MAUN ÔÇô Business leaders who gathered in Maun over the past week for the bi-annual BOCCIM national business conference have reiterated the importance of enacting freedom of information legislation, saying the practice is vital in providing checks and balances and promoting transparency both in government, private sector and in civil society.
One of the business leaders, who is also the former head of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo warned that “corruption thrives under the cloak of secrecy, especially if the decision making processes are not transparent and accountable”. Katlholo called for freedom of information legislation and cautioned government against breeding a “conspiracy of blindness and silence” in the fight against corruption.
Katlholo’s suggestion to have the freedom of information law was later listed amongst the adopted resolutions. BOCCIM is expected to channel its suggestion to the government through the HLCC meetings. However, the call goes against the popular sentiments at the government enclave where calls for Freedom of Information Act have been spurned and laws enforcing a closed and secretive society advocated. On Tuesday this week, the deputy director – policy at Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), Botlhale Makgekgenene said at the BOCCIM business conference that the private sector should be seen implementing the code of conduct to promote good governance.
In 2012, the Law Society of Botswana, MISA Botswana Chapter, Press Council of Botswana, Botswana Sector of Educators Trade Union, Botswana Public Employees Union, Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions, Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS, Botswana Council of Non-Governmental Organisations, Botswana Land Boards and Local Authorities Health Workers Union collectively expressed their disappointment after the ruling party legislators used their numbers in parliament to oppose the Freedom of Information Bill (FOB). The rejection followed an attempt made by former Member of Parliament for Gaborone Central, Dumelang Saleshando to sponsor a private member’s Bill.