Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Constitutional Review exercise now doomed from the start – Duma Boko

Leader of opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change Duma Boko has said the announcement of the commissioners for the impeding Constitutional Review by the Office of the President marks a bad start and dangerous error.

On Friday president Mokgweetsi Masisi released a list of people who will serve as commissioners.

Names of people who will serve as secretaries top the commission were also released.

The Commission is Chaired by former Chief Justice Maruping Dibotelo. The Deputy is veteran trade unionist Johnson Motshwarakgole.

Speaking to the Sunday Standard Boko said the list of commissioners suffers the obvious taint of representing the choice of a single individual: a President of uncabinned powers who has always held himself above accountability.

“This taint undermines the constitutional review process from the start. It is exactly what the process should aim to change,” said Boko.

He said the list of commissioners should have come from genuine consultations with every facet of civil society and all the role players in the country.

“This taint bespeaks the attitude of president Masisi; this behemoth who bestrides  and controls everything. The team’s credibility is called into question,” he said.

Boko said “insincerity” of the hand that appointed the Commissioners is in “full display.”

He called for vigilance on the part of society.

For his part the Leader of Opposition in Parliament Dumelang Saleshando poured water on a list of people announced by Office of the President as Commissioners of Constitutional Review exercise.

In an interview with Sunday Standard Saleshando said it is clear that in going ahead and announcing the commissioners without engaging with other key stakeholders, it is clear that  president Mokgweetsi Masisi does not want to be inclusive.

“I wrote to the President  requesting for consultation over the process to be followed for the constitutional review; how will the commissioners be chosen? How will the terms of reference be determined?” said Saleshando.

He said it is clear that the president does not want to consult.

“In response to the [State of the Nation address] SONA I raised the same issues. During the Maun Kgotla meeting I appealed to the president not to commence the process without consulting key stakeholders,” reiterated Saleshando.

The concern among some people is that the choice of commissioners is heavily tilted towards people from the South – both the chairman and his deputy are from the same geographical region as the president himself.

This has been a recurring accusation of Masisi’s key and consequential appointments.

The deputy secretary General of trade federation, BOFEPUSU, Ketlhalefile Motshegwa says what the president has opted to do is miles away from what BOFEPUSU had suggested and hoped for from the exercise.

The key elements of BOFEPUSU summary on Constitutional review included demonstration of honesty and political will on the process of consultation.

The trade unions had also suggested inclusivity and transparency, enough time and also resources towards the process.

They had also said the final product be put to the people at a referendum.

“In his approach the president appointed the commissioners, the president unilaterally  decided terms of reference, the commission will report to him rather than parliament. In essence he has centralized power in this process and is over-controlling it. His approach lacks people’s participation,” said Motshegwa.

He added that the president should haver set out by convening a stakeholders’ conference where civic society, media, labour movement, women groups, youth groups, church and others would be represented to do amongst other things crafting of the terms of reference.

“Our view is that the Constitutional review process must reflect the participation and aspirations of the people,” said Motshegwa.

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