The newly appointed Assistant Minister in the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Thato Kwerepe on Monday shocked Parliament when he said the Golden Jubilee Presidential Honours are meant for members of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
Kwerepe was answering a question from Member of Parliament for Francistown South Wynter Mmolotsi who wanted to understand why the only former Member of Parliament to have served under all the presidents of Botswana, Daniel Kwelagobe was not qualifying for the award.
Mmolotsi asked the Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration to state the criteria used to select people who were given awards by President Ian Khama just before the 50th independence celebrations.
Mmolotsi further asked who was responsible for selecting people worthy of the awards and the number of people who were given the awards on the said day.
Supplementing Mmolotsi’s questions, Member of Parliament for Gaborone Central Phenyo Butale also wanted to know the criteria used to identify national pioneers and why some pioneers were left out.
“As you know Botswana Democratic Party has so many members, some were awarded before, some were awarded this year and some will be awarded in the future,” said Kwerepe implying that awards are somehow for BDP members.
He said Kwelagobe’s time will come.
The 2016 Golden Jubilee Presidential honours were conceived as a way of honouring the legacy of some of the nation’s founding pioneers.
Kwerepe said the Golden Jubilee Presidential honours for 2016 included all former Presidents and first ladies, all members of the first Cabinet, Parliament and House of Chiefs, local figures who participated in the 1963 constitutional conference and leading members of the legislative Council as well as some additional pioneers.
President Khama was responsible for selecting people worthy of the Golden Jubilee Presidential awards and 72 pioneers were honoured this year.