Wednesday, May 12, 2021

BCP will propose amendment of Standing Orders

Botswana Congress Party (BCP) intends to propose amendment of standing orders with regards to debates in Parliament.

BCP argue that if the debate is allocated 10 days then the debate should not be closed until the 10 days period elapsed.

Member of Parliament, Dithapelo Keorapetse intends to raise the matter at the Standing Orders and Reform Committee and also at the General Assembly as a way of selling their idea to parliament.

Keorapetse told The Telegraph on Monday that they anticipate resistance from the current government because it does not want to be held accountable.

“The current government prefers a state of affairs where there are less questions and contribution. Members of parliament have a role to play to hold the executive accountable. This is done through questions and through contribution on debates,” he said.

Keorapetse said the net effect of not being able to debate in Parliament is that Parliament now will be unable to hold the executive to account.

“It is not correct to believe that the 51 MPs who did not react on the budget speech had nothing to say. Representation must be considered, representation may require any MP to leave the House and go back to his or her constituency. That means on that particular day he or she will not be available in parliament,” said Keorapetse. BCP will propose that the amendment must be in such a way that when the debates are given 10 days those 10 days must be all consumed. When in any particular day MPs are not responding when the floor is open for the debates, the BCP propose that parliament adjourns.

“The way the Standing Orders are they give the Speaker and the government an advantage to close the debates before MPs can react or voice out their views. The Standing Orders must be in such a way that within those ten days the debate cannot be closed to cater for MPs who might not be in the House for any particular day,” Keorapetse emphasized.

Last week the BCP was caught off guard and failed to respond to the budget speech in Parliament after the Deputy Speaker Kagiso Molatlhegi called for several times that the floor was open for the debate on the budget speech. He later closed the debate on the budget speech when MPs were not responding to his call.  

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