Thursday, June 13, 2024

Absolutely no need to rescue former Members of Parliament

For a long time now, former Members of Parliament have been lobbying government to get a bailout of some sort.

They want government to pay them for staying at home.

That of course is not unheard of.

But the trouble with these Members of Parliament is that they only talk about themselves and their plight.

They forget that many other Batswana are in worse situation.

Former Members of Parliament want a pension that they really do not have and possibly do not deserve.

Government should think long and hard about the sustainability of such a move, especially given that the number of former Members of Parliament is always rising.

Sustainability of whatever scheme government comes up with is crucial.

If sustainability is not sufficiently taken into account, there will come a time when the scheme will run aground and by which time the beneficiaries will become even more agitated.

For them the argument is simple.

They made enormous sacrifices serving the country and are now struggling to make ends meet.

They feel deserted by a country, government and people they served.

That is not only unfair of the former MPS it also wreaks of childishness.

Politicians should not be allowed to declare themselves an endangered species.

Also nobody is forced to join politics.

People become Members of Parliament out of choice.

We can only advise those planning to go into politics and become MPS to do a thorough research on what the perks are.

MPS benefits and privileges are publicly available.

Even if Botswana government has money to pay to former Members of Parliament, there is something more worrying about the suggestion itself.

It is part of a growing trend.

That trend has everything to do with a culture of entitlement seen among our politicians.

Even the current crop sees nothing wrong increasing their salaries and allowances when the nation is struggling in the face of rising costs and related inflationary pressures.

The nation is grappling with grave economic issues.

Government should focus on those difficulties.

As things stand, pleasing, appeasing and placating an association of former MPs cannot be among the country’s priorities.

We are grateful for their service to Botswana, but former Members of Parliament are not among Batswana’s poorest.

It is true that many of them worked for a long time and left with no pension.

Some left at a time when even the salaries were too low. And the current benefits of departing MPS was not even in place.

But that is also true for many Batswana who have no powerful association to speak on their behalf.

There is nothing distinctively different with former Members of Parliament.

If government is able to bail them out, then other Batswana in similar positions will also have to be bailed out.

Former MPs should take blame, not just of their plight but also for many citizens who left work without any pensions to live on.

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