‘Fill us in or face the consequences!’
Botswana Democratic Party’s Chief Whip, Liakat Kably has warned his Ministers to wake up and deliver on their mandate or face losing the backbench.
Speaking to The Voice this week, Kablay criticized the current crop of Ministers for sidelining the backbench.
“Our Ministers like to keep things to themselves and put us, the backbench, in an awkward position. They have a tendency of keeping things to themselves only to say it out loud when Members of Parliament from the opposition start tabling motions related to those issues,” cracked the whip.
Kablay’s outburst comes after the MP for Francistown South, Wynter Mmolotsi tabled a motion calling for the reinstatement of the Ipelegeng Programme until the on-going programme review exercise is complete.
Kablay revealed they were compelled to defend the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Eric Molale after he told parliament that the programme was under review and will be implemented soon.
“After voting against Ipelegeng Programme, how do I explain that to my constituency?” demanded the Letlhakeng/ Lephephe MP.
Kablay gave a further example of the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng for stopping a motion on constitutional review.
Morwaeng had told parliament his Ministry were still consulting with relevant stakeholders before bringing it to parliament – something Kably said the backbench were not informed about.
Warning the newbies that they were making the same mistakes as their predecessors, Kablay noted a number of Ministers who were in the last parliament lost elections because of their ignorance.
“If the current ones do not engage the backbench then they will lose too!” he said, adding the situation is compounded by the level of education and intelligence brought by the current opposition MPs.
“Apart from the fact that the opposition MPs have a tendency of tabling motions that are already before the cabinet and in our manifesto, they research well. We have to do the same to match them or else we will lose people’s trust,” he conceded.
“The ball is now in our Ministers’ hands because their intelligence will be tested and we want to see the strategies they will be bringing. But in order to win the debates they have to share information with us the backbench,” stressed Kablay, adding he expects the opposition to bring a motion for a Living Wage imminently.
“They will be doing that intentionally knowing that it will be difficult for us to oppose it; you would be a fool if you did that! You can see the type of pressure that we are facing as the ruling party!”
He concluded with the bombshell that if there is no proper coordination between the backbench and Ministers, then they will be forced to sneak out of parliament when it’s time to cast a vote on a motion.