The Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs (MNIG) last week launched the Advisory and Arbitration Council, as a way of improving the governance of societies in Botswana. Minister of MNIG, Edwin Batshu said that the council would go a long way in managing societies, which has been a challenge in the past. He added that the Department of Civil and National Registration has always experienced challenges regarding the registration of societies, where some societies have struggled to manage their affairs, which have given rise to many unresolved conflicts.
He said these internal conflicts have been more prevalent in religious societies. “Already some disputes have been referred to the courts of law while others are still with the Department of Civil and National Registration awaiting possible redress,” said Batshu. A team of ten men and women has been appointed to the Advisory and Arbitration Council and is expected to arbitrate in disputes within and between registered societies, to avoid unresolved cases, which greatly compromises the governance of societies.
Batshu said that this would provide potential advantages compared to judicial proceedings that usually take long to resolve disputes among parties. He urged the newly appointed members to work harder to make sure that Botswana becomes an example to other regions of the continent. “You are travelling on the road that has not been traversed before; therefore, you are the pioneers whose footprints will be followed by generations to come,” said Batshu.
As of end of March 2017, the National Societies’ Register stood at 8,772, (composed of Religious; 2,228, clubs; 1,985 cultural; 320, women; 106, charitable; 563, burials; 1,684, farmers; 127, professionals; 199 and others at 1,495) and among and between these already registered societies a total 28 disputes have arisen, in which 21 of them came from religious or faith-based societies, according to Batshu.