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Govt. moves swiftly to stop possible defections

*Mekoko will not be spared by the new law

Amid reports of possible defections of MPs from Botswana Democratic Party, the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Kabo Morwaeng has moved with the speed of lightning to thwart any attempts by MPs to cross the floor.

An extra-ordinary Government Gazette published on the 17th July 2020, says the Constitution Amendment Bill is scheduled to be presented during the July Parliamentary meeting with the objective of stopping floor crossing.

“The object of the Bill is to cause a vacancy in the seat of an Elected Member of the National Assembly who, having been elected to the National Assembly as a candidate for a political party, resigns from the political party. Similarly, the proposed amendment causes a vacancy in the seat of an Elected Member who having been elected to the National Assembly as a candidate who is not  a member of a political party becomes a member of a political party,” says part of the Amendment Bill.

It further says that the seat of a Specially Elected Member of Parliament (SEMP) shall become vacant upon dissolution of Parliament; if he or she is absent from sittings of the Assembly for such period and in such circumstances as may be prescribed in the procedure of the Assembly.

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The Bill says the SEMP who may be found to have breached the aforementioned procedure of House rules may be disqualified for election thereto.

The Amendment Bill will also affect local authorities or councilors who may wish to change party allegiance after being elected as a member of any political party. 

“Similarly, the proposed amendment causes a vacancy in the seat of an elected member who having been elected to the Council as a candidate who is not a member of a political party, becomes a member of a political party,” says the amendment bill issued by Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Eric Molale.

Some councilors are already reported to have resigned from the ruling party to join opposition ranks.

Once the amendment is signed into law, there will be a bye-election whenever an MP or a councilor joins a new party.

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