Botswana: Constitutional Review Ideal

Mogoditshane — The President, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, has promised to push for a comprehensive constitutional review.

Addressing a kgotla meeting in Mogoditshane on October 18, President Masisi said his position was that the process of nominating presidential candidates in general elections was flawed and could breed instability.

And, he said, the process did not represent a true reflection of what democracy should be.

"For one to be president of the country, Batswana have to vote into power 29 or more MPs, but it now begs the question why currently one can register and stand for presidential nominations without even having representation of MPs in 29 or more constituencies," he saidCurrently, the Constitution allows for individuals to register and stand for presidential nominations, provided they were backed by 1 000 signatories.

Nominations of members of parliament would then follow at a later stage.Concerning floor crossing, President Masisi said the BDP-led government would make a law to prohibit such.

He said independent candidates should be a thing of the past they did not represent the interests of the nation, but rather their own.

He said Botswana always conducted democratic, free, fair and safe elections. Therefore, this would continue to be the norm when the country goes to the polls on Wednesday.

He thus called on Batswana who registered to vote to exercise their democratic right and in the process exhibit exemplary behaviour, restraint, tolerance and not incite others by wearing party colours, chanting party slogans or even using metaphors to provoke one another.

He further said he had heard suggestions to divide Mogoditshane into two constituencies, but that could only be done through a delimitation process following a national census.

President Masisi applauded the Village Development Committee (VDC), which he said reinforced democracy in Botswana.

"VDCs are where most developments stem from and we will continue to engage and provide guidance to each other as we move forward," he said.

President Masisi said government was in the process of awarding a tender for construction of a multi-lane road from Pula Spar to Mmankgodi worth P1.8 billion.

He said the reason why the road construction was expensive was due to challenges of compensation for affected parties.

"We are still in the evaluation stage and my hope is that everything will go on as planned without delays," he said.

He indicated that government was concerned by delays in a number of developmental projects arising from court cases instituted by unsuccessful bidders.

"This has resulted in projects being shelved and when we come around to re-visiting those same projects, the cost of undertaking them has tripled," he noted.

President Masisi said in some disputes, it had become apparent that it boiled down to corrupt practices and collusion.

"I have in the past vowed and I still reiterate that corruption has no place in a government that I lead and I will continue to do all I can to uproot it," he said, adding that everyone involved in corruption would be pursued and face might of the law.

He gave an example of Mogoditshane Land Servicing project, which he said had been before the courts for the past five years and had not been resolved and hence beneficiaries continued to bear the brunt of such debacle.

On other matters, President Masisi said he was appalled by heinous crimes such as rape and murder that were reportedly on the rise a.

He said government had changed the law because it was now forbidden for defense attorneys to cross-examine victims.

President Masisi said even though statistics were on the rise, it was regrettable that more were still ashamed of coming forth to let justice take course.

For his part, Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Alfred Madigele informed residents that government had a plan of constructing a primary hospital for Mogoditshane at Nkoyaphiri.

Source : BOPA

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