Sunday, April 18, 2021

Debate on floor crossing deferred

The opposition bench in parliament maneuvered to force parliament to defer a constitutional amendment to debate on a proposal to prohibit floor crossing.

The motion calling on a suspension of the debate was proposed by Wynter Mmolotsi, the Francistown South legislator.

Mmolotsi sneaked in a proposal to defer the bill on the proposed constitutional amendment on noticing that the opposition attendance in parliament outnumbered those in support of the motion, mostly the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) MPs.

The entire cabinet block, save for Phandu Skelemani, Jonnie Swartz, Shaw Kgathi and a handful of others were also absent.

Mmolotsi had earlier complained that by rejecting the recommendations from the Ntlo ya Dikgosi, government was being deceitful.

He pointed out that the same government proclaimed to hold the views of Ntlo ya Dikgosi in high esteem when it swiftly moved to amend the Trade and Dispute Act to include teachers in the essential services cluster.

Mmolotsi said that at the time government said that it could not ignore the recommendation and support from Ntlo ya Dikgosi.

“We listened to them when they urged us as parliament to classify teachers as essential service…Why can’t we follow their advice when they say we should not prohibit floor crossing?”
“Let’s respect the chiefs,” said Mmolotsi.

He said the law was a demonstration of the worst things to come and argued that Botswana was slowly turning into a dictatorship.

“Let’s withdraw this law and go and consult further,” he said before successfully moving a motion of deferment.

Prior to this, Slumber Tsogwane, the Boteti North MP, had stood up to support the constitutional amendment. He said that floor crossing was not a new issue, adding that floor crossing disturbs the balance of power and could collapse governments.

He said that it was extremely unfair for the voter whose rights he felt were being trampled upon by those who crossed the floor to join a rival party despite being voted on a different ticket.
Tsogwane said that there was a need to think about the interest of the electorates, hence his support for a bye-election once an MP crosses the floor to join another party.

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