Billy Buti, Member of Parliament for Francistown East
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbench Members of Parliament have been sidelined in the formulation of the recently announced Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP, Weekend Post has established.
Despite party Secretary General Botsalo Ntuane’s recent proclamation that ESP is the starting point in which the party, instead of government officials will be in charge of formulating policies, bureaucrats will once ahead spear the ESP.
Ntuane told BDP delegates at the party’s Special Congress last month that going forward the party will now start taking centre stage in formulation of government policies. Ntuane further used
ESP as a reference point after the programme was announced at the party gathering against the established tradition.
However, the situation on the ground suggests that the cabinet alongside senior government officials are still in charge of formulating government policies at the exclusion of key players like party MPs backbenchers.
Government is yet to announce complete details of ESP but according to President Khama, very soon a booklet detailing the framework of the programme will be available soon and distributed to the public.
What is now evident is that BDP backbenchers are as clueless as the as the rest of the public on what the ESP will entail. As things stand on the side of BDP backbenchers the guessing game lingers on while waiting for the details of the programme to be revealed.
At least two backbenchers this week while responding to President Khama’s State of Nation Address painted a picture which signalled their exclusion in the formulation of the idea.
This week, MP for Boteti East Sethomo Lelatisitswe revealed in parliament that only cabinet members and high ranking government officials are involved in formulation of the much talked about initiative. “I am also not aware of what ESP entails just like opposition MPs,” he said, “I am hoping that it will address the concerns of my constituents.”
Billy Buti, Member of Parliament for Francistown East did not mince his words when he commented on the ESP as he warned that failure to do it properly will spell doom for Botswana’s economy. This is so because, according to Buti, government has gone against the trend and pursued a risk move of tapping into the foreign reserves.
Billy contended that the decision to go for foreign reserves could either make or break the economy. “It should be done properly because we do not want another Ipelegeng,” he said.
The Francistown East legislator envisages ESP as an initiative which would create permanent and sustainable jobs. Buti took a jab at government for job losses and blamed it for not doing enough to preserve jobs.
The motion brought before parliament recently requesting to suspend termination of BNYC employees until investigation is carried out is a case in point for Buti. He said despite the motion, government went ahead and terminated the contracts of over 30 employees. “We say we want to create jobs, yet our actions are counterproductive,” he observed.
ESP has come under attack even before the programme is rolled out. Majority of opposition MPs said it is possibly a conduit for corruption for those who are involved in the decision making. Tati East MP Moyo Guma is one of the legislators who had defended the ESP as he noted that MPs should only expect a proper budget of the programme next year when the budget is presented by Minister of Finance and Development Planning.
The outgoing President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ian Kirby, shares his thoughts with us as he leaves the Bench at the end of this year.
WeekendPost: Why did you move between the Attorney General and the Bench?
Ian Kirby: I was a member of the Attorney General’s Chambers three times- first in 1969 as Assistant State Counsel, then in 1990 as Deputy Attorney General (Civil), and finally in 2004 as Attorney General. I was invited in 2000 by the late Chief Justice Julian Nganunu to join the Bench. I was persuaded by former President Festus Mogae to be his Attorney General in 2004 as, he said, it was my duty to do so to serve the nation. I returned to the Judiciary as soon as I could – in May 2006, when there was a vacancy on the High Court Bench.
Botswana’s civil society is one of the non-state actors that could save the country’s democracy from sliding into regression, a Germany based think tank has revealed. This is according to a discussion paper by researchers at the German Development Institute who analysed the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes In Botswana.
In the paper titled “E-government and democracy in Botswana: Observational and experimental evidence on the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes,” the researchers offer a strongly worded commentary on Botswana’s ‘flawed democracy.’ The authors noted that with Botswana’s Parliament structurally – and in practice – feeble, the potential for checks and balances on executive power rests with the judiciary.
Bangwato in Serowe — where Bamagwato Paramount Chief and former President Lt. Gen Ian Khama originates – disagree on whether they must send a delegation to dialogue with President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s family in Moshupa. Just last week, a meeting was called by the Regent of Bamagwato, Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane, at Serowe Kgotla to, among others, update the tribe on the whereabouts of their Kgosi (Khama).
Further, his state of health was also discussed, with Kgamane telling the attendees that all is well with Khama. The main reason for the meeting was to deliberate on the escalating tension between Khama and Masisi — a three-year bloodletting going unabated.