Former speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Margret Nasha has labelled Khama’s decision to try to coerce Members of Parliament to endorse the new speaker of National Assembly, Deputy Speaker and Vice President by show of hands as “laughable and ridiculous.”
Addressing the media after the High Court dismissed with cost a case in which the Attorney General (AG) has approached the court to declare the current standing orders to be declared unconstitutional in relation to the endorsement of the Speaker of the National Assembly, Deputy Speaker And Vice President.
The AG wanted the court to side the provisions in the Standing of Orders in favour of voting by “show of hands of simple majority.’ Currently the standing orders require that the Speaker of National Assembly, Deputy Speaker and Vice President should be endorsed through voting by secret ballot.
Nasha says no self-respecting parliament anywhere in the world especially in the Commonwealth in this day and age could vote on any issue by show of hands. Nasha notes that Parliament of Botswana since the speakership of the Dr Alfred Merriweather has never voted by show of hands on any matter. “The question is therefore why do we want to do it now? There is fear that maybe the preferred candidates for Speakership and Vice President may not get the required votes,” said the triumphant Nasha.
Nasha says the idea of forcing MPs to endorse by show of hands is merely a tool that to be used to intimidate those that do not tow the line, by literally whipping them into submission. “Parliamentarians are suppose to be lobbied to take certain decisions. Those decisions should be taken following free and open debates of the issue at hand.
‘They should not just be told what to do or what not to do. They are honourable men and women with conscience, and the public expects them to behave honourably in everything they do,”she said.
She continued: “These honourable men and women have taken an oath to defend and protect the constitution of Botswana and serve the people of this country without fear or favour. So help them God.”
Nasha says endorsement of Vice President by parliament was never envisaged to be a rubber stamp exercise. She said this is a decision which means in the event that since the vice president is expected to automatically takeover as President, at least until the next elections, such a person has to be someone who is trusted by MPs, to be a person who can take this country somewhere.”
Nasha said the whole idea was to ensure that a VP was a person of intergrity, who has not been put there for any other reason, than with the interests of Botswana at heart.
“Parliament is therefore expected to either endorse if it has confidence in the individual, or refuse to endorse or vote no if they have reason to believe that such an appointee is not fit and proper person to lead this nation, should the need arise.”
“And I must emphasise that these constitutional amendments were introduced and passed by the 7th Parliament and I was an MP ,when that first,historic endorsement of the Vice president took place. I am am amazed, that anybody in their minds, could even suggest that Hounourable MPs should take such serious decisions by show of hands?I rest my case.”
Nasha thanked the many hundreds of individuals and organisational both inside and out outside the country who have been praying, calling and sending her emails and all kinds of messages of support during these very interesting days.
“To me, the decision by this Honourable court today proved that our judiciary can still be trusted. They have acted on the side of the truth,on the side of transparency,and most importantly on the of democracy, And I am aboslutely elated by that decision.”
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.