Thursday, July 9, 2020

BDP MPs stage walkout over justice motion

The ruling party Members of Parliament(MPs) on Friday stayed outside Parliament, collapsing a quorum to debate a motion over the establishment of Social Justice Commission.

Opposition MP Taolo Lucas, still reeling from yet another disappointment at the hands of the numerically strong ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) MP’s in Parliament, moved a motion calling for the setting up of Social Commission only to suffer yet another blow.

The premature collapse of the debate came hot on the heels of yet another motion recently over the Village Development Committee aimed at increasing allowances of voluntary workers rejected by the ruling party legislators in Parliament spearheaded by Lucas.

“Mr Speaker, I am privy to the ruling party MP’s intention to deliberately collapse the quorum and eventual proceedings,” earlier the opposition legislator Dithapelo Keorapetse sounded the alarm bells to which the Speakership will take lightly.

This as the Parliament alarm bell sounded for the collapse of quorum in the meantime.

“I accidently confronted their caucus this morning,” Keorapetse added to the laughter and murmurs of both MP’s of the political divide.

Replied the Acting Speaker of the House Mabuse Pule himself even appearing taken by surprise of the forewarning with a soft laughter: “I hear you Honourable. That is very good warning in case they are some people within us with some bad motives. It will require they be warned very sternly.”

Pule however did not allow Lucas to put forward his motion following the reinstate of the quorum.

But it was not long before he recognized sinister movement between BDP MPs “going outside and inside.”

“Chief-whip where are your people. They keep on going outside and inside,” the Acting Speakership inquired permitting in the same breath the flow of Social Justice Commission motion as moved by Bobonong MP.

“Mr Speaker I am not comfortable with the response by the Honourable member Kablay when asked of the whereabouts of his MP’s (BDP)….that they are outside,” eventually stood opposition MP Pono Moatlhodi himself the opposition whip.

“His work is to whip them inside. It is humiliating for the ruling party to just say so. I beg for the respect of the Hallowed House please,” Moatlhodi added himself also the Acting Deputy Speaker the first for opposition legislator in history as the incumbent Speakership Phandu Skelemani is on leave for a funeral until Monday.

Acting Speakership Pule replied: “They have heard you PPP. Even the Chief-whip has heard you. We cannot teach him his job.”

PPP is a moniker for Moatlhodi while the Chief-whip is Liakat Kablay for the ruling party.

He sent Kablay to summon his ruling party MP’s but to no avail.

Timed for a 15 minute waiting, the nurturing and fostering of the motion could not last long as Parliament proceedings will eventually break as a result of quorum- the first of the new Parliament tenure since October national elections labeled against the ruling party MP’s most whom will be outside drinking tea or just chatting outside Parliament premises.

The majority of the all 19 opposition MP’s will attend the Friday proceedings without fail but their number could not reach the 21 thresh hold quorum as is natural progress of debate.

Outside Parliament Lucas told the press: “That is what we want to tell the public…that they have made the wrong choice in electing the ruling party. It is either they support the elite-orientated or private enterprises attached motions. They care less for the poor voters that voted them into power the national elections.”

He added: “But we will not be deterred. We will continue to give them a hard time as next week I will once more table the motion. They have nowhere to run for these noble motions. If they reject the motion we will establish our own Social Justice Forum in the public.”

However, Kablay responed: “MP’s (BDP) complained of the Honourable member who did not yield for interventions for clarifications. They instead staged a sit in outside Parliament or drink tea they told me.”

“They are adults and I could not teach them the respect and importance of Parliament,” he concluded reassuring smooth proceedings next Friday however.

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Sunday Standard July 5 – 11

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of July 5 - 11, 2020.