Maverick ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) chief whip in parliament and Letlhakane/Lephephe law maker, Liakat Kablay is calling for a salary increment for Members of Parliament (MPs) across the political aisle.
When speaking to WeekendPost this week Kablay stated blatantly that he was representing all MPs and pushing for their welfare; particularly the BDP backbenchers’ who he said have been abandoned and “feel precluded”.
According to Kablay, they worry more because of the “low wages and benefits”.
The opinionated cum non-conformist ruling party legislator highlighted with vigour that salary raises for the lawmakers was long overdue. “We have proposed around 20% of salary increase at the Office of the President (OP) and it has been almost 1 year while awaiting response,” Kablay lamented.
The outspoken lawmaker observed that at least all political parties represented in parliament agree on the increase unreservedly. He said it has been years since their salaries were increased, adding that they need better conditions of service.
MP’s want constituency automobiles
“Parliamentarians want conditions of service improved especially an introduction of constituency vehicles that they can use on official duties at their constituencies as some areas are wide-ranging and it is so costly to transverse the whole constituency,” Kablay cried out on behalf of other MPs in an interview.
He added that the state of affairs is detrimental to progresses of the area being reached and this may also affect the incumbents from retaining their respective parliamentary seats.
The ruling party law maker labelled the lack of constituency vehicles by MPs as a “disgrace” to the “Honourable” men and women citing an example of Social Workers whom he said are allocated transport by government at their respective places particularly in rural and subjugated areas.
According to the BDP Chief Whip, if there is no salary augmentation as yet, which looks likely, the government should then donate cars to them to relief them at their various constituencies. He dismissed the suggestion that they have parliamentary automobiles saying they only transport them to the national assembly from the parliamentary flats and vice versa and “that’s not enough”.
He further argued that in a year they are only allowed to use the cars four times travelling to the constituency only.
Kablay: “we are not jealous of the ministers but…”
The BDP backbencher also took a swipe at the executive pointing out that while as MPs they lack constituency based vehicles, ministers and Assistant Ministers are chauffeured around in luxurious two separate cars for each.
He said: “Ministers and Assistant Ministers have Prados that they use to travel to their constituencies and other cars (Mercedes Benz or BMW model) that they use to perform ministerial duties and that may also extend to when travelling to funerals, weddings and other social functions.”
“But just imagine, as MPs we only want one automobile to travel to our constituency kgotla meetings,” the Letlhakane/Lephephe legislator fired while adding that they are not “jealous” of the ministers but want to further caution them that they may be dropped at any point and join the backbench which he described as “mostly mistreated and overlooked”.
He pointed out that as a ruling party chief whip, when things go wrong he speaks up unequivocally from the front row without fear of retributions from anywhere.
He also stressed that democracy is expensive and should be handled as such particularly when making sure that crucial developmental information reaches the people who have sent them to represent them at parliament.
Kablay sits in the parliamentary committee of Members Rights and Interest and Privileges. The committee basically looks into the welfare of the MPs from time to time. He said what he is advocating for is what the committee wants as well, and they are still waiting for response from the OP after submitting crucial proposals.
Other members of the committee include BDP MP for Mahalapye West Joseph Molefhe, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC)’s Shawn Ntlhaile who represents Jwaneng/Mabutsane constituency as well as Gaborone North’s UDC legislator Haskins Nkaigwa who also chairs the committee.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.