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BDP walk out on UDC motion

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BDP Chief Whip says Lucas was not yielding

Last Friday there was drama in Parliament as Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) legislators walked out of parliament in what was viewed as an effort to collapse the quorum and frustrate Member of Parliament for Bobonong, Taolo Lucas, who was tabling a motion calling on government to establish a social justice commission.

The motion read in part: “That this Honourable House requests Government to establish a Social Justice Commission to help address the acute levels of inequality in the country, equalize the opportunity structure, promote inclusiveness and advocate, protect or safeguard the interests and welfare of the marginalised sections of society.”

Led by the Vice President who is also the Leader of the House, Slumber Tsogwane, BDP members who were few in numbers defied the Speaker’s orders to sit down as they filed off and left parliament.

The Voice Staffer DANIEL CHIDA spoke to opposition MPs and the Chief Whip, Liakat Kablay on what really transpired.

Bobonong MP, Lucas:

The import of the motion was that levels of inequality in Botswana were too high; that we have just too few people wallowing in obscene opulence and just too many citizens live in debilitating poverty.

I indicated among other things that the World Bank places Botswana among the top 5 unequal nations in the World.

I also indicated that whilst the national poverty prevalence stands at 16.3%, Kweneng West poverty prevalence rate stood at 50.6%, Ngwaketse West (40.3%), Kgalagadi South (39.5%), Ghanzi (36.3%) and Ngamiland West (33.4%).

I argued that the national poverty prevalence of 16.3% conceals the extent of poverty in many regions of the country.

It was at this point that VP Tsogwane showed a lot of discomfort and he interrupted my presentation with points of order and procedure.

I continued my presentation and focused on inequalities of land ownership.

I told the House how some people are without a residential plot while a few owned huge chunks of land.

As I nailed this point, BDP members started leaving. The Speaker asked their Chief Whip Kablay to call them back but he also never returned.

Eventually the BDP collapsed the quorum so they could regroup to oppose the motion next week.

I was disappointed but not shocked. The BDP is not ready for prime time.

They are not ready for transformation. Come today, Friday, they will be pursued again. They can’t hide.

Francistown South MP, Wynter Mmolotsi:

Apparently the BDP bench had fewer numbers than the opposition in the house which meant that Lucas’s motion was going to be adopted contrary to their will.

The only option they had was to run away which they did so that the motion can be rescheduled to be discussed when BDP is in majority. It is very irresponsible of the ruling party to break quorum just for their personal interests.

Ngami MP, Carter Hikuama:

I heard they were instructed to walkout. This proves BDP MPs only serve the BDP leadership not the electorates who elected them.

DISAPPOINTED: Carter Hikuama

It also demonstrates how they care less about nurturing our democracy. To them being in power is just about their personal lives not anything else

Maun West MP, Goretetse Kekgonegile:

It’s a big concern because that it how they kill opposition motions.

CONCERNED: Goretetse Kekgonegile

They collapse quorum deliberately and on Friday they killed discussions on Taolo’s good motion. They need to be called out.

Leader of Opposition and Maun West MP: Dumelang Saleshando

BDP did not have the numbers to defeat the motion. They were instructed to walk out so that the debate ends.

LEADER OF OPPOSITION: Dumelang Saleshando

I think they will come in their numbers this coming week to debate and defeat the motion

Serowe North MP, Baratiwa Mathoothe:

During the presentation of the motion BDP MPs realized that they were the minority in parliament and lacked fire power, so they were in fear that the motion would pass, hence they decided to walk out to collapse the quorum.

DISAPPOINTED: Baratiwa Mathoothe

Their mission is to have the motion presented in the coming week when they will be having the numbers.

The issue that was raised by the chief whip that MP Lucas was refusing with clarification is not true because he gave the Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane more time to ask questions.

They asked unnecessary things to take all time allocated for his presentation.

Chief Whip, Liakat Kablay: It is true that our members left the house when Lucas was in the floor but were not collapsing the quorum. Lucas was not yielding for them when they wanted clarity during his presentation.

In parliament when another member of the house interjects, you yield and allow that person to ask a question or commend you but he was refusing.

The MPs then decided to leave as they found no need to be in parliament.

After they left, I followed them to get the answer and I gave the Deputy Speaker the response.

We have been supporting motions brought by opposition members but unfortunately Lucas was not cooperative.

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Politics

UDC MPs to elect new opp chief whip

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They can go ahead- Moathodi

Members of Parliament for Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) have had enough of their dramatic Opposition Chief Whip, Pono Moatlhodi.

In fact the UDC MPS are so fed up with the charismatic MP’s theatrics in parliament that they are ready to replace him.

Speaking to this publication, five UDC MPs who asked for their names to be withheld complained bitterly that Moatlhodi was often rude, inconsiderate and biased towards them.

“When our views are divergent to the views of the BDP, Moatlhodi takes the ruling party’s side. We have turned into BDP’s laughing stock because of his ridiculous shouting.”

The MPs further alleged that the MP for Tonota’s apparent love for the BDP was not only annoying but also counter productive.

His behavior seems to have pushed his colleagues to the edge as they have even gone as far as reporting him to their Leader of Opposition, Dumelang Saleshando so he could call him to order.

Giving an example of how Moathlodi was working against them, one UDC MP said that when they had demanded to know who had authority at the Ministry of Agriculture between the Minister, Edwin Dikoloti and his Assistant, Beauty Manake as the two had given parliament different and contradicting answers, instead of waiting for government to provide an answer, Moatlhodi stood up and trivialised the UDC’s question, accusing them of being playful.

“When he acted as Deputy Speaker a week ago, he reprimanded one of us using unparliamentarily language and he is always in disagreement with UDC motions and presentations,” said another MP who went further and gave an example of how Moatlhodi had been up against Taolo Lucas’s motion on Social Justice Commission being put to a vote.

DISMISSIVE: Saleshando

“We approached Saleshando three weeks ago during our caucus complaining about Moatlhodi’s behavior and the way he lashes out at us during debates but to our disappointment, Saleshando has decided to sit on our message and not act. We are not taking this lightly and when we come in for the winter session in July we will be having a new opposition chief whip, we cannot continue with someone who doesn’t respect us,” said one MP.

“Whether he decides to leave the Umbrella after we remove him from the seat or he remains a UDC member is up to him, we don’t care about that, we will select a new opposition chief whip, ” added another fed up MP.

However, the leader of opposition has denied claims that Moatlhodi has been reported to him. “I would have acted on it had I been approached but they haven’t done that,” he said.

Meanwhile, Moathodi said that the MPs could go ahead and do whatever they wanted. Before joining the UDC in 2014, PPP as Moatlhodi is fondly known was a BDP member who even became a Deputy Speaker in Parliament.

He then resigned and joined opposition ranks after accusing the BDP of failing to address his grievances following his loss to Thapelo Olopeng in the party’s primary party elections.

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Politics

Plot to overthrow GC mayor exposed

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MAYEPETSA FINGERED AS MASTERMIND

A dubious plan by a group of Botswana Democratic Party councilors to overthrow Gaborone City Council Mayor, Father Maphongo has been exposed.

The group, which is allegedly led by none other than Maphongo’s Deputy, Lotty Manyepetsa, has been plotting the mayor’s downfall for sometime now, sources within the ruling party have claimed.

Information gathered by this publication has further indicated that Manyapetsa in his vigorous efforts to topple the Mayor through a motion of no confidence has established a team of councillors called, ‘Team Lotty’.

According to a reliable source, the group (names withheld) has been working around the clock trying to find a way to sabotage the mayor’s work, so that they can turn around and table a motion of no confidence against him.

“They all know that Maphongo was brought in by President Mokgweetsi Masisi to transform the city and their chances of occupying the seat at the end of the two- year term are very slim as he will be re- elected without a challenge in a compromise deal. They have resorted to sabotage so that he fails dismally,” alleged the source within the party.

The source fingered Manyepetsa as someone who habours, ‘ dangerous ambitions’ to occupy the top council seat and then appoint one of his friends from a BDP faction as his deputy in order to have total control of the city.

“They resent Maphongo for being a businessman and not a politician and feel that he never helped the party in any way during general elections and therefore did not deserve to be the Mayor,” stated the source, who also revealed that a WhatsApp group was created and councilors added only for those who raised objections to the plot against the mayor to be unceremoniously removed.

However, when asked if he was aware of the plot, Maphongo was cagey with information but confirmed that he had been ‘tipped off’

“Please this is an internal issue which, if true will be dealt with internally and not through the media,” said Maphongo in his curt response.

Meanwhile, Manyapetsa denied lusting after Maphongo’s positing.

“Maphongo is going to finish his term, I support him a lot. People who told you that are not well.” Manyepetsa said.

When confronted with a screenshot from the Whatsapp group alleged to have been started with the sole purpose of plotting the Mayor’s downfall, the Deputy Mayor said that the group was for regional elections campaign.

Both Maphongo and Manyepetsa made it to the council as specially nominated councillors.

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