Empty chairs and a locked door at Ntlo Ya Dikgosi, a constitutional advisory house of the National assembly which was expected to start sitting last week are the first early of a looming crisis as President Lt gen Ian Khama drags his feet in appointing five specially elected members to the house as provided for in the Constitution.
Initially Ntlo Ya Dikgosi was expected to commence last week Monday. It was then postponed to Thursday and was yet again postponed to a date still to be announced due to the delay by Khama in appointing five specially elected members of his choice. Ntlo Ya Dikgosi was dissolved alongside parliament prior to the general elections.
On the 14th of November, traditional leaders went for their elections and were supposed to be sworn in just after the elections, but this was halted as they had to wait for Khama to appoint five members to the house. As provided for in the Bogosi Act, Mokgweetsi Masisi as the Vice president automatically becomes the leader of the house in Parliament and Ntlo Ya Dikgosi. Sunday Standard is informed that Masisi who is expected to be part of those to be sworn in told Ntlo Ya Dikgosi that he was still busy with other government duties. As a constitutional Advisory House to the National Assembly that was established by section 77 (1) of the constitution of Botswana, Ntlo Ya Dikgosiwas created at independence with the sole mandate of advising parliament in areas by section 88 (2) and 85 (5) of the constitution. It communicates its advice to the National Assembly through resolutions. The House is presided over by the Chairman of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi assisted by the Deputy Chairman.
Members of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi who approached Sunday Standard said they understand that Ntlo Ya Dikgosi is likely to commence next year. They fear that Parliament is already ongoing and as provided by the constitution they are mandated to advice Parliament. “Usually a few days after our elections the president would appoint five members of his choice but this time around those five have not been appointed.
As we speak parliament is ongoing, we were supposed to have already elected the chairman and the leadership of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi but we are still waiting to be sworn in,” one Member of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi told Sunday Standard. Some members of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi are also members of sub councils. The sub councils have already commenced work without representation fromNtlo Ya Dikgosi because members of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi have not been sworn in.