Proposed law limiting Gaborone public gatherings rejected

Earlier this year, Urban Africa reported on a proposed by-law that would require organizers of public events in Botswana’s capital to obtain a permit. The Gaborone City Council (GCC), despite mixed feelings about the bill, has largely come out against it.

The Monitor reports that councillors are concerned about large sporting and political events, particularly political rallies. There is also concern about religious and cultural gatherings – funerals, weddings and church services – which typically involve more than 50 people.

Councillor Rupert Hambira “said the law is also contradictory in the sense that it compels one to request and submit indemnity forms for hosting of events like music festivals,” according to The Monitor. “He said that indemnity forms stipulate that attendees come at their own risk while at the other end the by-law states that it is the responsibility of those hosting the events to take care of the attendants.”

“The councillors said there are issues to consider before passing the by-law like why a permit application would be rejected. Failure to comply with the by-law makes one liable to a fine of P5,000 or a five year imprisonment term, or both. The by-law was deferred on the basis that councillors must give some input before a decision is made. Gaborone mayor Haskins Nkaingwa said it was a good move that councillors deferred the proposed by-law, and that they would not support it in their respective wards.”

Given the concerns of the GCC, the future of the Events and Promotions by-law in Botswana’s capital is unclear.

For the full story visit The Monitor.


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