Botswana: Lawmakers Debate Whistleblowing Bill

| July 11, 2016

Members of Parliament have resumed debate on the Whistleblowing Bill, 2015, (Bill No.19 of 2015) that was presented before Parliament for a second reading by the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Mr Eric Molale.

The object of the Bill, published on November 9, 2015, is to provide for the manner in which a person may, in the public interest, disclose information adverse to the public interest; manner of reporting and investigation of disclosure of impropriety and the protection against victimisation of persons who make the disclosures and related matters. Part II of the Bill provides for the type of disclosure which is protected by the Bill, whilst Part III provides for the procedure for disclosing certain information relating to impropriety and the action that should be taken.

Additionally, Part IV, Part V and Part VI of the Bill provides for the protection of persons who make disclosures relating to impropriety, offences and penalties under the Bill and miscellaneous provisions, respectively.

Contributing to the debate on Thursday, Bobonong MP, Mr Shaw Kgathi said the Bill would help in combating corruption and wrongdoings by encouraging people to report and tip relevant authorities on improper conducts that lead to criminal or corrupt practices in the public.

However, he said the Bill needed good public education to inform people on how to go about whistleblowing.

Once people are well informed and assured about their protection, he said they would willingly disclose improper conducts of crime and corruption without any fear.

"We can only encourage people to whistleblow only if we can assure them that we will offer them protection," he said.

Mahalapye East MP, Ms Botlogile Tshireletso said whistleblowing was very risky as it could expose the whistleblower to harassment or violence.

For that reason, she said she supported the Bill as it would protect people who disclose improper conducts of corruption.

Mahalapye West MP, Mr Joseph Molefe said the Bill would help to strengthen the protection of whistleblowers and their security, advising that "after whistleblowing people should refrain from boasting around about it."

Sefhare/Ramokgonami MP, Ms Dorcas Makgato said she supported the Bill, because it would give whistleblowers the comfort to come forth and report or disclose wrongdoings.

She also stressed that there should be extensive and comprehensive public education about the Bill. Some people, Ms Makgato said "have a tendency of going around bragging, after whistleblowing, thinking they have all the bragging right."

This, she said could expose them to danger or harassment by the perpetrators, adding that the public needed to be educated on the risks of doing that.

Shashe West MP, Mr Fidelis Molao also supported the Bill, saying it would help to address the social ills and the increasing cases of crime.

Meanwhile, Mr Kgathi tabled, a Statutory Instrument No. 15 of 2016: Commissioners of Oaths (Amendment of Schedule) Order, 2016. Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Mr Kenneth Matambo also tabled, Botswana Accountancy Oversight Authority Annual Report for the year ended 31st December 2015.

Source: Botswana Daily News

Category: Human Rights

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