Batawana in Maun West constituency have expressed disappointment regarding what they term a “failed arrangement” between themselves and Botswana Parliament which was intended to enable them to interact with their area MP in a much easier way by means of internet usage.
Through the Botswana Speaks Project which was piloted in the constituency in August the previous year, they had been promised by officials from parliament that with the project in place, they will do away with incidents whereby they wait for their MP to pay them a visit, before they could air their concerns, views and grievances.
It was also meant for people to actively take part in decision making, and to help address situations whereby people never had the opportunity to directly talk to their MP’s.
The arrangement was that they visit the constituency office whenever there was something that needed to be communicated to their MP, though they claim that has not been forthcoming. In random interviews conducted by The Telegraph in the past week, they said the constituency office has on many occasions failed them as the as the one official who was deployed there to assist is rarely in the office or they are always given excuses that the internet is down and or there is no power.
A few who managed to get assistance also allege they have never received any response from Tawana Moremi, MP for Maun West, which therefore makes the whole thing ineffective even though it was during its establishment seen as a welcome development.
Moremi was during that pilot meeting branded an absconder by people in his own constituency, most of who said his presence is never felt because even when he finally comes, he runs own errands and forgets his core duty of serving them, perhaps because he feels exceptional.
Their fear then was that with the project in place, their MP was going to have an excuse to stay away now that communication was simplified.
The contention by constituents was however disputed by the Public Relations Officer at Parliament Chandapiwa Thebe who said so far the feedback they have been getting from the constituency has been that everything is well in place.
“You need to know that we only liaise with our office there and not individual people. And whenever we do, we are always given positive feedback and were made to believe everything is in place. What we wanted after our meeting with the people there was the general overview of the project, and so we did not get into specifics. We are however coming back there sometimes this week to further interact with constituents. This is a continuous thing which we want to see excelling. However we cannot also take for granted that they are happy. I am just hopeful that something positive will come out of our meeting with them this week, should things go according to plan,” she stated.
The piloting of the project, which is funded by the University of Stockholm and the Swedish Trade Council, was also done in Nata/Gweta as well as South East South Constituency.