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BDP MPs slammed for snubbing civil society budget debate

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has been castigated for ignoring an invitation by Civil Society to analyse and discuss the 2020/21 national budget.

This came to the fore at a consultative meeting hosted for Members of Parliament (MPs) by Civil Society to analyse the budget and determine whether it has the interests of children at heart.

While invitations were sent out to the Speaker of the National Assembly, party headquarters and MP’s offices, the turnout for the budget session was disappointing as only 10 opposition MPs from Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) attended, while the BDP and Alliance for Progressives (AP) were not represented.

The event was graced by Leader of Opposition and Botswana Congress Party President (BCP) Dumelang Saleshando, accompanied by MPs Taolo Lucas, Carter Hikuama, Goretetse Kekgonegile, Pono Moathodi, Motsamai Motsamai and Baratiwa Mathoothe of the BPF.

Various attendants who spoke at the meeting expressed dissatisfaction with the absence of BDP MPs, saying the ruling party showed neither interest nor respect for the Civil Society.

This is against a promise that President, Mokgweetsi Masisi made when he took power to work with unions, media and civil societies.

The Voice Staffer, DANIEL CHIDA spoke to some of those who attended the event to get their views.

BOCONGO CEO, Botho Seboko

It continues to disappoint how some things don’t change. How year in and year out, Parliament after Parliament we continue to lobby members of Parliament, particularly those in the ruling party to work with CEOs to better Botswana.

If one cannot make time to meet with community organisations on very important issues such as the subject today on Children’s rights to Health, Nutrition and proper education we continue to wonder what is keeping them at bay.

However, we hope to work together for Batswana. This parliament is more youthful so we are hoping for robust engagements.

Maun East MP Goretese Kekgonegile

They know very well that the budget lacks commitment to the priorities raised on the SONA last year, they just avoided embarrassment.

MPs from the BDP don’t respect Civil Society Organisations and don’t care about any relationship because they know very well that they have no money to splash on their campaign.

Goretetse Kekgonegile

If it was the Private sector/ business community where there are opportunities for corruption deals to be hatched and cut they could have attended in large numbers.

Civil Societies should continue piling pressure on MPs if they want them to push their interests.

You should have influenced the outcome of the general elections by voting for a party that would push your interests by driving meaningful change.

But instead we find ourselves faced with all these problems.

Bobonong MP Taolo Lucas

Taolo Lucas

If this invitation had been sent by the private sector there would have been many BDP MPs in attendance but because civil society organisations have nothing to give them, they won’t bother to attend their events.

BOSASNET Acting Director, Prisca Mokgadi

The BDP should have particularly attended the meeting as it is the party in power.

We expected them to attend this meeting so that they can get feedback and go and implement things at their respective ministries.

They are the party in power and they should be willing to get feedback and insight from Civil Society.

Prisca Mokgadi

Children’s issues are very important and they must be taken seriously.

Government is talking about change of mindset and we want to see that coming from them.

Mokgadi however thanked the opposition MPs who showed commitment by attending.

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