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Speaker gives loo red light

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BLOCKED FROM MAKING A STATEMENT DESPITE STANDING ORDERS GIVING HIM THE RIGHT TO DO SO

Following last Tuesday’s train accident in which two people lost their lives, Minister of Transport and Communications, Thulaganyo Segokgo has told parliament an investigation into the tragedy will be conducted.

However, when the acting Leader of Opposition (LOO),Dr Kesitegile Gobutswang who is also the MP for Sefhare/Ramokgonami requested to give an official statement as well,he was turned down by the Speaker, Phandu Skelemani.

According to *Standing Order, 9.3.2: LOO have the right to make official statements in the Assembly on important national and international issues on behalf of the majority opposition.

The Voice Staffer, DANIEL CHIDA unfolds it for you:

MR SPEAKER: I do not think it is proper to allow this Parliament after the address by Segokgo, to have another statement from this House on the same issue, immediately following that statement, when we now know that the matter is under investigation.

I think it is proper that we hold the Minister Segokgo to his word to come back, otherwise we are going to be sending confusing remarks to the nation, I think we should avoid that.

I say Dr Gobotswang, if I am not mistaken in my perception of what you want to cover. I will not allow you to make the statement.

MR MOATLHODI: Point of clarification. With all the trepidation concerning your statement of this morning, I thought Dr Gobotswang asked before to bring his statement to the house.

If he didn’t do so, with all due respect, let him do.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Honourable Moatlhodi, I repeat myself again, I found the copy of the statement from Dr Gobotswang when I returned from lunch, which means that he had delivered it.

MR MOATLHODI: You interrupted me.

MR SPEAKER: I stopped you because your sequencing, which seems to be the real point of departure, is wrong Honourable Member.

MR KAPINGA: Point of order Mr Speaker. I am only rising to ask you to consider this issue Mr Speaker that you referred to in your decision.

You were saying that if the acting LOO was to make a statement in this House, after the Minister has made a statement, it would send confusing information to the nation.

I just want to raise the point that this House consists of the ruling party and the opposition.

It being composed of the ruling party and the opposition, both voices need to be heard by the nation.

If there is any divergence in the voices, there is nothing wrong with that Mr Speaker.

Both voices need to be heard. We are not going to say anything heretical.

We are just going to say what we think about what has happened.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Honourable Kapinga, you are quite right that the House is composed of political divisions, political parties, who will hold different views on any item and their views should be heard. I agree with you totally.

Where I do not agree with you is that on a matter which is still pending before this House, where we are waiting for the Minister to come back.

In terms of his promise, we should allow another statement which at best will sort of question what has been said by the Minister who is responsible.

It may be indeed that you have different facts and you will recall what I did yesterday after the Minister made the statement – I allowed many questions so that those who have knowledge of anything contrary to what the Minister has said could indicate to him and this House that is he aware that there is a, b, c; if he does not agree, this is what he told the House.

As far as I can tell, there are four political parties in this House. Imagine each one of them claiming the right to make a statement on the same issue. I shudder to think what will be said to Batswana.

We will have the same opportunity to ask him because he promised that within so many days, he may have a preliminary report.

It is not my intention to stifle anybody. In a democracy, we cannot do that.

MR MMOLOTSI: Point of order Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I think where you are confusing me right now is where your ruling actually takes away the right given to the LOO by the Standing Orders to make a statement.

According to our Standing Orders, only the Ministers and LOO can make a statement in the House.

As far as I am concerned, the opposition has a way of looking at issues and then the ruling party has got their eye, they have got a way of looking at the issues as well.

I was thinking that the Minister was representing the Government and the LOO is representing the opposition majority. Earlier on you also indicated that there are four parties in the House but there are only three parties in the House: the BDP, UDC and the AP, but the AP according to the Standing Orders…Oh! BPF, oh!

HONOURABLE MEMBERS: …(Laughter!)…

MR MMOLOTSI: The AP and the BPF according to the Standing Orders are not allowed to make a statement, only the LOO.

I would plead with you to consider this one.

MR SPEAKER: That is the yo-yo which I think we should avoid. I agree perfectly.

The opposition has a right and I would be surprised if they see things the same way as the ruling party.

Your opportunity is not lost to question the Minister. If he does not come back as he promised, then Honourable Mmolotsi, I would be forced to reconsider whether the other people who seem to see things differently should not now be allowed to tell the nation how they also observe the same incident.

We are not losing that, I do not think we should ever lose that. That is the right which we have.

MR MOATLHODI: On a point of clarification. The Minister told us that he is going to investigate but how long will it take, it can even take up next year February.

I don’t understand why the Speaker assumes that the LOO will bring conflicting reports? We are a just and compassionate nation. Please reconsider your position

MR SPEAKER: No, Honourable Moatlhodi, I am not going to do that. I will explain myself sufficiently that, as much as you are different political parties in this House, we are still one House. The matter is very serious, I never said he is going to refuse.

On a serious matter like this, while waiting to receive a feedback. No, Honourable Members! I am closing this issue.

*Standing Orders contain rules for the conduct of proceedings in the House and for the exercise of the powers possessed by the House.

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SADC Executive Secretary disturbed by obstacles in movement of goods

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The Executive Secretary of SADC, Dr Stegomena Lawrence Tax, has cautioned member states that any lack of cooperation among then during the COVID19 era has potential to reverse the gains made in the last decades.

Addressing a virtual SADC Council of Ministers meeting this week, Lawrence Tax said that the regional ministers approved Guidelines on Harmonization and Facilitation of Movement of Essential Goods and Services across borders early April. 

She said that whilst the guidelines have played a critical role in facilitation of movement of essential goods, there are notable obstacles that have been noted by the Secretariat.

The obstacles include non-compliance/non recognition of regional legal frameworks; uncoordinated operations at the port of entry among border agencies; lack of harmonization and synchronization of policies and procedures among, and between member states; unilateral decisions outside agreed framework; as well as different approaches to deal with epidemiological challenges,” she said. 

She added that; “all these are resulting in increased cost of doing business, and negatively affecting the implementation of national and regional programmes”.

She advised that there is need to have measures, and coordinated approach in place since the region is in a post lockdown period since the transportation of non-essential goods and services will be resuming.

Lawrence Tax added that COVID19 is a global pandemic and that the SADC regional approach should expand to COMESA-EAC-SADC tripartite and eventually to other continental blocs.

“The Secretariat is already working with COMESA and EAC, specifically, in terms of harmonizing and synchronizing regulations and procedures for movement of goods and services under the Tripartite arrangement. We need to move in unison and avoid unilateral decisions, specifically with regards to cross border movement of goods and services,” she said.

According to the Executive Secretary, the regional office has already conducted a socio-economic impact analysis of COVID19 on the region and the results have shown that the pandemic will impact negatively across many socio and economic sectors.

“The decline in the global economy is projected to lead to a decline in commodity prices, increase in debt and significant contraction of the SADC economies in 2020. This will reverse the gains on industrial development and trade that the region has made in the last couple of years,” Lawrence Tax said.

On the flip side,  the region’s International Cooperating Partners have made pledges to mitigate the impact of COVID19 pandemic on its economy. 

“To date, the Secretariat has secured Euro 7.3 million from the German Government; Euro3.6million from European Union, Euro 190,000.00 under the GIZ/Africa Union Commission, whereas the African Development Bank (AfDB)  has considered a support UA 7 million. Engagements with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) are also at an advanced stage,” the Executive Secretary said.

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Guma Moyo returns

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*Controversial politician headed for BPF *BURS owes me P6 million and I am waiting for reimbursement- Moyo

Self-exiled former legislator, Guma Moyo, is reportedly headed back home from South Africa to rejoin local politics after applying for Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) membership.

The flamboyant businessman and former Member of Parliament for Tati-East has been missing in action after he left the country under a dark cloud of controversy claiming that he was fearing for his life.

It also turned out during his sojourn in South Africa that Moyo had also been under the taxman’s radar, with allegations of tax evasion further fueling the confusion over his decision to flee.

The outspoken politician fell off with his party, Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in a factional war that saw him lead a campaign that endorsed Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi against President Mokgweetsi Masisi for the party presidency.

Although he was expected to support Venson Moitoi, Moyo did not attend the Kang Congress leading to his dismissal from the party.

In an interview with The Voice this week, Moyo confirmed having applied for the BPF membership.

“I have applied for BPF membership. They are my friends and I think that’s where I am welcome.”

He dismissed allegations that he was joining BPF to challenge Biggie Butale for the party presidency.

“They have a leader and I am not joining to lead but to be part of the collective of the party. I believe in them.”

When asked how he was going to work with the party patron, former President Ian Khama, who he didn’t have a good working relationship during his tenure as President, Moyo said, “My relationship with Khama is unquestionable, politics or no politics we are inseparable…Yes we had differences at some point but he apologised for having been misled by some government officials to take decisions that he took and I accepted the apology. That chapter is closed. ” he added.

In May 2015, Moyo says he had the shock of his life when he learnt from one of the banks that they had been instructed to freeze his accounts on graft allegations.

Investigators in the matter questioned the over P25 million which was paid into Moyo’s business account and they suspected that the invoices that Moyo produced had been fabricated.

Before that, the then President Khama hasd launched a scathing attack on Moyo, saying he did not have the interests of the electorates at heart after he was dropped from cabinet.

He said Moyo was only looking for power and self enrichment.

Moyo mentioned that despite having been fired by the BDP, he was grateful to the party for making him what he is today. “I have accepted the move and will not go back.”

BPF Secretary General, Roseline Panzirah Matshome confirmed having received Moyo’s application.

Meanwhile, Moyo has made shocking remarks that Botswana Unified Revenue Service owes him P6 million after he was initially alleged to be owing the tax collector.

The politician who is on self imposed exile in South Africa, says he is waiting for BURS to reimburse him.

“My accounts were frozen and after an audit was done it transpired that it was actually them that owed me, they must refund me,” he said and added: “Let’s not discuss it further because it is politics and it will catch up with them.”

However the BURS General Manager of Communications, Mable Bolele declined to comment on the allegations.

“We are unable to assist you since we do not discuss individual taxpayer issues with the third party as guided by Income Tax Act, Secrecy- under Section 5 Sub-section 1.”

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