While the opposition Botswana Congress Party (BCP) presses for government to fast track the law on declaration of assets and liabilities, government is not in a hurry.
Through a press statement released on Monday, the BCP’s general secretary, Kesitegile Gobotswang, made a plea for government to bring the bill during the ongoing parliamentary session.
Last year, a draft bill was published in the Botswana Gazzette.
Although it is critically against what it calls a waterted down draft bill, the BCP says it fears that the bill on Declaration of Asserts might never be tabled before parliament afterall.
According to the BCP, the draft bill is shoddy because it does not cover senior government officals and parastatals chiefs. It states that the bill only covers Members of Parliament ,their spouses and dependent children.
“Since the publication of the draft bill, government has been conspicuously silent over the law that is long overdue. The consultative process to get the input of Batswana has not started. There is no sign that the bill will be presented to parliament anytime soon. The bill has also not been included in the bills to be discussed in the current meeting of parliament. On the other hand, there are already some voices from Parliament expressing some discomfort that the bill may be used to stop them from engaging in private business ventures. The BCP strongly suspects that those inside cabinet who are against the bill are determined to kill it before it even reaches parliament,” reads part of a statement by Gobotswang.
However, the minister in charge of Presidential Affairs and Public Adminstration, Mokgweetsi Masisi, is non- commital as to when the bill will be tabled before parliament.
“I cannot give a date; I cannnot speculate as to when it will be tabled but the most important thing is that a bill will come,” Masisi told the The Telegraph in an interview.
He said that cabinet is still consulting internally on the issue and will, at the appropriate time, take it to parliament.
“We will bring a bill to parliament that we think is going to enjoy support across the political divide and will genuinely address the problem,” he adds.
He says that although the BCP has a right to contribute to the debate “no one should be playing for political expediency”, adding that contributions to the debate on asserts declaration should be informed by the larger good as well as other citizen’s rights.
Gobotswang has indicated that if the bill is not presented to parliament during this session of parliament, his party will table a private member’s bill on Declaration of Asserts and Liabilities.