We hail the Public Accounts Committee

The Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has finally achieved its goal of holding its proceedings in public.

To that end, next Monday will mark an important landmark in the history of our Republic when PAC will begin its work to audit government departments for 2010 with its doors open to the public.  The idea was first espoused by Minister Ponatshego Kedikilwe as a backbencher back in 2006, but it never saw the light of day.

While the public has admittedly shown little interest in Parliamentary proceedings for all manner of reasons, not least apathy, we still hope that people will find time to pay a visit to the proceedings of the PAC.  This is yet another milestone achievement by the current crop of MPs and the Speaker of the National Assembly who are investing the legislature with the independence and dignity that rightfully belong to it. Like MPs, we in the media encounter problems from public officers who view us as interlopers whenever we seek clarity on some of their decisions and policies. We believe that the move by the PAC will usher in a new era in which public officers will understand that they hold their offices on behalf of Batswana and that they are therefore expected to express their allegiance to citizens by cooperating with them as key stakeholders.  The development comes at a time when there is an on-going audit at the Palapye Fengyue Glass project, that controversial joint venture with a state owned company that is funded by the taxpayer, the Botswana Development Corporation (BDC). A Parliamentary Select Committee appointed last December is investigating allegations of corruption involving millions of pula in the deal. However, the distinguished MPs pursuing the fraudsters in this scam did not find fit to open their hearings to the public. Worse, they have not been forthcoming with information regarding their probe that has seen 30 witnesses testify.  This has cast a shadow on Parliament as the bulwark of transparency and accountability. The members chose to hear and take evidence in camera even though Cabinet did not want any Parliamentary enquiry on the fantastic grounds that DCEC was investigating the issue.

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This period, running from May 20 to 31 2024, is crucial for those who have not yet registered to vote. This announcement comes in response to a significant shortfall in registered voters following the recent registration period. As it stands, only 62% of the target number of voters registered, leaving a considerable gap.With Botswana's general elections scheduled for October, every eligible citizen needs to register and exercise their...

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