It has been a year since Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) was given yet another term to lead the country following its victory in the 2019 National General elections. Prior to the elections, the party presented its manifesto to the nation. Reporter TSAONE BASIMANEBOTLHE takes the nation through an analysis of what has been achieved and what still remains a challenge for the party.
The party through its manifesto promised to among others conduct a comprehensive constitutional, legislative and policy review, job creation, and even manufacture an electric car. So far the wheels of implementation seem to be moving slowly for the party. Little has been done and with this, some members of the public, opposition parties and some members of the ruling party have been calling the party to kick start constitutional review but nothing been done to deliver on the promises.
So far, Mmegi has learnt that the government is planning to appoint a Constitutional Review Commission before the end of 2020.
Professor Tachilisa Balule from department of law at University of Botswana said Constitutional review should undergo thorough consultation therefore it is difficult for one to say BDP has failed on it or not.
“The only problem that I see the Government making is failure to make formal communication regarding the issue. The party has close to 11 months having won the elections and they knew that in 2019, this was one of the topical issues that Batswana were talking about and had faith that the President or Government will act quickly on. So far nothing has been done. But one could again say COVID-19 played a role since the Commission could not be appointed because of it. Again the Government could have at least appointed a Commission on it, so that it prepares for consultations when things settle, know the budget and even to invite organisations to make written submissions,” Balule said in an interview on Wednesday.
Balule also said consultations will help to solicit views from the citizens on what provisions they wanted amended or problematic one.
He said Batswana were the ones who could explain whether they wanted total overhaul of the Constitution and they can also come up with provisions they wanted added.
He continued; “ again it is difficult to hold politicians accountable because one will never know if that was a strategy to get votes from people or not”. University of Botswana political science lecturer for Department of Public Administration and Politics Kealeboga Dipogiso said nothing much has been done regarding constitutional review.
“It will be good if the party could start the process because Batswana have been waiting for it. Even politicians from all political parties have been calling for the review and it is time for action to be taken,” Dipogiso said. On the issue
He however said consultation does not mean the party will listen to others and that is exactly what is happening in Parliament.
“ Of course they do listen to some of the views from other people but they should also listen to opposition parties when they comes up with important motions,” he said.
However the party spokesperson Kagelelo Kentse said his party was satisfied with a recent response as provided by the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration in which he outlined processes that will be undertaken to kick-start the Constitution review.
“The President is committed to ensure that Constitutional review happens. The Commission could have been appointed if it was not COVID-19 pandemic.
Our party is will ensure that it fulfils its promise it made to Batswana during 2019 elections. We are the ruling party and therefore we get accountable to the voters time and again,” Kentse said.
Recently the Minister of Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Kabo Morwaeng told Parliament during questions and answers time sessions that the process to review the Constitution would depend on consultations with Batswana.
“The Government envisages that such consultation will be undertaken through a Presidential Commission of inquiry which Government is in the process of setting up. A Bill on the review of the Constitution will then be brought before this Honourable House for debate as soon as the President receives the Commission’s report,” Morwaeng had said.
On the issue of inclusive Governance and Therisanyo, Kentse said; “the BDP continues to consult relevant stakeholders on many issues. First the issue of labour unions and the eventual agreement on salaries was a great milestones.
The government is currently consulting the media fraternity with the aim to establish the best way to deal with the media practitioners’ bill.
It must remembered that this is currently a law though has not been enacted against any journalist or media house, so the party as a government can not up and repel without due process so as to establish a self regulatory framework”.
He said Government continues to work closely with Ntlo ya Dikgosi as an advisory body and Government opened doors to those who wish to advise as a way of Therisanyo.