The recent Pan African Parliament (PAP) meeting in South Africa refused to acknowledge the presence of the Botswana delegation because there was no woman parliamentarian in the five man delegation led by Botsalo Ntuane.
As it turned out, President Lt Gen Ian Khama decision to increase the number of women in Cabinet put the Botswana parliament at odds with the PAP. The president appointed all women parliamentarians into his Cabinet. As a result, the parliament backbench is all male while the PAP regulations require that member countries be represented by five parliamentarians one of whom shall be a woman without ministerial responsibilities.
The recent PAP meeting in South Africa refused to recognize the presence of the Botswana delegation because the entire team led by MP Botsalo Ntuane was made of male parliamentarians.
Briefing the press last Thursday following their unceremonious visit, the newly appointed leader of the delegation MP Moisaraela Goya shrugged the whole incident saying: “We (parliament) were not at fault and thus are no answerable to the misfortune we found ourselves entangled in last week. As you might be aware the president has the prerogative to select his own cabinet which this time around absorbed all women in parliament including those nominated via specially election dispensation,” explained Goya.
The Member of Parliament said they were aware of article 4 (2) of PAP regulations which stipulates that each member state shall be represented by five members and at least one of whom must be a women. They however were hoping that PAP would appreciate their explanation, but believed the administration would buy their story.
Explained Goya, “a letter was written to PAP explaining that the Parliament of Botswana comprised four women parliamentarians and that all have been appointed to cabinet positions which renders our team not in tandem with article 7 of the protocol which states that members of Pan-African parliament shall not be compatible with the exercise of executive or judicial functions in a member state.”
“We were advised on arrival by PAP that the new members will not be sworn in until the membership issue is resolved. The matter was referred to PAP committee on rules, privileges and discipline to discuss and advise the Bureau on the way forward. I attended the meeting with Ntuane but PAP was adamant that we would have to comply with article 4 (2) of the protocol,” Goya argued.
“Based on the above honorable Botsalo Ntuane volunteered to step down from the PAP membership and the leadership seat of the delegation and I assumed the role while honorable Mabiletsa and Makgalemele who were attending the PAP for the first time were ultimately sworn in Wednesday 14th two days after a vigorous debate and stalemate,” he revealed.