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Nasha scolds Opposition MPs

Publishing Date : 08 December, 2014


Former Speaker, Margaret Nasha laughs off opposition antics

The former National Assembly Speaker, Dr Margaret Nasha who was deposed from her position by the ruling Botswana Democratic Party  (BDP) has laughed off the opposition’s move to protest parliamentary commitee elections.

The outspoken former Speaker of the National Assembly observed that news of a warring Parliament a few weeks after take off ‘is a bad start’.

This week, the opposition  walked out of Parliament in protest over what they called the ruling tghe Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)’s unfair practice in electing members of the Standing Commitees of the National Assembly.

The Opposition led by the Leader of Opposition and its Chief Whip addressed a heated press conference through which they expressed displeasure over the chairmanship of most of the parliamentary commitees.

While the opposition is adamant that it has a case to abandon Parliamentary proceedings, the BDP on the other hand, is of the view that the opposition should understand that they are a party in power. They posit that the opposition should stop being cry babies when democracy unfolds. The BDP has always been of the view that the commitee representation numbers should reflect the number of one’s seats in parliament.

But for Nasha, it is something different. “Moo ke mathata (that one is a problem),” she says after busting out in her trademark laughter after being engaged on the subject.

She continued: “I do not know whom we can bring to this country to tell us that commitee chairmanship is all about choosing a skilled and experienced person who has leadership qualities”.

Nasha observed that nothing exists in a vacuum, “democracy is naturally a clean word and no one should hide behind it to oppress the other.” According to Nasha, failure to acknowledge each other may bring unfortunate situations later. “Members of a committee may disown a committee report if unhappy.

Nasha who said she has not been following closely the proceedings after her loss in the Speaker race said she is constrained to give more insights as people may misconstrue her views as sour grapes or from a bitter loser.

“I am focusing on other things but these are not new things, I have talked about them, they will talk about them and the coming generations. Why didn’t Winter (Mmolotsi) and others warn their new comrades,” she said before laughing uncontrollably.

Nasha however said it is a bad start for Parliament, “it is sad and bad.We can only hope that people will come to their senses.We however cannot at this stage say whether this will be a rebellious parliament or not.”

Nasha advised that both parties should be given a chance to reflect, “We can only make judgements after two or so parliamentary sittings.

After the walk out by opposition MPs, the ruling BDP hurridly moved to protect parliament from being adjourned for lack of forming quorum by calling some of their members who were not in Parliament. A quorum for a sitting of the Parliament or a committee of the whole Parliament is one-third of the number of seats in the Parliament at the time.

The National Assembly Speakers have always warned MPs that the integrity of the House was at stake and appealed to them to honour the House and their positions-  as it would reflect badly on the House.

Reached for commet, the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leader, Dumelang Saleshando was perplexed at the behaviour of the ruling BDP. “How can you have members of the BDP leading the committees when the committees are meant to provide oversight on the executive. It is illogical,” he said further adding that one cannot police themselves.

Saleshando said parliementary delegations may be rejected on international missions in future if the opposition is shunned.  It is understood that a row began over the elections of the members of the Inter Parliamentary Union when the opposition demanded a 50-50 representation.

The Opposition MPs have unanimously agreed to withdraw from all the 23 Parliamentary Committees and 5 Inter-Parliamentary Committees ‘until the ruling party comes to its senses’saying they (BDP) over-dominate the committees despite their backbench being in minority. There are 20 opposition MPs and 15 BDP MPs eligible for these committees.