Sunday, September 27, 2020

Civil society calls for commission of enquiry into Botswana-De Beers dealings

The Botswana Council of Non-Governmental Organisations (BOCONGO), a conglomerate of local civic society organisations, has finally spoken out about its concern and displeasure at reports that the government of Botswana and De Beers were involved in underhand dealings.

BOCONGO recently issued a statement in which it called for a commission of enquiry to investigate reports that Botswana’s political leaders and De Beers were involved in underhand dealings, adding that the said reports are a cause for great concern.

“Any patriot will agree that these media reports are not just cause for great consternation but also an embarrassment and assault on our democracy and governance structures and processes. Such developments compromise the integrity and credibility of Botswana as a shining example of democracy and good governance,” read the statement.

BOCONGO further said that the reports have the potential of eroding the trust and confidence that the nation had previously bestowed on its leaders, further casting aspersions on the transparency in the negotiations and agreements that Botswana entered into with De beers in its diamond dealings.

“BOCONGO calls on the government of Botswana to institute a commission of enquiry and thoroughly investigate this matter and on any other undisclosed dealings, which have a bearing on democracy and governance issues at national and district levels”.

It also urged government to implement a motion adopted by Parliament some years ago that calls for declaration of assets and liabilities by political leaders, while on the other hand calling for the Freedom of Information Act to be instituted to allow transparency in public interest dealings.

While reiterating its commitment to working with the government and all other stakeholders in achieving goals and ideals of Vision 2016 and the Millennium Development Goals, BOCONGO remains adamant that such objectives cannot be reached without transparency and good governance.

“It is our conviction that this cannot be possible in an environment clouded by lack of transparency, accountability and good governance,” the statement concluded.

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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.