Thursday, August 18, 2022

Cabinet appointments cripple parliament watchdog committees

President Ian Khama’s ongoing piecemeal cabinet reshuffle is creating problems in the functioning of the Parliamentary Committees. The committees are not functioning as they should with the HIV-AIDS Committee unable to meet because it is only the chairperson who can convene meetings.

The recently appointed Assistant Minister of Presidential Affairs, Patrick Masimolole, was the chairperson of the HIV-AIDS committee. The acting Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Edwin Batshu, served in the SADC Parliamentary Forum Committee.

Sources say with reports that Assistant Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Charles Tibone, has resigned from cabinet, and no one knowing how long Bashu will remain in cabinet, it is not easy for both the Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Margaret Nasha, and the Committee of Selection to reorganise the committees.

Both Nasha and her deputy Pono Moatlhodi could not be reached for comment.

Members of Parliament cease to serve in Parliamentary Committees once they are appointed to cabinet.
The key purpose of Parliamentary Committees is to play an oversight function over the executive.

The former chairman of the Parliamentary Public Accounts and Member of Parliament for Tati East, Samson Guma Moyo, demonstrated how crucial oversight function played by Parliamentary Committees were last year when he refused to support a request by the Directorate of Intelligence and Security for supplementary estimates of about P72 million. Moyo had argued that it was improper for government to continue pouring money into the DIS, which failed to account for its expenditure.

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