The fight against corruption in Botswana has not been without pitfalls and drawbacks. One of these has been that some of Botswana's institutions and guiding processes have unintentionally provided loopholes for corruption to take root. These include the overbearing presence of the country's executive arm of government, over the anti-corruption agencies and also the lack of stringent anti-corruption policies in government operations. To counter this, government will have to commit more to the anti-corruption fight, such as with inacting and implementing an effective asset declaration and disclosure law among others.
The private sector has played a prominent role in Botswana’s development and economic growth. Due to Botswana’s overinflated public sector, the private sector has often depended solely on government expenditure, procurement and tender systems for their own profit generation and survival. As a result, it has become almost impossible to examine corruption in Botswana without the involvement of private sector players. Vulnerabilities and risks to Botswana’s key institutions and processes are exacerbated by the unguarded infiltration of private economic interests into the public sector through political patronage. There is also a deteriorating culture of compliance amongst private sector operators due to lack of strong ethics and values that govern their anti-corruption practices.
Strong and effective institutions are an integral part of the service delivery of any government. The effectiveness of these institutions is however not something that is a by product or happens by chance; governments need to be intentional about strengthening them and must be clear about their mandates. Coordination, data capability, implementation and quality of bureaucracy are four indicators of strong institutions that have been put forward.
Botswana youth's participation in politics and gneral issues of governance is quite low de spite the fact that the youth population is the majority. A trickle down effect of this apathy towards political participation is a lack of involvement in anti-corruption efforts. The absence of such a large part of the society frustrates the fight against corruption and denies anti-corruption initiatives the youth voice which could ensure their sustainability, considering that the youth are the future leaders of Botswana. It is imperative that the youth take up the fight against corruption, to ensure that their voice is heard and they have a role in shaping the Botswana of tomorrow that they envision.
A summary of the motions debated in Botswana's National Assembly in the year 2021. There is also discussion where necessary, of the history of certain Acts as per enactment and amendments as the case may be.
This paper is based on BCPI expert roundtable discussions meant to educate citizens on how to measure democratic performance. Botswana is battling different economic and social problems in the form of a high unemployment rate, endemic corruption, inadequate provision of quality social services and the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. These are all performance indicators (Covid being a temporary one) that speak to the lived realities of citizens and through which one can make an assessment of the government of the day. The performance of a democratic government should be looked at objectively by citizens without too much partisan influence. The paper makes a case that the progress of the nation should take precedence over the need to come into power of opposition, and that to retain power for a ruling party.
In March 2020, Botswana as with the rest of the world was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. The crisis demanded both financial and legislative and constitutional provisions to serve as socio economic impact mitigation efforts against the pandemic. This brief explores the governance issues caused by the pandemic and gaps thereof especially in terms of looking to the future and being better prepared for pandemics and national emergencies. The ethical issues arising from the public procurement process owed to the fact that at the time of spending these public funds, democratic governance had given way for a state of public emergency which allows for restrictions on certain freedoms and liberties and processes.
Whistleblowing Act, 2016: “an Act to provide for the manner in which a person may disclose conduct adverse to the public interest; to provide for the manner of reporting and investigations of disclosures of impropriety; and the protection against victimization of persons who make the disclosures; and to provide for related matters”
Whistleblowing has been identified as one of the tools effective for combating fraud and other corrupt acts. It can expose not only corruption, but also a swing of activities – such as environmental risk or discrimination – that can be harmful not only to the public service or company itself, but to the public at large. Yet people may hesitate to disclose information, either because they are unaware of how they can, or because they are frightened of the consequences.
A policy on whistleblowing within organizations and departments is a first step for assisting the whistle-blower to disclose but also embedding a culture of openness for everybody’s benefit. Botswana Centre for Public Integrity (BCPI) and the Botswana Federation of Trade Union (BFTU) seeks to draft a Code of Good Practice on Whistleblowing to provide guidelines to assist employers and employees on how to make, facilitate, and manage disclosures, as a way of inspiring whistleblowing policies in various organizations, departments and companies in the Botswana context, against the Botswana Whistleblowing Act (2016).
As states trend towards undemocratic practices, it is not unheard of for principles surrounding access to information (ATI) to become threatened. Access to Information allows for citizens to access government records which then ensures that ordinary citizens can keep their governments accountable. While within sub-Saharan Africa Botswana consistently ranks high for its access to information (ATI) and anti-corruption standards, the country lacks legal frameworks and legislation to combat the issue.
To reach the answer of what the role of Civil Society is in managing Corruption, there lies the inherent need to self reflect and understand what our understanding of Corruption is, and what our definition of Civil Society is.
Answering these two questions will:
a. Give us a clearer picture of WHAT we are combating. Are our efforts against corruption challenged because we are not adequately grasping what corruption IS? Are our definitions clashing with those of the people around us? Do we count all “unethical” behaviour as corrupt behaviour? Is our definition of corruption based on a legal, political, academic, social, religious, individual or mixed understanding? How will each of these perspectives change the way we tackle corruption and the results we can expect?
b. Explain why we place ANY expectation at all on the shoulders of CSO. Are those expectations reasonable and or achievable considering what we define Civil Society to be?
Botswana’s Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) was established in 1994 by an Act of Parliament, the Corruption and Economic Crime Act (Cap 08:05, hereafter referred to as “The Act”) of 1994, last amended in 2013. DCEC is thus a statutory body created to combat corruption and economic crime however, there is a need to amend Botswana’s Corruption and Economic Crimes Act. The law has multiple inadequacies that constrain the fight against corruption and continued protection and use of these inadequacies suggests that they were by design, which lessens public trust in the institution and the government.
Section 65(A) of Botswana’s Constitution establishes the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), which consists of the Chairman who shall be a judge of the High Court appointed by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), a legal practitioner appointed by the JSC; and five other persons fit, proper and impartial, also appointed by the JSC from a list of persons recommended by the All Party Conference.
The functions of the IEC are stipulated under Section 65(A)(12) as to (i) conduct and supervise elections of the Elected Members of the National Assembly and members of a local authority, and conduct of a referendum; (ii) to give instructions and directions to the Secretary of the Commission in regard to the exercise of his or her functions under the electoral law prescribed by an Act of Parliament; (iii) ensure that elections are conducted efficiently, properly, freely and fairly; and (iv) perform such other functions as may be prescribed by an Act of Parliament.
In 1982 a Presidential Commission on Economic Opportunities recommended the establishment of a Public Commissioner to address maladministration in the public sector. In the 1990s the emergence of three Presidential Commissions that implicated high ranking public officials and members of Parliament in grand corruption scandals, necessitated mechanisms to be put in place to combat corruption (Tonwe 2013). Consequently this led to the enactment of the Corruption and Economic Crime Act, 1994, under which the anti-corruption agency the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), was established. The following year saw the enactment of the Ombudsman Act in 1995 to make provision for the appointment and functions of an ombudsman for the investigation of administrative action taken on behalf of the Government, and for purposes connected therewith, the Act commenced on the 1st December 1997.
The Directorate of Intelligence and Security Service (DISS) is the National Intelligence Agency of Botswana established by the Intelligence and Security Service Act which commenced in 2008. With its inception, the DISS took over some of the functions of the Botswana Police Security Intelligence Service, formerly the Special Branch, which in 1998 had been reorganised and renamed Security Intelligence Service. The Standalone DISS was formed due to the realisation that its ‘equivalent’ in the police service was not getting sufficient cooperation from stakeholders due to being attached to the police service; there was a seeming discomfort in sharing intelligence, out of fear that it would be used for policing or prosecutorial purposes (Tsholofelo 2014).
The Directorate of Public Prosecution (herein DPP) is the government appointed office responsible for prosecuting criminal cases on behalf of the state. They oversee the work of the prosecutors to ensure that indeed justice is served in accordance with the law.The Directorate of Public Prosecutions is headed by the Director of Public Prosecutions who is a presidential appointee as per Section 51A of the Constitution.
The DPP Office was first established in Botswana in 1972 under the State Proceedings Act but later, reestablished and reconstructed by the Constitutional Amendment of 2005. The establishment of the Directorate is provided for in section 51A of the Constitution. The provision stipulates that there shall be a Director of Public Prosecutions appointed by the President whose office shall be a public office and who shall be subject to the administrative supervision of the Attorney-General.
The constitution provides for an independent and accountable DPP Office separate from the Attorney General’ office which previously bore the responsibility of the prosecution of criminal cases. In the past, prosecutorial responsibility being held by the Attorney General’s office was quite a contested issue since it gave government power and control over the prosecution process; this could potentially result in cases being pursued for political reasons rather than for the pursuit of justice.The establishment of the DPP was therefore seen as an important step in ensuring the independence of the prosecution process and in upholding the rule of law in Botswana. The DPP is now responsible for prosecuting criminal cases on behalf of the government, and operates independently of both the government and the judiciary.
The Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Act, No 12 of 2019 as amended by Act No.1 of 2020 is enacted to make provision for the declaration of interests, income, assets and liabilities of certain categories of persons; to monitor the interests, income, assets and liabilities of those persons for the purposes of preventing and detecting corruption, money laundering and the acquisition of property from proceeds of any other offence, and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. The Act established the Ethics and Integrity Directorate as the regulatory body under section 4.
The declaration of interests, income, assets and liabilities of certain categories of persons is essential for the purposes of preventing and detecting corruption, money laundering and the acquisition of property from proceeds of any other offence, and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. The declaration of assets and liabilities is a fundamental tool to enhance transparency and accountability to prevent corruption, prevent false accusations of wealth, detect illicit enrichment and conflicts of interests.
Whistleblowing has been identified as one of the tools effective for combating fraud and other corrupt acts. It can expose not only corruption, but also a swing of activities – such as environmental risk or discrimination – that can be harmful not only to the public service or company itself, but to the public at large. Yet people may hesitate to disclose information, either because they are unaware of how they can, or because they are frightened of the consequences. A policy on whistleblowing within organisations and departments
is a first step for assisting the whistle-blower to disclose but also embedding a culture of openness for everybody’s benefit.
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Human Rights Activist, Noble Price Lareate
Without strong watchdog institutions, impunity becomes the very foundation upon which systems of corruption are built.
Third President of Botswana, Africa Renewal
Leadership is not always about you, it's about the people and often circumstances. I call upon African leaders to open up to second generation rights.
American Author and Pastor SaddleBack Church
Having authority implies responsibility. If you reject the blame for failures under your watch, people reject your leadership.
Secretary General, OECD
Integrity, transparency against corruption have to be part of the culture. They have to be thought as fundamental values.