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All eyes on constitutional review team

ANNOUNCES CONSTITUTIONAL REVIEW: President Masisi

Masisi is squandering goodwill with his approach- Ngakaagae

President Mokgweetsi Masisi announced his Presidential Commission of inquiry into the review of the Constitution of Botswana.

The team shall ascertain from the people of Botswana, their views on the operation of the Constitution and, in particular, the strengths and weaknesses of the Constitution; assess the adequacy of the Constitution, in particular by – asserting Botswana’s identity, principles, aspirations and values which are;

Promoting and protecting people’s rights; promoting equality; and promoting national unity and democracy.

It will also articulate the concerns of Batswana as regards the amendments that may be required for a review of the Constitution; conduct inquiries and obtain information from sources that the Commission considers relevant in the execution of its mandate; make any recommendations on the review or amendment of the Constitution and upon completion of its inquiry, the Commission shall submit a report with recommendations to the president not later than the end of September, 2022.

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The appointment was met with mixed reactions from the public with some doubting the credibility of the commission.

The Voice Staffer, DANIEL CHIDA engages some of the Political Analysts and legal brains to get their views.

Sennye Obuseng-Political Analyst

Like most who have shared their views, I have no problem at all with the men and women who have been named to the Commission.

I basically have the problems, 1, legal, 2, about process, and 3, political.

POLITICAL ANALYST: Sennye Obuseng

The lawyers have spoken convincingly about the inappropriateness of appointing the Commission under the Commission of Inquiries (CoI) Act rather than the enabling sections of the constitution itself.

That has the effect of taking the review process from Parliament, in effect the people, and putting it under the control of the President.

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It is scary! Why would the president go to the lengths of finding an Act that allows him to preside over the review of the constitution, when the constitution itself has adequate mechanisms for its review?

It would seem he does not want Parliament to preside over the process.

That takes me to the process question. The process the President has chosen gives us a Presidential Review of the Constitution.

This is a Presidential Commission. In my view, it’s a poor substitute for the Constitutional Review Commission envisaged by the constitution itself, because the latter is a product of a more consultative, open, transparent and accountable process.

The political concern arises from the optics. They are bad.

What you have here, which the President’s advisers ought to have seen, is the spectre of a President grabbing from Parliament, in effect the people, a solemn process that our founding fathers determined should led by Parliament.

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The president can try to open it up as much as he wants, but the optics won’t change.

It is his Commission. He wrote the Terms of Reference! He appointed the Commissioners!

The Commissioners report to him! The optics are bad. By running to the CoI, the President has started a debate that is wholly unnecessary and will needlessly erode the credibility of the process.

That is so because because it can legitimately be asked: What are his motives?

Kgosietsile Ngakaagae- Prominent Lawyer

I have a problem with the appointment of Judge Maruping Dibotelo.

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He is a conservative and a traditionalist charged with the task of a constitutional review inquiry in a post liberal era.

What we need is transformative constitutionalism, and I don’t think he has that outlook.

PROMINENT LAWYER: Kgosietsile Ngakaagae

Secondly, there ought to have been consultations with stakeholders over his appointment.

Further, I have a problem with the fact that the Commission has been personalised.

I agree with those that say it should report to an inclusive, select committee of parliament.

It should not be a Commission of enquiry, but an all out constitutional review process.

I don’t understand the piecemeal approach. His Excellency is squandering goodwill with his approach.

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He has a chance of leaving a lasting legacy of constitutional reform.

Instead, he is playing politics with the opportunity. I really beg the President to reconsider his approach.

This is the defining moment of his presidency and it is what he will be remembered for.

Kagelelo Kentse- Botswana Democratic Party’s Chairman of Communications Committee

We applaud President Masisi for uploading a promise and commitment he made during the 2019 elections as contained in the BDP Manifesto.

This is a very welcome development as a start to a critical process of engaging Batswana about their constitution.

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BDP CHAIRMAN OF COMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE: Kagelelo Kentse

As a party we are very excited and want to encourage Batswana to contribute meaningfully.

The Constitution belongs to them and therefore their submissions will go a long way.

We want to take this opportunity to wish the Commission of Enquiry team the very best, Botswaka Ko Pele!

Leonard Sesa- Political Analyst

The first question is who are those people, the best government should have done was to provide their profiles so that people know their background.

The exercise is a very crucial and sensitive one and their background is important so that we know who is supposed to be there in terms of the composition of the Constitutional Review Commission.

POLITICAL ANALYST: Leonard Sesa

We have seen names without clear background of where they come from or why they were selected, for example we have Minority groups which want to stand alone in terms of recognition and one wonders if such things have been catered for.

There is also the North Versus south issue which is not clear if it was considered too but we wish them the best because there is nothing much we can do

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Name Designation

a) Former Chief Justice Maruping Dibotelo Chairperson

b) Mr. Johnson Motshwarakgole Vice-Chairperson
c) Kgosi Puso Gaborone -Member
d) Kgosi Divere Ndando- Member
e) Professor Gobopamang Letamo -Member
f) Professor Bontle Mbongwe- Member
g) Reverend Bonolo Mmereki-Burns Member
h) Mr. Charles Mokobi -Member
i) Ms. Stella Naledi Moroka- Member
j) Mr. Matthews Letsholo- Member
k) Mr. Moanakwena Keloneilwe -Member
l) Dr. Goemeone Mogomotsi- Member
m) Mr. Dikarabo Ramadubu -Member
n) Mr. Kukame Ngwamotsoko -Member
o) Ms. Shirley Kefilwe Keoagile- Member
p) Ms. Roselyn Serumola -Member
q) Ms. Game Dibeela -Member
r) Ms. Chedza Ntobedzi -Member
s) Ms. Siphatisiwe Daniel -Member

3. The Secretariat of the Commission of Inquiry shall consist of the
following –

Name Designation

a) Ms. Pearl N. Ramokoka Head of Secretariat
b) Dr. Kaelo Molefe Secretariat
c) Ms. Berenice Mosime Secretariat
d) Ms. Idah Lorato Motsamai Secretariat
e) Ms. Ntesang Molemele Secretariat

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