Gov’t forges ahead with controversial Chobe National Park developments

The Botswana Council of Non – Governmental Organisations (BOCONGO), DITSHWANELO – The Botswana Centre for Human Rights and Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LeGaBiBo) have joined the rising refrain that has criticised the Constitutional Commission Review in a petition.

Other notable non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that signed the petition to the federal government are DITSHWANELO – The Botswana Centre for Human Rights, Letloa Trust, Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) and Rainbow Identity Association (RIA). n December final yr, President Mokgweetsi Masisi issued a Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the assessment of the Constitution of Botswana.

Masisi appointed the next 19 members to Presidential Commission of Inquiry. Former Chief Justice Maruping Dibotelo Chairperson, Johnson Motshwarakgole Vice-Chairperson, Other members of the Commission are Kgosi Puso Gaborone,  Kgosi Divere Ndando, Professor Gobopamang Letamo, Professor Bontle Mbongwe, Reverend Bonolo Mmereki-Burns, Charles Mokobi , Stella Naledi Moroka , Matthews Letsholo ,  Moanakwena Keloneilwe, Dr. Goemeone Mogomotsi.

Some of the members are Dikarabo Ramadubu, Kukame Ngwamotsoko, Shirley Kefilwe Keoagile, Roselyn Serumola, Game Dibeela, Chedza Ntobedzi and Siphatisiwe Daniel Membe. Bococongo and different signatories defined that their issues with the method which has already begun are lack of transparency and accountability; lack of knowledge concerning the Constitutional Review course of itself; lack of consultations with our elected representatives and Dikgosi; and the lack of knowledge concerning the inclusion of civil society.

The petition states that there was no transparency concerning the standards used for choosing the members of the Constitution Review Committee. “The list of members was made public on 17 December 2021. We believe there should have been transparent consultations with all of our elected representatives in Parliament, regardless of their political party affiliation, about the process to be followed for the review including the selection criteria for the members of the Committee,” the petition reads partially.

It says the Committee members ought to embrace these with information concerning the primary rules of constitutional legislation corresponding to human rights, the rule of legislation and separation of powers. According to the petition, it is because these are core to the efficient functioning of our democracy.

The petitioners mentioned the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the assessment of the Constitution ought to report back to an inclusive, choose committee of parliament and never completely to the President, to make sure transparency and accountability to the folks.

“The Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the review of the Constitution should report to an inclusive, select committee of parliament and not exclusively to the President, to ensure transparency and accountability to the people,” they mentioned.

The organisations mentioned there’s a lack of knowledge concerning the deliberate technique of reviewing the Constitution. This details about the deliberate course of, they mentioned, is important to allow public preparedness to take part meaningfully on this course of.

“There is also a lack of information about the reasons why the format of a Presidential Commission of Inquiry was adopted and not a Parliamentary Committee tasked with this responsibility,” the organisations argued.  In gentle of those issues, they urged the Botswana authorities to make sure that the Constitutional assessment course of is inclusive and honest.

The organisations mentioned there was imagined to be a transparent civic training concerning the content material of the present Constitution for this Constitutional session course of to achieve success. “Public education will facilitate informed participation for people to know what needs to be changed and what needs to be included in the reviewed constitution, while taking into consideration their way of life and human rights,” the organisations mentioned.

They urged the federal government to make sure that the reviewed Constitution reaffirms separation of powers, permits checks and balances for the advantage of all folks in Botswana, to stop arbitrary and abusive use of energy by these in authority; and protects and respects the political, socio-cultural and financial rights and dignity of each individual.

“Political will should enable effective public participation for the people to freely fashion a Constitution of their choice. The constitution-making process should be effected using a ‘bottom-up’ approach to ensure inclusion, participation, accountability and fairness,” the organisations mentioned. They argued that each one these are crucial for democratic governance to thrive.

They additional argued that representatives of various sectors, together with non secular our bodies and curiosity teams within the nation ought to have be concerned to keep away from exclusion of already marginalised teams, together with indigenous peoples, youth, individuals with disabilities, ex-miners, kids, girls, staff, LGBTQI+ neighborhood (gays and lesbians), home and farm staff and the aged.

“It is clear that ‘a constitutional review offers us an opportunity to commit again, to entrenching democracy, good, transparent and accountable governance, and the rule of law; to reaffirm our faith in a consultative polity that believes in free speech and other fundamental human rights and the values of openness, fairness, honesty, human dignity, tolerance and hard work,” the organisations mentioned.

They mentioned these should be current as guiding rules all through the assessment course of – from begin to end.

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