The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Chief Whip, Fidelis Molao says the standing committees of Parliament will continue to perform their oversight roles despite the absence of opposition Members of Parliament.
He said it will be business as usual until the aggrieved opposition lodges its complaint formally with the Parliament Selection Committee.
According to Molao, all committees currently quorate and there is no need for the committees to suspend duty on the basis of the absence of opposition MPs.
The BDP chief whip says opposition discontent with the committees does not mean the committees composition is unlawful, noting that any engagement with the opposition to address their grievances will only be done in the spirit of promoting cooperation between the ruling party and the opposition.
Opposition Whip, Wynter Mmolotsi indicated that the ruling party has not yet brought forward a workable solution to address the opposition concerns. He affirmed that the impasse will remain until their grievances are addressed.
The opposition pulled out of the standing committees in protest in December last year, because of lack of fairness in the process of electing committee members and chairpersons.
Of all the committees, only one was chaired by an opposition MP, while the other 22 were chaired by ruling party MPs something which opposition MPs say compromises the oversight role of the committees. Parliamentary committees are made up of MPs of the ruling party who are not cabinet ministers (backbenchers) and opposition MPs.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is automatically chaired by an opposition MP by the virtue of statutory requirement.
Molao says the opposition should approach the relevant authorities instead of wailing around with no clear intention of solving the problem. Molao is of the view that the Leader of Opposition, who is a member Selection Committee, alongside Speaker of the National Assembly and the ruling party chief whip could address the matter once and for all. “What are only aware of a press conference in which they addressed the media, not the relevant people who established those committees,” he said.
Molao believes that there is a workable solution and they are ready to listen and engage the opposition MPs on their suggestions on how they think parliament should better operate to enhance democracy. Molao also accused the opposition of double standards. He observes that at council level, they are doing exactly what they do not want the BDP to do in Parliament. Molao says he is aware that opposition has taken advantage of its numbers in a few councils in order to control of all the committees at the expense of the ruling party.
Ever since the 10th parliament, parliamentary committees have played an effective oversight role exposing maladministration and corruption in a number of government institutions and other quasi-government institutions.
It was during Margaret Nasha’s speakership that she advocated for an effective Parliament which can play its oversight role over the executive. The opposition is of the view that, the current committees were selected in bad faith with the intention of weakening the oversight role of Parliament contrary to what Nasha had advocated for.
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.