Sunday, December 3, 2023

Delimitation Commission battles with tribalism and own powerlessness

In an effort to address tribalistic sentiments and complaints on naming constituencies, the Delimitation Commission has renamed constituencies along tribal lines.

In a report released on Friday, the Commission has realigned and altered the names of a number of constituencies whose names had tribal connotations.

Residents in Tonota North and Nkange, for instance, had proposed name changes to reflect their ethnic composition.

The case was the same for Kweneng and Southern District, especially Bahurutshe of Mankgodi.
“Some residents of Lerala and Tsetsebjwe submitted at separate meetings addressed by the Commission that they were different tribes and that their customs were very different and that they could not be in the same constituency,” states the report.

“After a careful reflection, the Commission feels that naming constituencies along tribal lines may promote tribalism and ethnicity and ultimately impede the nation building process. Consequently, the Commission has taken a deliberate decision to move away from constituency names with tribal connotations and rename constituencies….”

Among others, the Commission has decided to name constituencies by settling for the prominent and central village in a given area as well as adapting names that indicate the extent of the constituency.

Thus the Kgatleng Constituencies have been renamed Mochudi West and Mochudi East.
Tswapong South Constituency has been renamed Sefhare-Ramokgonami while what used to be Tswapong North is now Lerala-Maunatlala.

The realignment exercise has also resulted in the axing of a number of wards in a lot of constituencies.

There has been no addition of new constituencies by reason of the fact that the Commission has no power to revise the number of constituencies. According to the report, only parliament can increase the seats of elected representatives of the National Assembly.

“Because Parliament did not increase the number of seats of Elected Members in the National Assembly, the delimitation exercise was carried out through the realignment of the existing constituency boundaries,” states the report.

Many politicians and political parties had pleaded for an increase in the number of constituencies to allow MPs to effectively do their work.

The Commission has made known its views by suggesting that there should be 5 additional constituencies including 1 in Gaborone.

“… The Commission opines that the law be amended to remove the perceived ambiguity by making clear whether or not the Commission has the power to increase the number of constituencies where parliament has not made a provision to increase the number of seats of elected members in the National Assembly.”


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