Former Speaker, Margaret Nasha laughs off opposition antics
The former National Assembly Speaker, Dr Margaret Nasha who was deposed from her position by the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has laughed off the opposition’s move to protest parliamentary commitee elections.
The outspoken former Speaker of the National Assembly observed that news of a warring Parliament a few weeks after take off ‘is a bad start’.
This week, the opposition walked out of Parliament in protest over what they called the ruling tghe Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)’s unfair practice in electing members of the Standing Commitees of the National Assembly.
The Opposition led by the Leader of Opposition and its Chief Whip addressed a heated press conference through which they expressed displeasure over the chairmanship of most of the parliamentary commitees.
While the opposition is adamant that it has a case to abandon Parliamentary proceedings, the BDP on the other hand, is of the view that the opposition should understand that they are a party in power. They posit that the opposition should stop being cry babies when democracy unfolds. The BDP has always been of the view that the commitee representation numbers should reflect the number of one’s seats in parliament.
But for Nasha, it is something different. “Moo ke mathata (that one is a problem),” she says after busting out in her trademark laughter after being engaged on the subject.
She continued: “I do not know whom we can bring to this country to tell us that commitee chairmanship is all about choosing a skilled and experienced person who has leadership qualities”.
Nasha observed that nothing exists in a vacuum, “democracy is naturally a clean word and no one should hide behind it to oppress the other.” According to Nasha, failure to acknowledge each other may bring unfortunate situations later. “Members of a committee may disown a committee report if unhappy.
Nasha who said she has not been following closely the proceedings after her loss in the Speaker race said she is constrained to give more insights as people may misconstrue her views as sour grapes or from a bitter loser.
“I am focusing on other things but these are not new things, I have talked about them, they will talk about them and the coming generations. Why didn’t Winter (Mmolotsi) and others warn their new comrades,” she said before laughing uncontrollably.
Nasha however said it is a bad start for Parliament, “it is sad and bad.We can only hope that people will come to their senses.We however cannot at this stage say whether this will be a rebellious parliament or not.”
Nasha advised that both parties should be given a chance to reflect, “We can only make judgements after two or so parliamentary sittings.
After the walk out by opposition MPs, the ruling BDP hurridly moved to protect parliament from being adjourned for lack of forming quorum by calling some of their members who were not in Parliament. A quorum for a sitting of the Parliament or a committee of the whole Parliament is one-third of the number of seats in the Parliament at the time.
The National Assembly Speakers have always warned MPs that the integrity of the House was at stake and appealed to them to honour the House and their positions- as it would reflect badly on the House.
Reached for commet, the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leader, Dumelang Saleshando was perplexed at the behaviour of the ruling BDP. “How can you have members of the BDP leading the committees when the committees are meant to provide oversight on the executive. It is illogical,” he said further adding that one cannot police themselves.
Saleshando said parliementary delegations may be rejected on international missions in future if the opposition is shunned. It is understood that a row began over the elections of the members of the Inter Parliamentary Union when the opposition demanded a 50-50 representation.
The Opposition MPs have unanimously agreed to withdraw from all the 23 Parliamentary Committees and 5 Inter-Parliamentary Committees ‘until the ruling party comes to its senses’saying they (BDP) over-dominate the committees despite their backbench being in minority. There are 20 opposition MPs and 15 BDP MPs eligible for these committees.
The government’s efforts to integrate individuals with disabilities in Botswana society are being hampered by budgetary constraints. Those with disabilities face inequalities in budgetary allocations in the health and education sectors. For instance, it is reported that the government allocates higher budgetary funds to the general health sector, while marginal allocations are proposed for the development and implementation of the National Primary Health Care guidelines and Standards for those with Disabilities. This shows that in terms of budgetary solutions, the government’s proposed initiatives in improving the health and well-being of those with disabilities remain futile as there is not enough money going towards disability-specific health programs. On the other hand, limited budgetary allocations to the Special Education Unit also are a primary contributor to the inequalities faced by children with disabilities. The government only provides for the employment of 15 teachers with qualifications in special education despite the large numbers of children with intellectual disabilities that are in need of special education throughout Botswana. Such disproportional allocation of resources inhibits the capacity to provide affordable and accessible assisted technology and residential support services for those with disabilities. Given the fact that a different amount of resources have been availed to the education and health sectors, the general understanding is that the government is not doing enough to ensure that adequate resources are distributed to disability-specific programs and facilities such as barrier-free environments, residential homes, and special education schools for children with disabilities.
Disability in Botswana, like in many other nations, has been characterized by exclusion, discrimination, and stigmatization. Negative attitudes towards individuals with disabilities (IWDs) have led to barriers in education, employment, and access to facilities and information. The lack of disability-specific legislation in Botswana has further perpetuated the exclusion of IWDs from society.
The National Policy on Care for People with Disabilities (NPCPD) in Botswana, established in 1996, aims to recognize and protect the rights and dignity of individuals with disabilities. The policy emphasizes the importance of integration and equal opportunities for IWDs in various sectors such as health, education, employment, and social development. While the policy provides a framework for addressing disability issues, it falls short of enacting disability-specific legislation to protect the rights of IWDs.
In 2010, the Government of Botswana established an office for IWDs within the Office of the President to coordinate disability-related policies and programs. While this office plays a crucial role in mobilizing resources for the implementation of policies, its approach to service delivery is rooted in social welfare, focusing on the care of IWDs as a social burden rather than recognizing their rights.
The lack of disability-specific legislation in Botswana has hindered the recognition of the rights of IWDs and the enactment of laws to protect them from discrimination and exclusion. Without legal protections in place, IWDs continue to face barriers in education, employment, and access to facilities and information, perpetuating their exclusion from society.
In order to address the exclusion of IWDs in Botswana, it is crucial for the government to prioritize the enactment of disability-specific legislation to protect their rights and ensure equal opportunities for all. By recognizing the rights and dignity of individuals with disabilities, Botswana can work towards creating a more inclusive society where IWDs are valued and included in all aspects of life.
DJ Bafana, a talented DJ from Francistown, is gearing up to host his very own one-man show, a groundbreaking event that aims to not only showcase his skills but also empower fellow musicians. This ambitious project is currently in the planning stages, with DJ Bafana actively seeking out potential sponsors to help bring his vision to life.
In a recent interview with WeekendPost, DJ Bafana revealed that he is in talks with two potential venues, Limpopo Gardens and Molapo Leisure Gardens, to host his show. However, he is facing challenges in securing sponsorships from companies, particularly those who do not fully understand the importance of music-related events. Despite this setback, DJ Bafana remains determined to make his one-man show a reality and to use it as a platform to empower and support other artists in the industry.
What sets DJ Bafana’s show apart is the fact that he will be making history as the first person living with a disability to host a one-man show in Botswana. This milestone is a testament to his resilience and determination to break barriers and pave the way for others in similar situations. By showcasing his talent and passion for music, DJ Bafana is not only proving his worth as an artist but also inspiring others to pursue their dreams, regardless of any obstacles they may face.
As DJ Bafana continues to work towards making his one-man show a reality, he remains focused on his goal of empowering and uplifting his fellow musicians. Through his dedication and perseverance, he is setting an example for others to follow and showing that anything is possible with hard work and determination. The date for the show is yet to be announced, but one thing is for certain – DJ Bafana’s one-man show is sure to be a memorable and inspiring event for all who attend.