MAUN: The Member of Parliament for Maun West, Kgosi Tawana Moremi attacked the Speaker of the National Assembly, Gladys Kokorwe at a fully packed meeting at the Batawana main Kgotla on Monday, citing her unfairness in conducting parliament session.
Kokorwe is on country tour programme of taking parliament to the people. Kgosi Tawana says the way members of parliament are pointed to speak in parliament only favours those in the ruling party and it is planned to frustrate opposition members, and are made to look as they are not contributing in parliament.
He highlighted that ‘those’ other members of parliament can make it hard for another member to express their views at the parliament (particularly himself). Kgosi Tawana said those members have invented a back stabbing plan to make sure that their target does not get the chance to speak.
He revealed that as it is at parliament whoever wants to get a chance to speak has to catch Kokorwe’s attention by making gestures by jumping up and down to have a chance to deliberate on the matter put on the table.
“In our parliament if some members of the parliament do not want you to talk they will mark you and make sure they divert the entire Speaker’s attention to themselves and make sure you never get the chance to speak until the stipulated time runs out,” said Kgosi Tawana.
Tawana further said the parliament standing orders are outdated and need to be revised so that they can be fair to all Members of Parliament. He highlighted that if the Speaker of the house does not want you to speak there is nothing that you can do, even if the motion discussed affects your constituency, Tawana even dared Kokorwe to stand up and dispute what he was saying which the Speaker refused to do.
Kgosi Tawana disclosed that in the previous parliament sitting he suggested that each Member of Parliament should be given stipulated time for each of them to get a chance to express their views.
Tawana noted that parliament has become a meeting place where bills and motions are passed but there is nothing that ensures they are implemented He gave the example of the declarations of assets motion which he said was long passed by Parliament but has not been enacted “there is nothing that we say in parliament that is implemented, I suggested that we have a motion that forces implementers to implement all the motions that are passed, failure to do so they can be held accountable,” Tawana said.
He pointed out that a lot needs to be done in order for parliament of Botswana to grow and be effective, “most of the times we never form quorum, and parliament proceeding are affected, it is in this context that I fully agree with live broadcast of parliament proceedings on television as it might help in curbing this absence of Members of Parliament particularly cabinet ministers who never show up to answer our questions. This is contributes to people losing confidence in the Parliament of Botswana.”
The Speaker of the National Assembly, Gladys Kokorwe, in an interview with Weekend Post confirmed that live broadcast of parliament proceedings had been agreed by parliament. “It has been agreed, and am pretty certain it will be done soon, funds permitting, it is something that am looking forward to, it will definitely help me because the public will see how their representatives are behaving and will also expose those who skip parliament.”
Kgosi Tawana also called on the Speaker of the house to see to it that Members of Parliament’s offices in constituencies are fully budgeted for. He complained that the budget allocated to them is not enough to carry out their duties ending up using their own money “every time we are to hold meetings or carry out some programmes in the area I have to take out money from my pocket.”
Special Economic Zone Authority’s (SEZA) P126 million Master Planning of Pandamatenga Special Economic Zones Business Case, Urban & Landscapes tender is in court after one of bidders, Moralo Design challenged its disqualification from the tender.
SEZA is transforming Pandamatenga into an Agropolis which will combine modern farming with top notch industrial, residential, commercial and recreational land use. The project is measured at 137, 007 ha which comprises of 84, 500 ha for commercial production, 12 400 ha for the subsistence production, 107 ha will be for Agro-processing while 40 000 ha will be for the Zambezi Integrated Agro-commercial Project (ZIACDP).
In their court papers, Moralo Designs, represented by Jones Moitshepi Firm, said they received a letter from SEZA on or around the 12th November 2020 notifying that their bid has been disqualified at the technical evaluation stage of the tender adjudication process.
In their response, Lonely Mogara who is Chief Executive Office of SEZA said Moralo Designs is not entitled to be heard by the court as the company never participated in the disputed tender hence SEZA knows the bidder as Moralo Design Consortium.
“Moralo Designs had failed to establish any right to be heard by the court. The fact that they had submitted a tender was not guarantee that they would be awarded the tender,” he said. “The reasons for the disqualification of Moralo Design Consortium’s bid were valid and justified because their bid was insufficient as it lacked vital information as required by the terms of reference.”
SEZA Chief said the requirements for the work plan and project programme were clearly stated in the Invitation To Tender (ITT). Moralo Design Consortium was not penalised for non-existent requirements. In disqualifying the bid by Moralo Designs Consortium, Mogara further indicated that SEZA considered that there was a requirement for a programme and work plan.
“The purported “project programme” that was submitted by Moralo Design Consortium failed to depict the activity durations, activity phasing and interrelations, milestones, delivery dates of reports and logical sequence of activities constituent with methodology and showing a clear understanding of the terms of reference,” said Mogara in responding affidavit.
He said the ITT required that there be provision of delivery dates within the programme hence Moralo Designs Consortium failed to consult with SEZA when they felt that such a requirement would be impossible to provide. He continued to say there was an avenue available when the tender was being prepared, but they failed to use it.
“Moralo Designs’ application for interim relief lacks merit and only seeks to delay SEZA from completing the evaluation and award of a tender that will serve the greater good of the nation,” said Mogara.
He went on to say Moralo Designs has no prospects of succeeding in its review application as the possibility of court granting the review are so remote in that the court does not possess the requisite technical knowhow on what constitutes an adequate work plan and what ought to be contained in it.
A bidder disqualified for failure to provide adequate information has no right to be protected by the court. Irreparable harm can only be suffered by one who has shown that there exists a right in so far as having stood the chance of being awarded the tender.
The financial benefit likely to be derived by Moralo Designs- which is highly unlikely- is outweighed by the nature of the project. In the unlikely event that the application for review is successful, they can claim for damages. The availability of such remedy weighs in favour of the interdict being refused. The refusal stands to benefit the nation more than the financial interest that Moralo Designs seeks to protect.
Moralo Designs failed to establish the urgency of their application. They waited for more than a month and half after the disqualification to approach the court on urgency. Meanwhile when delivering the State of the Nation Address (SONA) last year, President Mokgweetsi Masisi revealed that the detailed design and construction of 12 steel grain silos — with an overall storage capacity of 60 000 metric tonnes — is underway at the Pandamatenga SEZ and the P126 million project will be completed by August 2021.
President Mokgweetsi Masisi has taken a stern but unpopular decision within the August House by putting to an end a hefty P403, 200 monthly budget directed towards legislators’ housing allowance.
Since the beginning of the 12th Parliament in November 2019, MPs have been staying in rented spaces. At first they were lodged at Avani hotel and a whooping P6, 2 million was paid by government for accommodation and meals for Members of Parliament and their spouses from October 31, to December 20, 2019.
Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Dr Thapelo Matsheka could be forced to provide a detailed explanation to a number of Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers who are not impressed with Government expenditure for the 2020/21 financial year.
The unconvinced lot smell a rat and suggest that the Minister should furnish them with all the balance sheets for all the procurements and reports of all the transactions carried out by government from April 2020. This is so because within them, there is an air of disbelief in relation to the use of national funds by the powers that be.