue with the struggle. Amongst the songs were Siyaya I Petori and, Oliver Tambo…….. All in all this experience caused me to remember Mandela, the question is when will you the reader want to share this experience?

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Uniformed police officers accompanied by an Immigration officer stormed and arrested 12 Caprivian refugees in Gaborone’s Central Business District (CBD) this week Tuesday after they presented a petition to SADC Secretariat.

Twelve (12) Namibian refugees were arrested on Tuesday at Gaborone’s Central Business District (CBD) and detained for a night at Molepolole Centre for Illegal Immigrants before being whisked to Francistown Centre for Illegal Immigrants (FCII) the next day.
The refugees had gathered at the offices of the 15-member regional body, SADC Secretariat to hand a petition demanding that the regional body find a lasting solution to what they term the “Caprivi political situation”. The group, led by Felix Kakula, petitioned SADC over the Botswana deadline of July 11 2018 to have voluntarily repatriated risk being deported forcibly.

Botswana has taken a decision to finally enforce a cessation clause with respect to the status of Namibian refugees living at Dukwi, which was invoked in 2015. The decision came after President Mokgweetsi Masisi visited Windhoek in April this year where he was reported by the Namibian media to have said that Namibian refugees at Dukwi, Botswana are no longer regarded as refugees by his government but as illegal immigrants.

Speaking to Botswana Guardian on Wednesday while in Molepolole, Kakula said: “We are currently on the queue to board the trucks that will ferry us to Francistown. They arrested us on Tuesday around 3PM at Central Business District (CBD) in Gaborone after we were chased from SADC Headquarters premises. We spent the night here at least we are all adults who were arrested,” said Kakula. Information reaching this publication is that the 12 were arrested on grounds that they left Dukwi Refugee Camp without permission. Kakula does not dispute this. “Yes we left without permission.

If authorities at the camp cannot give you permission to gather around and pray or hold meeting what of telling them that you are petitioning a regional body?” asked Kakula.  He revealed that they were arrested on Tuesday afternoon by uniformed police officers in the company of one official from Department of Immigration by the names of Sedumedi Phillip Solomon who told them that they would be taken to FCII. Following the handing of the petition, the refugees had indicated that they would not leave the SADC premises until their matter is attended.

After the petition Kakula said they are not against the decision of Botswana Government to have them return home. The worry is about the political situation in their country. In a public notice posted on the Botswana government website a week ago, the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security announced that a decision has been taken to enforce the cessation clause with respect to the group’s refugee status, invoked in 2015. 

“All refugees are required to register in person for voluntary repatriation to Namibia from 11th May 2018 to 11th July 2018,” the notice read. The defence ministry said those who register will be facilitated for their return to Namibia as per the provisions of the Tripartite Agreement between the governments of Botswana and Namibia, and the UNHCR.

This directive did not go down well with the remaining 880 Namibian refugees who took their issue to SADC to intervene, saying they will only return home if the Namibian government accepts them as members of the outlawed United Democratic Party (UDP) led by exiled politician Mishake Muyongo.Kakula explained that it cannot be said to be safe to return to Namibia while the Namibian Government has not reconciled with them. The refugees want to return only if they and their leader Mishake Muyongo who is in Denmark are welcomed as UDP members.

Kalula indicated that they would not be silenced to speak about the Caprivi political problem adding that the same problem is the one that made them flee Namibia. UDP is a political party in Namibia representing mainly people from eastern Caprivi and advocating for the secession of what was known as the ‘Caprivi Strip’.

UNHCR Chief of Mission, Arvind Gupta told Botswana Guardian that if the 12 Namibians were refugees Botswana would have contravened the Convention and Protocol relating to Refugee Status. Gupta explained that those who were arrested and detained should not have left the Dukwi Camp in the first place.“If you call them refugees then government of Botswana would be wrong. But the fact of the matter is that they are no longer refugees. Their stay in the Dukwi Camp was for us to assist with facilitation for their repatriation back to their country following the declaration of the cessation clause.

“Botswana has enforced a cessation clause with respect to the status of Namibian refugees living in Dukwi, which was invoked in 2015. So if they leave the camp Botswana Government has the right to enforce any law that is applicable before their refugee status does not exist anymore,” Gupta explained in a telephone interview while in Dukwi.Minister of Defence Justice and Security Shaw Kgathi referred all enquiries to his Permanent Secretary Segakweng Tsiane. Tsiane could not be drawn into discussing the matter as she said she had back to back meetings and requested that she be sent a questionnaire in order to source information for this publication.

Efforts to get comment from SADC were futile at press time. Botswana Council of Churches (BCC) called on President Mokgweetsi Masisi to reconsider the 11 July 2018 deadline to ensure that the refugees’ repatriation is within the spirit of safety and peaceful settlement of all returnees, with particular reference to the issue of security clearance of the 16 political leaders.

Reverend Metlhayotlhe Beleme said BCC has received concerns from the representatives of refugees regarding security challenges at the Caprivi and related to that, lack of security clearance of the 16 leaders who are also expected to repatriate. Beleme stated that the council has been working with the refugees for years and continues to do so even after the closure of Botswana Council for Refugees (BCR) in 2004.He said they have been working with refugees from Namibia, the Caprivi Region. Beleme stated that this relationship is the one that compels the Council to plead with government on behalf of the refugees.

Published in News
Monday, 18 September 2017 15:53

SADC convene Double Troika on Lesotho today

SADC this week acted swiftly by approving Lesotho government’s request for the convening of a Double Troika meeting in Pretoria to help the country implement the SADC recommendations that will bring about everlasting peace in the troubled kingdom.

The regional economic bloc’s Double Troika plus 1 is scheduled for today (Friday) in South Africa’s capital, Pretoria. 

The Lesotho request was prompted by the assassination of the Commander of Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Lieutenant General, Khoantle Motsomotso on 5 September 2017 by two former soldiers who were also shot and killed during the encounter. 

The brutal killing of Motsomotso led to SADC Executive Secretary, Dr Stergomena Tax leading a fact finding mission of the Tripartite - plus one (South Africa) delegation to Lesotho last week. 

The delegation was composed of Angola as the Double Troika Chair, Zambia (incoming Chair) and South Africa who is the current regional economic bloc Chairman. The tripartite was accompanied by SADC security chiefs composed of both police and military personnel on September 7. 

Immediately after the assassination of the Commander, Lesotho Government hatched a plan to facilitate the seating of Double Trioka in order for it to endorse the Lesotho request of the deployment of the SADC battalion in their country.

In an exclusive interview with BG News Lesego Makgothi, Lesotho’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations revealed that currently everything seems to be quiet in Lesotho, “but all is not well in the paradise”.

Makgothi confirmed that his Government received the SADC delegation on September 7. He said at this fact finding mission, Lesotho stated its case before the delegation by depicting the events of 5 September the day that the LDF Commander was assassinated. 

“As Lesotho government, we further requested SADC for military deployment in a size of a battalion to support LDF to execute its mandate diligently”. Makgothi said in that delegation the Kingdom of Swaziland, which is the immediate past SADC Chair, was also represented, whilst South Africa was represented by her  High Commissioner, Sello Moloto as well as its security intelligence  and military attaché.

After the fact finding mission, the SADC delegation visited the murder scene of the commander at the army barracks as well as paid courtesy calls on His Majesty King Letsie III, Prime Minister Tom Thabane, the coalition partners being the third coalition Government, Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki who is the leader of opposition party, Alliance of Democrats (AD). 

They also visited Minister of Public Service, Chief Thesele Maseribane of the Basotho National Party (BNP) as well as Keketso Rantso Minister of Labour and Employment and leader of Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL). 

“The SADC delegation also met with stakeholders such as College of Chiefs, Christian Council of Lesotho, opposition parties and civil society as well as addressed a press conference.”

Meanwhile Makgothi said that the late Commander was buried on September 14 (yesterday) in his home town Butha-Buthe where he was accorded a full military state funeral. He said that LDF hierarchy has issued a communication that they have decided not to extend same privileges to the Commander’s murderers - Brigadier Bulane Sechele and Colonel Tefo Hashatsi - because they have dishonoured their commission. The two have also been under criminal investigation for the assassination of former LDF Commander Brigadier Maaparankoe Mahao Meanwhile Makgothi revealed that two high ranking LDF soldiers are in detention  in connection with  the death of their Commander. They are Major Ramoephane and Captain Nyakane who both are suspected of having aided the bandits who laid a trap for LDF and assassinated Gen. Motsomotso. “The information that LDF has is that the number of suspects is much higher, but it appears others did not know the plan well,” said Makgothi.

Published in News
Wednesday, 09 August 2017 11:19

Who is fooling who at SADC?

The catchphrase in all SADC Secretariat management responses to the Auditors findings is, ‘we have noted the observation, an independent investigation will be conducted and internal weaknesses will be addressed as would be identified’.

Both the Executive Secretary Dr Stergomena Tax and Acting Senior Procurement Officer, Gift Mike Gwaza claimed that everything was done in accordance with the tender documents when BG News started to expose the corruption on awarding of the tender to provide air travel and conference facilities.

They have maintained the same answer to the Board of Auditors on almost all the queries and findings of the audit. However, they promised having noted the observations, that an independent investigation will be conducted and that  internal weaknesses identified will be addressed.

The records show that Gwaza in his official capacity has on many occasions taken part in recommending and approving the many tenders that are questionable. The undisputable facts provided by the Board of Auditors’ findings show that the internal audit is allegedly not independent as the head of internal audit and its team members were involved in the bid evaluations for the activities not relating to the internal audit.

Under the procurement and contract management, the board of auditors confirmed that a Tanzanian company -World Link Travel Tours Ltd - was favoured as the terms prescribed in the prequalification criteria ITA 5.3 (d) were flouted. The audit states that the bidder - World Link Travel Tours Ltd- who was awarded a tender to the value of USD 20 million did not meet the required criteria stipulated in the bidding of documents as the bidder did not meet the financial requirement and did not submit the tax clearance certificate before the bid was closed. 

The bidding documents were signed on the contract is that the contract will be reviewed every six months. The period of the contract signed in December 2016 elapsed at the end of May. 

The audit is clouded by the Secretariat management position led by Tax stating that they will ask the external tender committee to do the investigation. But the financial experts are saying management should not hide behind the innocent tender committee as the committee relies on the information provided by the Secretariat, a matter which means if the information provided to them by the Secretariat  is inaccurate, then it will be difficult for the tender committee to detect it.

Worse still, amongst the weaknesses the auditors commented on is that under financial and performance management, the Secretariat did not implement proper record keeping to ensure that supporting documents for financial transactions and procurement are timely retrievable, user access management processes are inadequate, as there were weaknesses in terms of the segregation of duties on payroll and leave approval on the VIP systems.

Published in News

SADC Secretariat is rotting from the head, an Audit report has confirmed citing instances of tenders that are improperly awarded to foreign companies or the flouting of sovereign laws by executives hiding under diplomatic immunity.

In other instances interviews for short listed individuals who showed interest for positions advertised are cancelled willy-nilly to enable preferred acting personnel to continue holding the fort. This has led to the law enforcement agencies joining the fray to ascertain the veracity of the claims and, or allegations. Thankfully, the job of such agencies has been made much simpler by the findings of the Board of the Auditors report which confirms that corruption is rampant at the headquarters of the regional economic bloc.

The board of auditors noted that there is something fishy going on and ordered the Secretariat to investigate the whole contract for possible connivance.  The board of auditors recently completed its assignment and passed its report to the Audit Committee who met this week up to Wednesday at SADC headquarters to consider and make its final recommendations to the Council of  Ministers billed for next month (August). After studying the audit recommendations of the Board, the Audit Committee will hand over its report to the Council of Ministers who will pass its recommendations to the Summit of Heads of State and Government for final action. 

Commenting under the procurement and contract management, the board of auditors confirmed that a Tanzanian company -World Link Travel Tours Ltd - was favoured as the terms prescribed in the prequalification criteria ITA 5.3 (d) were flouted. The audit states that the bidder  - World Link Travel Tours Ltd- who was awarded a tender to the value of USD 20 million did not meet the required criteria stipulated in the bidding of documents as the bidder did not meet the financial requirement and did not submit the tax clearance certificate before the bid was closed. 

The audit further indicates that winner World Link Travel Tours Ltd has not fulfilled obligations related to the payments of the social security contributions or the payment  taxes  in accordance with the legal provisions of Tanzania- the country in which they are established- or with those countries where the contract is to be performed.

The criteria included that the bidder submit confirmation in terms of tax clearance certificate and, or a letter of good standing from the relevant tax authority in their country of origin. The auditors found that at the time of inspection of submitted documents, World Link Travel Tours Ltd had only a tax registration certificate dated 1999 with no other document to confirm their tax payments and returns are in order. 

The auditors state that World Link Travel Tours Ltd should have been disqualified for failure to meet the basic requirement by submitting the mandatory document. The auditors say non-compliance with the pre- qualification criteria constitutes non-compliance with the procurement policies and guidelines and this might lead to SADC dealing business with suppliers that are not law abiding. This clearly was the case as World Link Travel Tours Ltd operated illegally in Botswana. 

As for internal control, the auditors found that the Secretariat did not exercise its duties to ensure that the information required as per the set criteria in the bid documents is adequately evaluated against the submission before proceeding with appointing World Link Travel Tours Ltd.

The auditors have recommended that the Secretariat should establish how the company was not disqualified for failure to meet the set requirement. Further, the Secretariat should establish how the bid evaluation committee failed to notice such a basic thing that the winning bidder did not submit the mandatory document. 

 In his attempt to clarify the matter, Gift Mike Gwaza, the Acting Head of Procurement told the auditors that World Link Travel Tours Ltd provided a tax clearance certificate ILA/UP 16/07/20/2413 issued by the Tanzanian Revenue Authority dated 20 July 2016. The Auditors state that whilst they note the management comments, the fact is World Link Travel Tours Ltd tax clearance was not submitted on time as it was issued on 20 July, 2016 five days after the set closing date of 15th July, 2016. They ordered for the Secretariat to investigate why both adjudication and evaluation committees did not disqualify the World Link Travel Tours Ltd even though they did not have a tax clearance.Ironically, Gwaza who has been identified as a player and a judge  by participating in the due diligence process of confirming that World Link Travel Tours Ltd is the  right bidder, is the one who assures that management will undertake an independent investigation and that identified internal weaknesses will be addressed. 

Perhaps the most embarrassing matter raised by the audit is that none of the committees even the 5-man due diligence committee that travelled to Tanzania and Gwaza were part of, ignored the fact that World Link Travel Tours Ltd did not meet the financial resource requirement.

The audit findings state that a successful bidder for bid No. (SADC/Travel and Event/01/2016- was required to have a minimum average turnover related to the contract of USD 9 million calculated as a total certified payments received  for contracts in progress and, or completed within the last three years, way above World Link Travel Tours Ltd’s USD 7.730 170.37.Actually, the company had reported in its bid document that its average revenue for the past three years is USD 9053 000. The  Secretariat management defends itself by saying that the tender was carried in line with SADC procurement  policy guidelines and the tender was serviced by the external tender committee  comprising members from  Botswana, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. They argue that the bidding documents did not specify the conversion rates. However, the auditors said that the management comments  are misleading as they are not addressing the findings reported and neither disputing the fact that the average revenues of World Link Travel Tours Ltd  are not equal or above USD 9 m.

The above criterion is believed to have contributed in eliminating all local companies who provide such a service and have served SADC diligently in the past years. Efforts to contact both Dr Tax and Gwaza were not successful. They failed to return the calls from this publication. 

Published in News
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