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Opposition MPs re-direct Morwaeng’s ‘Respect’ statement

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Last week the Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng delivered a controversial statement that left the house divided.

In his statement he was sensitising the nation on the need to respect each other and leaders including the Office of The President. He said that he found it fitting that they should all bid each other farewell by uniting behind the call for harmonious co-existence in all the future meetings. “I do so against the bedrock of some past events and statements, both inside and outside this House, that have the potential to undermine our national values of Democracy, Botho and Unity.” He added that some members of the house have developed the habit of mocking and ridiculing him and his family.

He added that the President has been labelled ‘a thief’, ‘irresponsible’, ‘nepotistic’, but unfortunately, in all instances, these labels and accusations have not been proven. He urged members of the House to respect one another, the speakership, Parliament personnel and the President and his high office and, most importantly, to respect the voting public by conducting themselves in an honourable and respectable manner in future. “Let past wrongs be regarded as valuable lessons, and let by-gones be by-gones,” he concluded. The Voice Staffer, DANIEL CHIDA brings you some snippets from the debate.

Carter Hikuama- MP for Ngami
Respect is earned, it is not demanded. Your work will determine the type of respect that people should accord you and if they have to respect you they must do so willingly. What you do to others, some will copy it and do it you. Some of the things we mustn’t get concerned only when it involves the president, we must get concerned too when the President addresses people and in kgotla meetings. As a Minister for Office of the President you must come out and speak against how the President addresses people and all will learn from that and respect one another. But when the highest office in the country undermines people then it will be a culture across the country. Words such as “nywee nywee” which are used in kgotla meetings by our president should be discouraged at all cost and with that I support your statement.

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Yandani Boko- MP for Mahalapye East
There is a certain level of behaviour that we are expecting from our leaders. I am saying this with the greatest of respect and in reference to an incident which recently happened in Serowe in which we had expected the President to offer support to Kgotla Autlwetse’s family only for him to address a rally. He even disrespected some of the elders. Here is the short question, why is it that when the president is wrong, we never see you acting urgently like you are doing now. We hope that in the future you will balance things, even if its the president who is wrong just act accordingly with the same energy you have now.

Wynter Mmolotsi- MP for Francistown South
Morwaeng, I would like to know if the statement you are giving in Parliament is it serious or you want to mock the President? Do you know that in many instances the public complain about how he addresses them, it can be at kgotla meeting or other gatherings like the one in Serowe where he insulted Dumelang Saleshando and his father. You must look carefully into such things before rushing to parliament to make statements with the hope that the public will think you are somehow better. Such things make the president to continue being wrong because of your false impression.

Tumisang Healy- MP for Gaborone Central
We are breeding militancy amongst our people because even when you are interacting with people outside Parliament on a political scenario, there is too much hostility. Our political issues are now dividing us as a nation and the statement by Morwaeng is way overdue, this is what we needed. We had scenarios where Dumelang Salshando in the company of Mephato Reatile descended on the Speaker’s Chamber and tried to physically get to the speaker. There was a time they came to my office too and disconnected my network so that I do not continue with my debate. One wonders what their intention with their behaviour was. We have moved from our culture which says “it is better to jaw-jaw, than to war-war,” and we now do physically assault each other. We also go to televisions in other countries to attack our government .

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