Our parliament lacks independence from the executive- Hikuama
The 12th Parliament Winter Session will be coming to an end today (Friday) with the
majority of Members of Parliament having experienced their first sitting.
The Voice Staffer, DANIEL CHIDA asked some of the newbies to give their views, opinions and reviews of parliament.
I have learned a lot about our parliament.
Our parliament lacks independence from the executive.
The speaker of the national assembly is just simply a gatekeeper for the President and the Botswana Democratic Party.
Our parliament is also run by archaic and alien standing orders, how can one justify the use of BDP MPs to chase away a member of the opposition from the parliament, a member who has been elected by his constituents to represent them in parliament and push for their aspirations and interests, only to be stopped by his political opponents and speaker.
This is a mockery to democracy and multiparty democracy.
The BDP is always quick, they respect rule of law- what rule of law on an account of an unjust law.
That is to say our laws and constitution are archaic, undemocratic and need a refresher.
It is high time we advocate for the direct election of the speaker.
We need a person of high calibre, not active in partisan politics.
But all in all, it has been a good experience.
I managed to raise pertinent issues on behalf of my constituents.
The inclusion of Sehithwa/ Mohembo road in the NDP 11 Mid Term review is a good step in the right direction.
I also realised that many issues affecting our communities cannot be resolved by parliament but by engaging relevant offices, and I think that’s a route we must try to pay more attention to and perfect as parliamentarians.
It has been a very successful session in many ways for both the government and the nation in general; especially that midterm review has been approved by parliament.
Approval of midterm review on its own is unlocking a lot of developmental doors for our constituencies.
As for Molepolole and me, in general, we are so glad and happy that now the water and sewage system are coming to the village.
However, for now, I cannot say much as I have to break this good news to Molepolole residents first.
The other positive is that now we have a live broadcast of parliament, which clearly is appreciated by the public.
The other positive is that under the COVID-19 challenge, parliament managed to find a way of proceeding with its business while adhering to COVID 19 protocols.
The standing orders have to be amended to allow some organisations to present their petitions to the parliament without asking any MP to do it on their behalf because it will look as if it is coming from that particular member.
Amendment of motions should not be put to a vote when the mover doesn’t agree with the proposed amendment, it should be up to the mover whether he agrees or not.
Some other changes that need to be done are to make parliament independent so that it can operate freely without interference by the office of the president.
The winter meeting is more intense and involving than other meetings.
Its duration is short and needs to be increased by at least 2 weeks.
The meeting exposed the shortcomings of archaic procedures, which hinder quality debates in our parliament.
The session is extremely dominated by government business at the expense of the Private Member’s business.
Bills are hardly prepared for as they are issued late, come on emergency and the Order Paper can change during the day.
Load of work is huge which calls for a lot of research with little outside help.
The meeting was a true reflection of a highly partisan parliament we are, with BDP parliamentarians thinking as a group and not agreeing with anything coming from the opposition.
I believe we must improve going forward.
Parliament role is to hold the government accountable for the decisions taken and also pass new laws or amend the existing laws.
I debated well in all the bills especially the BDF Amendment Bill.
I advocated that the post of advocate judge general should be given to the soldiers, not civilians.
I further, debated well in tax bills that aim at curbing the tax evasion, correct reporting of tax and money laundering.
I put a motion calling on the government to increase the allowance of interns from P1300 to P3000 but BDP came up with dirty tactics to delay the motion by introducing urgent motions.
I advocated for Palapye glass project, relocation of BPC top management or headquarters to my constituency to be the same as that of Botswana Railways, which is in Mahalapye.