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African Ombudsman & Mediators Association (AOMA) conference ...

The highly anticipated meeting of the African Ombudsman & Mediators Association (AOMA), Southern Africa Region, commenced yesterday on a high note at Phakalane Golf Resort and will end today on the 29 November 2011. The meeting was officially opened by Honourable Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration Mr. Mokgweetsi Masisi.

In his opening remarks, the Minister expressed that among others, the AOMA meeting must provide the country of Botswana an opportunity to reflect long and hard about how to make the institution much more effective and relevant to the people of Botswana. He said the role of the Ombudsman should continue to be premised on justice, equity and fairness.

The Minister highlighted that AOMA has a unique challenge and opportunity to play a critical role in helping rebuild the battered image of governance throughout Africa and concluded by saying that he expects practical solution to come out of the conference that will drive to action.

The Acting Ombudsman of Botswana, Ms. Matshidiso Bokole asserted that she is delighted that Botswana is the host of the prestigious event, as the country was active in the formation of the Association, which demonstrates that Botswana has contributed significantly to the Ombudsman movement in Africa and the world.

Ms. Bokole said the Government of Botswana is committed to good governance under the country’s National Vision 2016 goals and affirmed that the most relevant pillar for the Office of the Ombudsman is that of An Open, Democratic and Accountable Nation.

Advocate Thulisile N. Madonsela, Executive Secretary of AOMA, also the Public Protector of South Africa AOMA, reiterated her sincere condolences on behalf of the Republic of South Africa and AOMA, to the Botswana Ombudsman Office and to the people of Botswana, for the untimely demise of their colleague, the late Mr. Ofentse Lepodise, Ombudsman of Botswana.

The Executive Secretary said the meeting was the first Southern Africa Regional Meeting of its kind and also marks a historical milestone in the evolution of AOMA as a home and networking forum for the African Ombudsman.

She said the meeting is in pursuit of a decision they took at the Executive Committee meeting of AOMA in Addis Ababa, with a view to strengthening regions as crucibles for consolidating AOMA’s presence and impact on the continent.

At a welcome dinner organized for the delegates, Member of Parliament for the area, Mr. Robert Masitara affirmed his appreciation of the magnificent role the Ombudsman institution plays in promoting good administration and human rights. He said the institution is democratic and pointed out that countries without it are frowned on, by the democratic community of nations, as wanting in transparency, accountability and respect for human.

Mr. Masitara lamented that worthy of emphasis is the fact that for Ombudsman institutions to thrive and be effective, they need to be supported with adequate financial and human resources, and an environment conducive for them to act independently in their operations. 

AOMA is holding a regional meeting in preparation for the Association’s General Assembly to be held in Mali in February 2012. The African Ombudsman & Mediators Association (AOMA) exists to support and protect the independence and development of African Ombudsman institutions by promoting information exchanges and best practices for the advancement of good governance and human rights in Africa.

The Vision of the Association is: “To be a respected and professional association for the promotion of Open, Accountable and Democratic Governance.”

This meeting is profoundly significant in the history of the Botswana Ombudsman Office, as this is the country’s first time to host an event of this magnitude, specifically International Ombudsman Associations. In addition to this, the meeting will also garner the country some points in the international Governance ratings and afford the country an opportunity to interact with other Ombudsmen in the Southern African Region and share country experiences on “Ombudzing”.    


For more information please contact: Fenny E. Letshwiti The Office of Ombudsman Public Relations, TEL: 395 3322., eletshwiti@gov.bw


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