Speaker of the National Assembly, Gladys Kokorwe this week scolded Members of Parliament (MP’s) across the political divide for the proclivity undesirable behaviour inside the ‘respected’ law making institution. She has promised to apply Standing Orders strictly, and has already ejected two legislators from Parliament.
This publication has established that Kokorwe made the nerve-jangling remarks during the General Assembly this week as parliament resumed business of the 11th parliament in Gaborone. In normal practice the Assembly ensues every Thursday when parliament is on session.
According to a ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) legislator who spoke to Weekend Post on condition of anonymity, Kokorwe signalled a speaker who is ready this parliamentary session to put any non-compliant law maker into line.
“She raised alarm about objectionable conduct by some law makers across the political aisle which she said leaves a lot to be desired,” the source revealed.
With a determined tone, she was concerned with the indiscipline displayed among law makers and did not dilly-dally that parliamentary Standing Orders which govern the house will be applied and executed with “urgency”.
When explaining the MP’s behaviour, Kokorwe is said to have pointed out that some legislators “just come to parliament business to register and then disappear into thin air while they accumulate sitting allowance.”
“They come for 2 or 5 minutes and later vanish knowing very well they will nonetheless still be entitled to it (sitting allowance) as per the law and procedure,” the speaker asserted.
It was highlighted that the arrangement is prejudicial as some abiding legislators come to parliament from the daily sittings at 2 pm until 6pm during parliamentary business, and while others only customarily come to register.
There was also concern that Ministers hardly ever show up for parliamentary business. Instead of being present at parliament particularly to answer questions posed by other law makers, uneasiness was maintained that ministers are habitually deficient.
“After the observation that ministers are rarely in the law making organ’ daily business, it was deliberated that when parliament session is ‘on’ ministers movement at kgotla meetings should be condensed extensively.”
“They should be there at parliament to answer questions postured to their ministries,” Kokorwe maintained.
Although a categorical pronouncement was not reached on the matter, some MP’s felt that those who are absent for whatever reasons, should at least inform the country’s President Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, Parliament Speaker Kokorwe or their political party Chief Whips.
On the contrary, some however maintained that: “no one can recall us from parliament even if we are absent for whatever reason except the constituents.”
According to Kokorwe, the Parliament Standing Orders are very clear and she will enforce them with a sense of vigour in the current session and going forward.
It is understood that section 60.4 of the said Standing orders give chief whips power to move a motion in parliament, to suspend an MP for one week for indiscipline, if they continue after being reprimanded by a speaker.
Just this week, Kokorwe invoked the Standing Order and suspended Selibe Phikwe East law maker, Dithapelo Keorapetse synchronously with colleague representing Gaborone North, Haskins Nkaigwa from parliament for an effective whole week.
Both the MP’s are from opposition, with Keorapetse from Botswana Congress Party (BCP) while Nkaigwa is from Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). The parties have been accusing Kokorwe of “biasness” when applying parliamentary Standing Orders saying she was rather kind to her Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) which endorsed her into office.
Speaking to Weekend Post after Kokorwe slapped them with a one week suspension, Keorapetse stated that he “wanted to stand on a point of procedure but was misconstrued by the speaker and he was subsequently thrown outside”.
“The suspension is for the whole week,” he confirmed. He said he was disenchanted with Kokorwe’s verdict nonetheless. Kokorwe could not be reached for comment at the time of press. This suspension means that Keorapetse and Nkaigwa will miss out on deliberations and sitting allowance for a week.
Gaborone Central legislator Phenyo Butale was also forcefully removed from parliamentary buildings by security officers last year after his failed bid to successfully table a motion back then calling for an update of the water and electricity crisis bedevilling the country.
Kokorwe’s stance is said to be a way of protecting Botswana parliament from disruption similar to those common during the neighbouring South African Parliament sessions where the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has on several occasions brought parliament to a standstill demanding answers over wide ranging issues which they deemed critical and urgent.
In most cases, when they were not answered satisfactorily they often resort(ed) to disruption of parliament and habitually that led to their forceful ejection from parliament buildings.
Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng together with Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Elias Magosi, this week refused to name and shame the worst performing Ministries and to disclose the best performing Ministries since beginning of 12th parliament including the main reasons for underperformance.
Of late there have been a litany of complaints from both ends of the aisle with cabinet members accused of providing parliament with unsatisfactory responses to the questions posed. In fact for some Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers a meeting with the ministers and party leadership is overdue to address their complaints. Jwaneng-Mabutsane MP, Mephato Reatile is also not happy with ministers’ performance.
Bokamoso Private Hospital is battling a P10 million legal suit for a botched fibroids operation which resulted in a woman losing an entire womb and her prospects of bearing children left at zero.
The same suit has also befallen the Attorney General of Botswana who is representing the Ministry of Health and Wellness for their contributory negligence of having the unlawful removal of a patient, Goitsemang Magetse’s womb.
According to the court papers, Magetse says that sometimes in November 2019, she was diagnosed with fibroids at Marina Hospital where upon she was referred to Bokamoso Private Hospital to schedule an appointment for an operation to remove the fibroids, which she did.
Magetse continues that at the instance of one Dr Li Wang, the surgeon who performed the operation, and unknown to her, an operation to remove her whole womb was conducted instead. According to Magetse, it was only through a Marina Hospital regular check-up that she got to learn that her whole womb has been removed.
“At the while she was under the belief that only her fibroids have been removed. By doing so, the hospital has subjected itself to some serious delictual liability in that it performed a serious and life changing operation on patient who was under the belief that she was doing a completely different operation altogether. It thus came as a shock when our client learnt that her womb had been removed, without her consent,” said Magetse’s legal representatives, Kanjabanga and Associates in their summons.
The letter further says, “this is an infringement of our client‘s rights and this infringement has dire consequences on her to the extent that she can never bear children again”. ‘It is our instruction therefore, to claim as we hereby do, damages in the sum of BWP 10,000,000 (ten million Pula) for unlawful removal of client’s womb,” reads Kanjabanga Attorneys’ papers. The defendants are yet to respond to the plaintiff’s papers.
What are fibroids?
Fibroids are tumors made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They develop in the uterus. It is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of women will develop fibroids in their lifetime — however, not everyone will develop symptoms or require treatment.
The most important characteristic of fibroids is that they’re almost always benign, or noncancerous. That said, some fibroids begin as cancer — but benign fibroids can’t become cancer. Cancerous fibroids are very rare. Because of this fact, it’s reasonable for women without symptoms to opt for observation rather than treatment.
Studies show that fibroids grow at different rates, even when a woman has more than one. They can range from the size of a pea to (occasionally) the size of a watermelon. Even if fibroids grow that large, we offer timely and effective treatment to provide relief.
The Alliance for Progressives (AP) President Ndaba Gaolathe has said that despite major accolades that Botswana continues to receive internationally with regard to the state of economy, the prospects for the future are imperilled.
Delivering his party Annual Policy Statement on Thursday, Gaolathe indicated that Botswana is in a state of do or die, and that the country’s economy is on a sick bed. With a major concern for poverty, Gaolathe pointed out that almost half of Botswana’s people are ravaged by or are about to sink into poverty. “Our young people have lost the fire to dream about what they could become,” he said.