Sunday, October 25, 2020

Guma Moyo sponsoring a law that will see President and VP directly elected

Member of Parliament for Tati East, Samson Moyo Guma will, in the next session of parliament due to sit between June and July, table at least two private members Bills.

One Bill seeks to introduce direct election of the President and the Vice President.

In an interview with the Sunday Standard, Moyo said the piece of legislation he will be coming with will also allow the President to choose his ministers from outside parliament.

At the moment, the President can only choose his ministers from inside parliament.

Moyo is of the view that even when the President chooses Members of Parliament into his cabinet, these should be few and of limited number.

The idea, said Moyo, is to allow for parliament to enjoy true independence without having to be compromised by the exigencies of the executive.

“There should be a very limited number of MPs who can also be ministers. But, more importantly, the President and his Deputy should be directly elected by the people,” he said.

He continued and said that in the event anything happened to the President such that the office fell vacant, the Vice President should be allowed to hold the office of President for a limited period, “say six months”, before Presidential elections are called.

“During that time the Vice President who fills the position of President should not have the power to dissolve parliament. That power should rest with the Speaker, acting in consultation with the Chief Justice,” said Moyo.

Moyo says he has come to the conclusion that this law can still go ahead parallel to calls for Constitutional Review that his party, the Botswana Movement for Democracy, has been making.

“It’s work in progress. I am of the view that where there is no need for a referendum. MPs should be free to go ahead and make laws. After all the job of MPs is to make laws,” he said.

Another Bill that Moyo seeks to table before Parliament is the one that seeks to amend the conditions of service for Members of Parliament.

One of the things he says should be introduced is that Members of Parliament who have served a minimum of ten years continuously should have pension.

He says the pension and or gratuity of ministers should take into account the length of their service as well.

That is currently not the case.

An example is a minister who serves for four years but who, for whatever reason, is not able to see their fifth year through.

When the gratuity is finally calculated, no consideration is taken into account that they would have served as ministers.

The basis for the calculation of the gratuity of such a former minister is the basic salary of a backbencher.

In that line, Moyo says he will also ask that the position of Speaker to be elevated to equivalence of Vice President, a comparison he says should be reflected in benefits, perks and remuneration.
“What we need are conditions that reflect that the jobs we do provide security.”

Such a move will allow law makers to continue their mandate without looking over their shoulders what would happen were they lose an election.

“In here, I am not talking salary adjustment but conditions of service ÔÇô during and after one has done their time in parliament,” says the Tati East legislator.

He is, however, of the view that if there is to be a pension scheme, “it should apply to a minimum of ten-year continuous service”.

Moyo is also worried that, at the moment, the position of Vice President does not attract any benefits when the incumbent retires. That, he says, is an anomaly given that the retiring president gets a whole pack of benefits, including a monthly salary equivalent to 80% of their days when they were in office.

“We now have an ailing Vice President and an ageing Acting Vice President. Should Vice President Merafhe decide to step down he will get nothing as benefits. The same will apply to [Ponatshego] Kedikilwe. Why look after the President and leave out the people who work closely with him. That cannot be fair given that the position of Vice President is not very different from that of President,” says Moyo.

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