Items filtered by date: Tuesday, 21 August 2018 - Botswana Guardian
Tuesday, 21 August 2018 12:30

Fund Trustees drilled on prudent investing

Fund Trustees have been implored to always conduct their fiduciary duties with utmost care and integrity in order to uphold prudent investing and safe guard against money laundering.

At the first 2018 Trustee Seminar under the theme, ‘Prudent Investing’, Botswana Pension Society Chairman, Peter Hikhwa said trustees need to appreciate the fact that they are entrusted with implementing appropriate investment strategies to ensure they provide their members with a return on their investment. “You are acting on behalf of your members and therefore it is critical that you act just as you would on your own behalf,” Hikhwa said.

Senior Policy Advisor at the Association of Savings and Investment South Africa (ASISA), Sunette Mulder concurred that Trustees need to note that after deciding on appropriate investment mandates in which to invest, the Fund will select an investment to give effect to those mandates. She said potential investment managers should be evaluated from both quantitative and qualitative perspectives – to assess their ability to make superior investment judgments.

In addition to a passion for investment, they must have in-depth knowledge of the markets’ workings, patience and tenacity; especially for contrarian strategies adopted, flexibility and an ability to invest, unfettered by vested interests.
She further added that experience also counts, as well as knowledge of how other market participants behave.

Mulder added that among other things, trustees need to select managers that are open minded to new and changing investment opportunities and dynamics, including accountability, remuneration structures which are goal congruent with those of the Fund’s investment criteria. As well as be open to best practice and ethical principles, at both individual and team levels.

Trustees were also encouraged to take heed of the Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS) – voluntary standards governing the calculation and presentation of investment performance based on the ethical principles of fair representation and full disclosure.
According to Muller, these ensure accurate and consistent data and that the fund obtains worldwide acceptance of a single standard for calculating and presenting performance; promote fair global competition among investment firms; promote industry self-regulation on a global basis and promote investor interests as well as instill investor confidence.

With the fast evolving regulatory environment, retirement funds’ investments are subject to stringent regulatory and anti-money laundering controls that Trustees need to be aware of. Managing Partner at Mundial Consulting, Romeo Benjamin said one of the challenges that financial regulators have in dealing with money laundering is that some institutions that are supposed to be shunning money laundering can harbor it and turn a blind eye.

For example, he said with current liquidity challenges that banks are faced with, it is difficult for them to turn away deposits. “Many banks require clients to disclose the sources of money when making deposits, however, laundered money can find a way into the systems,” Benjamin said.

He, however, stated that since September 11, regulations have become more stringent, resulting in the Financial Action task Force (FATF) Regulations 40+9, which includes the introduction of Know Your Customer (KYC) in financial institutions, among other initiatives.

Published in Business
Tuesday, 21 August 2018 12:25

Cresta expansion considers Ghanzi District

Potential mining activities boom anticipated in the Ghanzi district, on the backdrop of the commodities prices’ rise could see Cresta Marakanelo Limited open a hotel in the district soon.

Mokwena Morulane, Cresta Managing Director recently told shareholders that the group is making aggressive moves towards opening a hotel in Ghanzi.

“We are at the tail-end of concluding a lease. The economy of Ghanzi is bound to take off in the coming years,” said Morulane adding that mining and horticulture activities within the district would advance their business.
Plans to open in Ghanzi come as the company continues to scout for opportunities both locally and in the region.

Locally, the most recent venture is the Jwaneng Hotel and Maun Hotel, though they have been bleeding cash for the Group, Morulane sees a silver lining on the horizon.
“For example in Jwaneng Hotel in June, July, we have seen a takeoff, we are confident that a turnaround will happen,” said Morulane highlighting that the mines’ Cut 9 also presents opportunities.

Cut 9 is a project expected to deepen Jwaneng’s 650-metre pit to tap into an ore body that will yield approximately 48 million carats and support the mine to its end of life in 2034.
In Zambia, with a solid presence in Lusaka, the group is looking at other mining towns within the country for prospects.

Morulane said the company has also set eyes on South Africa and Zimbabwe, though uncertainties continue to haunt Harare.
“They are still going through some turbulence but we believe they will stabilise,” said Morulane, who remains confident of both local and regional market despite intense competition in the tourism industry. “We think we can enhance the goodwill of our brand in the eyes of our customers.”

In Botswana, the group has already shed off its market share from 25 percent to 12 percent, as competition heightens and new players enter the market.
“We are quite conscious of the challenges that we face but there are opportunities, potential partners approaching us in Botswana,” said Morulane highlighting 70 percent of the group’s business in Botswana has been coming from government.

“That’s too much of a concentration risk, we want to reduce the concentration risk of government as a major customer,” said Morulane.
Morulane is also reviewing the Group’s rental model from an eight percent escalation to a fixed rental to preserve shareholder value.

“The current model is not sustainable for us, we need to correct that imbalance,” said Morulane. Meanwhile, Morulane said the company will continue to embrace ICT in its operations, as a way to remain a preferred conference and guest facility. One of the company’s latest technology offering is the Cresta App which allows customers to book and process payment through their devices.

Published in Business

As disruptive forces in the financial services industry continue to be uncovered, Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) will host a workshop to discuss blockchain technology in September.

The workshop seeks to provide a comprehensive and fully-fledged understanding of the opportunities presented by blockchain. “Participants will understand the underlying mechanisms of blockchain technology suitable for capital and financial markets, taking into account regulatory and operations related constraints,” said a communiqué from BSE.

The communiqué further said the workshop is structured to utilise practical and concrete examples backed by case studies and global experience. The focus will be on the practical aspects of using blockchain technology based on real companies operating in the blockchain space.

“It has been uncovered that the technology offers significant efficiency gains and risk reduction, along with new opportunities for doing business.” The workshop has been designed for various practitioners including, but not limited to, asset managers, brokers, bankers, regulators, accounting firms, lawyers and wealth management companies. 

Some of the topics to be discussed include blockchain technology: how it works, blockchain technology impact on banking and financial services, world blockchain initiatives and dispelling myths about blockchain in the financial markets and regulatory developments around blockchain technology and crypto currency.  Blockchain has attracted a lot of interest from banks, exchanges, depositories, fin-techs and other players in the securities industry.

Published in Business
Tuesday, 21 August 2018 09:30

UDC constitution rejected

A new chapter within the opposition coalition Umbrella for Democratic Change is expected to take shape this week as the Registrar of Societies has rejected the party’s constitution.

The Registrar of Societies, Davids Okello-Wengi this week wrote to the UDC Secretary General in response to the two constitutions submitted by the warring parties within the UDC.
The constitution, which has been submitted to the Registrar of Societies, has divided the four UDC constituents of Botswana Congress Party (BCP), Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana People’s Party (BPP).

BCP and BNF, who submitted an amended constitution to the registrar, are in one corner pitted against BMD and BPP who are opposed to the submitted constitution. Both BCP and BNF set themselves similar deadlines during their respective conferences last month.

BNF resolved that having noted that the new UDC constitution has been filed with the Registrar of Societies, the BNF should ensure that the process is concluded within twenty-one (21) days. The BCP on the other hand resolved that having been appraised and deliberated thereof on the developments within the UDC collective, conference resolved to remain in the UDC, but directed that due to limited time before registration for the general election, all outstanding matters within the UDC should be resolved by mid-August 2018.

Responding to the submitted constitutions, the Registrar said that UDC is not a political party but a cooperation agreement by the four political parties for a common political goal. “All four parties are listed in the schedule, therefore, in our opinion, the registration of UDC’s constitution falls outside the scope of the Act,” reads the letter in part which some within the UDC have described as confusing.

Okello-Wengi described in the letter that the term “society” is defined in Section 3 of the Act to exclude any political party listed in the Schedule of the Act. The Registrar listed the political parties listed in the Schedule to the Act as BMD, BCP, BPP and BNF. “Therefore, the registration of political parties falls outside the scope of the Act,” reads the letter dated 13 August 2018.

It is not yet clear how the four parties within the constitution will react to the Registrar’s letter, however a source within the BCP told this publication that their lawyers will look into the matter and advice.
At press time BCP’s Phillip Monowe, who at the time was not aware of the letter, said as the party they have not been briefed by their representatives at the UDC leadership on progress regarding the constitution and other pending matters.

“Remember the constitution was not the only outstanding issue. We have the issue of wards allocation as well. There are areas where we engage with BNF, BMD and BPP on various wards. So our representatives on these matters would have to brief us after the deadline so that we decide a way forward. It is after these reports that we would be able to give a clear picture of where we stand,” said Monowe.

When addressing the media on Wednesday morning, BNF Secretary General who doubles as UDC Head of Communications, Moeti Mohwasa indicated that they hope to receive response from Registrar by end of day. However, when contacted by this publication at the end of business on Wednesday, Mohwasa said the response had not arrived yet.

Submission and approval of the UDC constitution has been one of the thorny issues that the BCP had long wanted dealt with as a matter of urgency. With both set deadlines having passed it is yet to be seen what would be the next cause of action by the two parties and their colleagues in the coalition. There have been speculations that should the constitution be approved, BMD and BPP would challenge such in court.

The constitution was submitted by UDC President Advocate Duma Boko and his deputy, Dumelang Saleshando who is also President of the BCP. The BMD and BPP have contested the submitted constitution through letters written to the Registrar of Societies.
Mohwasa revealed during the BNF press conference in Gaborone this week that they remain hopeful of a positive feedback. He told the media that proper procedure was followed when the constitution was submitted. According to Mohwasa all the necessary documents have been filed together with the constitution.

Mohwasa insists all procedures were followed to the letter including the signatory issue.
“During a meeting in Polokwane in 2016 it was agreed that negotiations would be between UDC and BCP. There were only two negotiating teams with six people from UDC and six people from BCP. We cannot now say individual parties were negotiating and the four presidents should sign, that would be insincere. Even our streams were just technical teams. UDC team was led by BNF Vice President Dr. Prince Dibeela while the BCP team was led by its Vice President Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang. So people should stop misleading themselves, well I do not know if they are misleading themselves or just undermining the President of the UDC,” said Mohwasa.

 “The constitution that has been submitted is the one that was agreed by the people. Authority came from the majority which is the members from all the four parties who gathered at Boipuso Hall in February this year. We cannot have 16 people who make up the UDC National Executive Committee (NEC) deciding for over thousands of people. As the NEC we cannot be seen to stifle things. The Boipuso Congress was the closing chapter of the UDC and BCP negotiations and the same congress which carries more weight than the NEC.”

Published in News
Tuesday, 21 August 2018 09:24

BOPEU main protagonists meet in court

Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU), President Masego Mogwera’s led National Office Bearers (NOB) have been accused of possibly embezzling huge funds from the union.

The legal battle has pitted BOPEU as 1st Applicant followed by Ogaufi Masame, Zibani Philemon, Mosalagae Tlhako and Motswaledi Monaiwa against NOB members being union President Masego Mogwera as 1st Respondent followed by Tlhabologo Galekhutle (Treasurer), Martin Gabobake (1st Deputy President), Topias Marenga (General Secretary) and Ketlhapelang Karabo (Deputy General Secretary).

Following a heated National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting last month at Cresta Lodge in Gaborone, Mogwera and team were suspended pending investigation while Philemon was subsequently appointed acting president.
Mogwera’s team retaliated by declaring a state of emergency and suspended Philemon and crew. NOB members are also part of the NEC.

On the 1st August 2018, Applicants approached the Court on urgency mainly to: declare as lawful the meeting of the National Executive Committee (“NEC”) held on Saturday 28 July 2018 (the “Meeting”) at which Respondents were suspended pending investigation and possible disciplinary action; restrain the Respondents from holding themselves as rightful governing officials of BOPEU and evicting them out of the premises of BOPEU as well as setting aside the declaration of state of emergency made by Gabobake and setting aside the suspension of Masame, Philemon, Tlhako, Monaiwa by Mogwera. Lobatse High Court is today (Friday) scheduled to make a ruling on the urgency of the matter before merits of the case could be argued.

According to the head of arguments filed before court seen by this publication, Philemon and team reveal that they discovered during the meeting that the 2nd to 5th Respondents were earning salaries from BOPEU without the approval of the National General Council (NGC) or Central Executive Committee (CEC), this being in violation of Article 53.2 of the BOPEU Constitution.

“Consequently in the NEC’s view there was a need to look into a case of possible embezzlement or misappropriation of huge funds of the Union. This kind of breach of the Constitution of the Union amounts to serious misconduct under Article 48.1.2 of the Constitution of the Union. The NEC at the meeting found it necessary and in the interest of the Union to suspend these Respondents pending an investigation and possible disciplinary action as provided for under Article 47.4 of the Constitution of the Union.

In terms of Article 53.1 of the Constitution of the Union, remuneration of seconded office bearers will be determined by the NGC or CEC as a recommendation from the Finance Committee. The Respondents maintain that their remuneration was approved,” read the court papers.

Regarding the alleged chaos of the last month meeting, the Applicants' contention is that discussions were very cordial during the meeting. It is argued that an audio recording reflects that the meeting was an orderly meeting. They posited that what is admitted is that there were divergent views from the Respondents and the Applicants.

“The Respondents have an original copy of the recording, it is for them to challenge the veracity and/or authenticity of the recording and its transcription by Applicants. This recording is a relevant piece of evidence of what transpired at the meeting especially in so far as it relates to the demeanour of the meeting. The allegations of chaos or rowdiness during the meeting have not been particularised. The Respondents make general averments without explaining the disorder.”

Published in News

Controversy continues to haunt Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) primary elections dubbed Bulela-Ditswe in local lingo, as yet again there are fears of compromised elections next week Saturday.

Candidates in most of the constituencies that will go to the polls next week have expressed concern that the party might not deliver credible elections as the party leadership promised during a consultative meeting with candidates in Palapye last weekend. It has since emerged that the first date set for verification of voters’ roll has been missed as voters’ rolls failed to reach constituencies by the set date of Wednesday this week (the 15th August 2018).

Voters’ rolls were to be dispatched to the 40 constituencies for verification and be returned to the party head-office today (Friday 17th August 2018). After being returned to head-office the party’s National Electoral Board was expected to carry out an audit to ascertain that everything is in order.

“If we get the voters’ rolls a day later how are we expected to be able to have finished the process of verification and have the rolls returned? Remember this is not an easy process because there has to be names that are to be added and those that have to be removed from the voters’ rolls.

It means just running through the process with no vigorous scrutiny as should be the case because these are final voters’ rolls that would be used for voting on the 25th of August 2018,” said one of the Parliamentary candidates who preferred anonymity. Sources have indicated that the party should have secured a date later in November this year or next year between January and March.

The candidates believe the time that the party has put for itself after the postponement is too close while there is too much work that needs to be attended to. They have opined that what was announced at the Palapye meeting would not be achieved and the party would be in chaos due to compromised elections. Some within the party have also predicted a lot of court cases post the primaries. Over a thousand candidates for both Parliament and council seats are expected to tussle it out next week and each wants the playing field to be level. 

BDP Secretary General, Mpho Balopi has indicated that they are ready to deliver credible elections. He said the party is working round the clock to ensure that all the set out deadlines are met. He stated that most of the problems raised by candidates would be addressed through resolutions that were taken during the meeting at Majestic Five in Palapye.

 “We have decided that people who appear in the voters’ roll but do not have membership cards would be allowed to vote using Omang. This is because the number in the Omang card is the same that appears in the membership card. We have also set up our polling station in such a way that a person would not be able to vote more than once which is why we have also introduced the use of ink for the voters,” Balopi pointed out.

Balopi revealed that the Central Committee and Electoral Board has resolved that Political Education and Elections Committee and a special team will be assigned to attend unresolved complaints.

Published in News
Tuesday, 21 August 2018 09:12

HIV wears a female face

According to the UNAIDS When Women Lead; Change Happens report of 2017, HIV and AIDS is today the, “...leading cause of death among women aged 30 - 49 globally.” Compounding this figure is information from the same report, which states that 18.6 million women and girls are currently living with HIV globally with one million new infections per year estimated for this key population. Corroborating this data from UNAIDS is information from the Botswana AIDS Impact Survey (BAIS).

In 2008 the results of BAIS III indicated that 17.6 percent of Batswana were living with HIV and the prevalence amongst females was higher at 20.4 percent while males had 14.2 percent. The 2013 BAIS results continued to show the undue impact the disease is having on women with a relatively higher prevalence rate of 20.8 percent compared to 15.6 percent for males. 

Cindy Kelemi from the Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV and AIDS or BONELA states that, “both studies verify that HIV impacts women more than men and there remains no doubt that HIV is wearing a female face.” Other results from the BAIS 2013 survey further highlight how females are disproportionately affected by HIV, with prevalence predominantly higher among females particularly those aged 25 and 44 years old. Kelemi points to religious and cultural perceptions, which perpetuate HIV stigma and also hinder the community’s response to HIV and AIDS treatment, care and support services or messages.

Gender Based Violence (GBV) is also cited as a debilitating factor, which prevents women to negotiate safer sex. The Gender Based Violence Indicators Study Botswana conducted in 2011 by Gender Links and the Women’s Affairs Department in Botswana indicates that 67.3 percent of women have in their lifetime experienced gender-based violence. The study further shows that in most cases the violence is perpetrated by intimate partners.

Gomolemo Rasesigo, the Country Manager of Gender Links Botswana, acknowledges that violence exists under different circumstances which is why the term Gender Based Violence was coined. “Men do experience violence and are included in the description hence the term gender,” she emphasises however that, “What we cannot do is run away from the fact that this violence or phenomenon is largely affecting women.

The Domestic Violence Act exists as well; it is specific to women because they are on the receiving end. Women get raped and from a social point of view we cannot underplay that.” Rasesigo highlights that unlike murder cases, not all rape cases make it into the media reports or are even reported to the police.

A Swedish Workplace HIV and AIDS Programme advocate based in Zimbabwe, Edith Maziofa-Tapfuma reiterates this observation that if women are not in complete control of their sexual and reproductive rights they will as a population continue to be largely impacted by HIV compared to their male counter parts. “We need women and girls to be economically empowered, so they are better able to negotiate for safe sex,” says Maziofa-Tapfuma.

In addition, she emphasises that to help circumvent the impact of HIV is the need for open dialogue for topics considered taboo in the community. “Africa needs to start being open about LGBTI issues. Men-who-have-sex-with-men are staying underground or on the down-low but are also getting married to help disguise themselves. These are some of the key drivers of the epidemic and further add to the vulnerability of women and girls.”

Magdeline Mathiba-Madibela is another gender activist who is also the Country Manager for UN Women (Botswana). She considers that more investment is required to create targeted HIV prevention programs for women to help empower them at a “personal level”. Mathiba-Madibela says, “Capacity building for women is critical when it comes to HIV. When women are empowered, particularly at a personal level they are able to deal with gender power relations, which are key to changing the HIV status quo.

Women as change agents in society need to challenge patriarchy which fuels power imbalance in relationships.” Rasesigo agrees with Mathiba-Madibela and adds that it is disheartening when women seem to be the main gate-keepers of patriarchy, saying, “women are silent on these issues, particularly those in leadership positions.” Kelemi also supports Mathiba-Madibela in regard to removing barriers that will help reduce the burden of HIV among women adding that, “there is need to remove structural and legal barriers.

Investment for HIV prevention has gone down. Therefore, we need to intensify prevention efforts for women and empower them to claim their rights.” Mathiba-Madibela points out that male involvement is necessary to have an all-inclusive response to HIV and AIDS, “men must be part of the solution.”

Her advice is for more alignments to be created with “custodians of culture and influential men in society” to ensure gender scales are balanced, “we need to work with chiefs and traditional leaders include them as champions for gender equality.

Men need to be champions for gender equality and women’s empowerment including their protection from abuse, and any form of danger. In UN Women we have what we call Heforshe Champions,” says Mathiba-Madimela as she emphasises the need for total participation of the community if the virus is to be eradicated and its burden removed from women and girls. 

Published in News

Like the rest of the world, Botswana has not escaped the effects of climate change, which over the years have manifested themselves in extreme temperatures, heat waves, floods, heavy rainfall and recurring droughts.

Given its cross-cutting nature, the resultant impacts of climate change on the economy have been far-reaching. In the agricultural sector, crops and livestock production have drastically declined leading to reduced household incomes and ultimately, loss of livelihoods – thereby exacerbating poverty levels and burdening the already choked government welfare system.

Land degradation, loss of biodiversity and emergence of new pests and diseases have suddenly become the norm rather than the exception, which factors ultimately led government to stand up, take notice and begin tackling the elephant in the room that wouldn’t just go away.

Although the country’s response to this threat – the biggest in the 2st Century to the survival of humankind – has been slow, there is a discernible effort building up, a clear sign that the country doesn’t want to be left behind.
Already Botswana has signed and ratified quite a number of international treaties related to climate change. A Climate Change expert at the Department of Metrological Services, Dorcas Masisi cited among these, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The objective of this Convention and any related legal instruments that the Conference of the Parties (COP) may adopt is to achieve, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Convention, stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent “dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”.

Such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner. Botswana ratified this Convention on 27 Jan uary1994 so that it entered into force on 27 April 1994.

Botswana is also a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol, which commits its Parties by setting internationally binding emission reduction targets for developed countries, as well as its amendment called Doha Amendment,. The country ratified the Kyoto Protocol on 8 August 2003 and entered into force on 16 February 2005. The Doha Amendment was ratified and entered into force on 7 March 2016.

And lately the country joined the global lobby to combat climate change effects by assenting to the Paris Agreement on 11 November 2016 so that it entered into force on 11 Dec ember 2016.  The Paris Agreement requires all Parties to submit their best efforts through “nationally determined contributions” (NDCs) and to strengthen these efforts in the years ahead. This includes requirements that all Parties report regularly on their emissions and on their implementation efforts.

In response to the threat of depletion of the ozone layer, the global community developed and signed the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer in 1985 and the Montreal Protocol for the protection of the ozone layer in 1987. Botswana acceded to both in 1992. 
The climate change experts at the Metrology department say that the driving force behind the treaty was the protection of human health against damages caused by the increase of Ultraviolet radiation reaching the earth as a result of ozone depletion.Under the Convention and the Protocol, Botswana’s obligation is to reduce the consumption of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) in the country.

These are gases that are used in Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Fire Fighting. The country does so by following a specific phase out schedule set by Parties to the Montreal Protocol which also requires that each country submit, on annual basis, its production and consumption data to the Ozone Secretariat. Botswana is also in the process of ratifying the Kigali Amendment, which is the recent amendment to the Montreal Protocol of 1992, adopted in 2016. Under the Kigali Amendment, parties reached an agreement to phase down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

By this commitment, Botswana has demonstrated a willingness to go to all extremes to protect her biodiversity and preserve it for future generations. But with the advent of climate change, which is explained as “the measurable variation in the state of the climate over an extended period of time – thee has been added pressure on the country’s leadership to show political will.

There has been a groundswell of opinion that the National Policy on Climate Change has remained on draft form for a long time: Official response to this recurring query is that the draft has been circulated through ministries is hoped will be submitted to the next parliament sitting. Additionally, the National Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan are being developed with funding from the United Nations Development Programme. (UNDP)

The Strategy and Action Plan will assist in the implementation of the Policy. The consultants have to complete the work by June 2018. Currently the country does not have National Mitigation/Adaptation Plans. It is envisaged that the Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan will have the plans.

The mitigation and adaptation measures are contained in the reports that are called National Communications (NC) which the country is required to submit to UNFCCC as an obligation, but most of these measures are being implemented by the different institutions and individuals. And this is one grey area currently frustrating the country’s efforts to transition to low carbon development.

The imperative of policy coordination and coherence cannot be gainsaid. Mitigation generally refers to uptake of renewable energy technology while adaptation actions relate to adoption of climate smart agricultural (CSA) practises and sustainable natural resource management. Botswana has proposed a 15% greenhouse (GHG) emission reduction by 2030 starting from 2010

Botswana’s NDC were based on different projects that the departments/institutions were embarking on and there was a conditionality that implementation of these projects can only be achieved if funding was provided. Botswana’s National Communications and National Determined Contributions has identified agriculture sector as one of the highest priority sectors where urgent and immediate action is needed to build resilience through adaptation and mitigation.

A group of experts drawn from various public, private, civil society and farmers associations – has just wrapped up a five-day Botswana Climate Finance Design Workshop for GCF Concept Note Development. The aim of the UNDP-sponsored Department of Agricultural l Research workshop was to develop a ‘Concept Note’- or document to request funding from the UNFCCC organ called GCF to build climate resilience in agricultural systems in the country.

Workshop convener, Douglas Machacha who is DAR acting deputy director and the workshop Facilitator, Dr George Wamokoya,, a consultant of New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) – radiated joy Wednesday halfway through the development of the Concept Note.

They were confident that the Concept Note would eventually be turned into a full Proposal. And with the help of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and UNDP, both of which are the National Designated Authority (DSA) and Accredited Entity (AE) respectively, it is hoped this process should culminate in securing funding from the GCF or development partners to help the country build climate resilience in her economy.

Published in News
Tuesday, 21 August 2018 08:37

BNF woes: A chat with the party’s Chief

With tension besieging Botswana National Front over running party affairs, the most notable aggrieved organ appears to be the Veteran Association, led by Patrick Kgoadi. The elderly apparently presented complaints dossier at the party’s National Conference held in Rakops last month. This week Botswana Guardian (BG) News Reporter Nicholas Mokwena chat with BNF Secretary General, Moeti Mohwasa(MM) on some of the key issues raised in the report.

BG:How true is that the BNF Veterans Association claims that they have presented a Report during the party’s conference in Rakops but it was never discussed?
MM:In terms of the constitution, all organs of the BNF fall under the office of the Secretary General.  They are therefore expected to submit reports to the secretary general. It is these reports that inform the Secretary General’s Report to the Conference.

In the Secretary General’s Report there was a part that dealt with the Veterans Association which was based on their Report. The Association was included in the Commissions which discussed amongst others, the Secretary General’s Report.

This means that they had two opportunities to guide the resolutions that emerged from the conference through their Report to the Secretary General and by participating in the Commissions. The Organs or auxiliary bodies do not report directly to the Conference. This is so basic that I thought the Veterans would know.

BG: The veterans also claim they have been seeking audience with the BNF Central Committee through your office (Secretary General office) to no avail
MM: Yes, it is true. We could not meet them before the Conference though we had wanted to due to time constraints. They had however indicated the issues that they had wanted us to discuss, the issues we believe had an opportunity to ventilate at the Conference. It is common knowledge that the Conference is an upper structure from the Central Committee. We have written them a letter apologising for our failure to meet them.

In the same letter we have indicated that we are still open for a meeting, which procedurally will discuss new issues.

BG: In the report, apparently presented at the Conference, the veterans question your competency on grounds that the BNF President wrote letters to regions in May 2018 asking them to submit reports
MM: It seems the Veterans are very economical with the truth. Secondly, it is regrettable that they continue to raise internal party matters in the media. Unfortunately this leaves us with no option but to correct and contextualise these assertions. 

First it is the Secretary General who issued the Conference notice.  Subsequent to that on the 20th June the Secretary General wrote a letter to the structures communicating details regarding preparations for the Conference. Yes, the President also wrote to the structures and copied the Secretary General. But this was in between these correspondences.But then do you judge one’s competence on the basis of letters; who wrote what instead of who?

BG: Is the President empowered to carry out such a task? Could you please refer us to the appropriate Article in the BNF Constitution?
MM: I will reluctantly go into that.  You should appreciate that the BNF President can take any interim decision pending convocation of any relevant body or organ. We can refer to article 19.3.1 to 19.3.3. What then follows is a question of interpretation.

BG: Is it true that the BNF Executive Committee is failing to meet?
MM: There is a laid down procedure for convening of such meetings.  I am not accustomed to discussing such details with external forces.

BG: How often does the executive committee meet?
MM: As and when it is necessary

BG: When was the last meeting of the executive committee and that of the central committee?
MM: The central committee met yesterday, 13th August, 2018. It adjourned and is continuing with its sitting on the 14th August, 2018 (today).

Published in News

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