BDP MPs divided over compensation
by Calistus Bosaletswe
The proposed amendment on Ministers and National Assembly Graduities and Pension Bill is set to divide the ruling Botswana Democratic Party MPs.
Ruling party Members of Parliament are at each other’s throat over the amendment that seeks to compensate former ministers and assistant ministers who were not paid their gratuities as ministers after they were dropped from cabinet positions in the ninth parliament.
South East North member, Olebile Gaborone, has already noticed the amendment that will see most of the MPs laughing all the way to the bank if it is endorsed by parliament.
Most of the ruling party MPs who were dropped from cabinet positions argue that their gratuities were calculated as ordinary MPs despite serving in cabinet positions for a long time.
They argue that soon after being dropped from their positions, the new Ministers and Assistant ministers who were brought on board were paid their gratuities calculated using the ministerial formula even though they had only held such positions for much shorter times.
Tati East Member Samson Guma Moyo has also hinted at a possibility of seeking the court interventions on the matter. Moyo argued that the issue was a clear mathematical error that can still be corrected.
Kanye North MP Kentse Rammidi noted that if parliament endorses the amendment, those who were paid bloated gratuities after staying in the cabinet for a short period should pay back the government.
The Assistant Minister of Education, Keletso Rakhudu, has warned that he will not support the Bill if it is intended to stop the concerned MPs to approach the court.
“I hope this is not intended to stop those who threatened to go to court. If it is meant to interfere with their democratic right to approach the judicial system, I will not support the Bill. I will promptly withdraw my support,” added Rakhudu.
Rakhudu, who was among the Ministers who were paid according to their Ministerial position after ascending to the positions, argued that there was nothing unlawful for those who were paid the money.
He maintained that there was nothing wrong and they were paid the money lawfully.
Local Govenment Assistant Minister, Botlhogile Tshireletso, also stated that there was nothing unlawful about paying the ministers who were paid gratuities soon after being appointed ministers.
Kweneng East MP General Moeng Pheto, who was dropped and paid a gratuity as an MP after serving as a Minister for years in the ninth parliament, also hailed the move to correct the issue. He said that it was very important for parliament to resolve the matter that has stayed for a long time without being resolved if there are some discrepancies that were found to exist.
However, Francistown South MP Winter Mmolotsi indicated that he will be against the amendment if it is intended to favour individuals.
Former ministers who were dropped and paid their gratuities as MPs include Moeng Pheto, Daniel Kwelagobe and Sheila Tlou.