In a Botswana flush with cash, a fresh-faced Tawana Moremi jetted off to the United Kingdom where he studied business law. Upon return, he joined the Debswana Diamond Company and would leave its employ a few years later to take up his royal duties as the supreme traditional leader of the Batawana. In the process, he assumed the regnal name of Kgosi Tawana II. Unhappy with constitutional construction of Ntlo ya Dikgosi, he took a short walk to the upper house a few metres away and has been elected twice by his loyal subject-constituents.
It turns out that even as he burned the midnight oil at law school internalizing complex legal concepts, Tawana’s heart was elsewhere. Contributing to the ongoing debate on the National Development Plan 11, the MP revealed his passions to be climatology and electrical engineering. Using his climatological instincts and intelligence, Tawana had not come to parliament the previous day because he knew it was going to be extremely hot. What compounded the situation was that the air-conditioning in the chamber had packed up, making it impossible for MPs to carry out deliberations for that day.
“You had to close shop yesterday because the heat was unbearable. Being an intelligent person, I realised that it was going to be extremely hot and I didn’t come to parliament. Those who came had to pack up and leave in no time,” he said in Setswana that so translates.
The Minister of Health and Wellness, Dorcas Makgato felt that Tawana’s breast-beating about his intelligence portrayed other MPs in a bad light, IQ-wise. She promptly interjected to protest.
“Saying that you are an intelligent person presupposes that those who came to parliament are fools,” she said.
The MP withdrew the offending words and a split second later, was talking about his passion for climatology and electrical engineering. For each day that they come to parliament, MPs earn a sitting allowance. The National Assembly uses a punch-card attendance monitoring system which will reflect that Tawana didn’t attend on the day in question and so the Accounts Department will not pay him sitting allowance for that day. However, the MP himself sees the issue differently and told the house so.
“I want my sitting allowance because I was in Gaborone,” he said.
In its 50 years of existence, the National Assembly has never paid a being-in-Gaborone allowance to any MP and if he gets it, Tawana will be the first and possibly last.