Three outspoken Members of Parliament of the ruling BDP (Botswana Democratic Party) will on Monday appear before a select few Central Committee members of the party in what is seen as the first step towards silencing them.
The three MPs – Boyce Sebetela of Palapye, Duke Lefhoko of Shoshong and Keletso Rakhudu of Gaborone North, have lately expressed misgivings on a number of government policies.
These, among others, included the half-heartedness with which government is implementing the citizen economic empowerment.
Lefhoko went as far as to table a motion before parliament on the subject which received overwhelming support from the nation at large.
On the other hand, Boyce Sebetela has, since last year, been tabling weekly questions in parliament demanding the executive to spell out how their various ministries and departments have been handling their procurement budgets vis-├á-vis favouring citizen companies.
The three have also been part of an increasingly vocal ruling party back bench that has questioned a number of policy decisions taken by cabinet including the privatization of Air Botswana.
The standoff between these outspoken MPs has lately grown so virulent and untidy with President Festus Mogae comparing some of them to “un-castrated young goats.”
In a number of public appearances, Mogae singled some of them for trying to blackmail him and his cabinet.
The President went as far as to warn that it could be time a disciplinary code is invoked against them as they were flouting the very rules and policies as contained in the party manifesto they used to campaign to get into parliament.
Popular thinking inside the BDP is that their summons before the Central Committee is the first step towards compiling a dossier which will be used against them in the build up towards primary elections due next year.
Under the new rules, the party leadership enjoys the power to vet out those members considered not to be toeing the official line.
“This is not a disciplinary hearing,” said party Chief Executive, Batlang Serema. “Rather it is to award a hearing to them as they have shown displeasure with the way government is doing certain things.”
Serema said when all is said and done, no action will be taken against the three MPs.
He said the intention is to make the whole exercise in-house and avoid a disciplinary hearing.
The select committee will be chaired by Secretary General Daniel Kwelagobe.