What are the powers of Ombudsman?

Staff Writer
FRANCISTOWN: An Ombudsman legal investigator has explained that the Office of the Ombudsman does not interfere where not necessary.

Addressing a full Francistown council session yesterday, Ipeleng Tshetlhana explained that, " We have powers of investigations but the ombudsman does not interfere where not necessary."

Subsequent to her presentation, councillors still posed more questions concerning the independence of the Ombudsman.

Ipopeng Ward councillor, Interest Tawele wanted to be well informed on the powers the ombudsman possesses in relation to complaints about maladministration.

Tawele doubts the independence of the Ombudsman as complaints are further taken to the National Assembly, which falls under the Office of the President (OP).

Another councillor, Ignatius Moswaane, wanted clarification on whether the Ombudsman possesses any powers over anybody in the country.

He recalled the Ombudsman having a crisis with the OP but no action was ever taken against the OP in the past.

Councillor Motlatsi Molapise advised the Ombudsman's office to compare its services with other countries.

He said the ombudsman in other countries has more powers and thus enjoys more autonomy.

Specially elected councillor, Peter Ngoma said that the ombudsman in Botswana is facing

no challenges, as it (the office) cannot be taken before a court of law. "How can you measure your success if you are not challenged?" asked Ngoma.

Councillor Golelwang Mogomela wanted to know the number of people who have benefited from the ombudsman's services and how often the office reports to the National Assembly.

In response, Tshetlhana said that their operations are limited by the requirements of the Ombudsman's Act.

"Our powers are limited to recommending for the corrective actions," she added. If a complainant is dissatisfied the matter can then be further launched at the National Assembly, she said.

The legal investigator also said that their offices are open to everyone but matters or complaints are analysed before investigating or throwing out the matter. She also said that their office is separate from the judiciary as they operate from the administration level.

Statistics are said to be carried out annually according to different categories that includes but not limited to late payments and gratuities.



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