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I didn’t bribe MPs to vote for my motion

PRESIDENT Mokgweetsi Masisi
PRESIDENT Mokgweetsi Masisi

President Mokgweetsi Masisi has dismissed as “an insult’ allegations that a sudden and unprecedented increase of Members of Parliament’s basic salaries by 10 percent on Tuesday was a bribe for them to support his six months State of Public Emergency (SOPE)motion.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Voice on the sidelines of the Extra Ordinary Parliament on Wednesday, Masisi said that it was an insult to suggest that whatever decision the MPs agree on would be influenced by a bribe.

“That’s an insult to our MPS. When did we start to use public funds to entice people to vote in a particular way? We did agree two years back to negotiate public servants salaries. Was that a bribe? Asked the president.

He made his remarks in the middle of an interview in which this publication was quizzing Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Chief Whip, Liakat Kablay about his 10 percent increment on the P39 000 basic monthly salary.

Kablay confirmed that a motion was discussed by the house in the last seating of parliament to allow MPs to use government vehicles to tour their constituencies instead of their private cars.

The opposition MPs were at the forefront of that motion. They vehemently argued that they needed assistance with government vehicles but instead government has decided to give us a 10 percent increment as travel/ car allowance,” Kablay explained as he went on to rubbish allegations that his palms were greased to vote in support of the proposed six months SOPE.

According to an opposition MP who didn’t want to be named, the salary increment issue was sprung up on them on Tuesday at the General Assembly held at Boipuso hall in the middle of COVID 19 discussions. ” It was a bribe to the BDP backbench. They knew we were going to disagree with SOPE so they needed their back bench,” said the MP

Inside sources further revealed that the 10 percent was an ambush as from nowhere the minister of presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng stood up and asked for permission to brief the house on something unrelated to covid-19 only for him to announce the increment with immediate effect.

“We had lobbied the BDP backbench and they had agreed to vote with us against the six months SOPE but after accepting the 10 percent salary increment they changed their minds. They were definitely bought to vote for what Masisi wants,” said the concerned MP who said as opposition Mps they were shocked and caught off guard by the generous gesture because they were told at the last seating of parliament that issues of members’ wellness will be shelved indefinitely because of budgetary constraints brought about by Covid-19.

“Both Minister of the Finance and Morwaeneg were clear before that there was no money to increase MPs salries when they needed to raise P500 million to fight covid 19, so we were shocked that it was the same Morwaeng who came up with the 10percent increase this week.”

On Thursday evening after three days of heated debate, parliament approved a motion to extend his current 21- day SOPE to six months in the fight against COVID 19.
Botswana has so far registered 13 cases of Covid- 19 with one death.

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