Nasha says she is not a thief and she fully understand her rights
The unscripted tussle between the former Speaker of Parliament, Dr Margaret Nasha and Tati East Member of Parliament, Samson Guma Moyo over Parliament ad-hoc committee sitting allowances reached the four corners of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) meeting room this week.
Nasha has revealed that Guma is tailing her over the allowances to an extent that at some point before the closure of the tenth Parliament last year, he reported the matter to the police. Guma is clear that Nasha should pay back the money because she is not entitled to it. However the former Speaker refuted the allegations that she and her former deputy Speaker, Pono Moatlhodi had illegally claimed sitting allowances they were not entitled to.
“That was what we call wasting of police time! I was in my office when the police walked in and demanded answers over payment of the overtime allowances. They found nothing because there was nothing,” Nasha said when pouring cold water over the allegations.
Meanwhile the Parliament Clerk has promised the PAC that she would write letters to Nasha and Moatlhodi to demand the money back. But Nasha is not amused by the baseless accusations.
Responding to an accusation that was raised at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) this week, Nasha explained in an interview that the Speakership is entitled to sitting allowances in any Parliamentary committee as they manage them all and therefore ex-officio members of such committees.
“Of course the Speaker and the deputy Speaker are ex-officio members of the PAC. The committees are formed by the Speaker and it is the Speaker who supervises them, left, right and centre. You cannot lead from the back. I don’t believe in leading from the back,” Nasha explained.
Earlier during the week, the PAC was confused as to whether the Speakership was an ex officio member of the committee and it was concluded in agreement with the Clerk of Parliament that it was not. The PAC noted that the Parliament rules that forms the PAC prescribes that the committee shall consist of 10 members and is silent on the ex officio membership.
In fact the Tati East Member of Parliament Samson Moyo Guma, who is a member of the Public Accounts Committee, insisted that the Speakership were not ex-officio members of the committee and therefore not entitled to any sitting allowances whenever they visit committee sessions and hence he demanded that the allowance paid to Nasha and Moatlhodi during the tenth Parliament should be recovered and remitted to public funds. But Nasha insists that she did not steal from government.
“In my 28 years of public service I have never helped the police with investigations or what so ever. I am not a thief and neither have I been a suspect in any theft. I know my rights and responsibilities,” Nasha pointed out.
The standing orders that guide the PAC do not prescribe the sitting allowances, not even to the prescribed 10 members. The Attorney General’s representative told the PAC that statutes are meant to be interpreted and believes that the drafting of the law would have done great injustice to the committee if it completely excluded the Speakership.
Meanwhile the payment package of the Speakership remains in the green book which is only controlled by the office of the President and the sitting allowances ranges around P300 per sitting. Nasha was dethroned from the Speaker position by Gladys Kokorwe, after the former had a fall-out with President Lt Gen Ian Khama. She was seen as a reformist who was ready to turn tables to ensure that Parliament becomes fully independent. Nasha had also taken a swipe at Khama’s presidency through an autobiography titled ‘Madam Speaker Sir!’
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.