Monday, March 8, 2021

Local Govt moves to implement findings of Venson Commission

Executive Secretary of the Botswana Association of Local Authorities (BALA), Ketlhomilwe Moletsane, has said that the Local Government is implementing the recommendations of the Pelonomi Venson Commission of the early 2000s, a clear evidence of which is the incorporation of BALA into the Local Government Act of 2012.

In an interview Thursday, Moletsane said that another recommendation of the Commission is the Councillors’ code of conduct handbook, which will be launched in the forth-coming commemorative event for 30 years of developmental local governance, scheduled for Maun from 13-15 May 2014.

He said though the Venson Commission also recommended that local governance be constitutionalised, the government rejected it. The government’s reason he said, was that the current arrangement has properly served its purpose from before independence in 1966 and therefore it found no reason for change.

BALA however, just as the commission observed, is of the premise that ‘democracy should be predictable and its predictability should be anchored around statutes like the constitution.’

Moletsane reasons that things might still seem to be the same as more than 40 years ago because the country is still governed by Botswana Democratic Party. Maybe if another leadership ascends governance changes are bound occur. To him, the word ‘government’ as depicted in ‘Local Government’ is paramount and should not be like anything less. Its exclusion from the constitution is therefore tantamount to its belittlement.

No wonder the functions of local Government were trampled upon. Services that could earn revenue for local government were transferred to central government and parastatals ÔÇô water from councils to water utilities, and clinics from councils to central government. It remains unknown, the impact these transfers have brought to the beneficiaries of such services.

“If Local Government was protected by the constitution its functions could not have been moved around willy-nilly,” he said, adding that they are not going to leave it lying down. Local Government should be independent economically and rendering services may come handy towards that.

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