The motion which calls for the increase in the number of Specially Elected MPs to appease women took a dramatic twist Friday as controversial Tonota South MP, Pono Moatlhodi, joined the bandwagon of BDP MPs lobbying against the move, tipping the scales and thrusting the motion into a precarious position.
Contributing to the motion in parliament, Moatlhodi insisted women were not disadvantaged in anyway as most of them currently are riding on the crest of success, occupying plum positions as directors, permanent secretaries and judges.
“I do not know what the fuss is all about. Women, like any other competitors in the political scope, must contest the race. Efficient, competitive and ambitious women must campaign, carry speakers and solicit support. That is straight forward…that they should be treated with soft gloves and given responsibilities on a silver platter is utterly incredible and undemocratic,” he declared, adding, “people must sweat to reap their hard earned benefits”.
The legislator, whose intermittent and outright utterances of late nearly ruined his political career in the ruling BDP circles, maintained the decision to spike the number of specially elected MPs was ostensibly designed to suit the few elite women whose interest at heart are outside the ambitions of the womenfolk and the public in general.
A few weeks ago, Mahalapye East MP, Botlogile Tshireletso, tabled a motion calling on the government to amend the constitution in order to increase the number of specially elected MPs by four to cater for women as a matter of urgency and has since amassed support particularly from most cabinet ministers.
Although he did not finish his deliberations because of time on Friday, the few minutes Mogoditshane MP, Patrick Masimolole, spent point to a situation he would not support the motion – a move that would catapult the number of back-benchers unsupportive of the motion to three.
“Women must walk the talk. They must lead by example since charity begins at home,” thundered Moatlhodi, dropping a bombshell at the feet of vice president Momapati Merafhe, who listened attentively as the Tonota South MP opposed what he supported.
A political heavy weight with mass influence in the BDP executive structures, Merafhe last week pleaded with BDP MPs to rally behind the motion.
However, Moatlhodi dissented, insisting on the legislators who dare hate him do so.
“You can hate me at your own peril. Truth should be revealed and said,” he stressed. “We want elected representatives in this House,” Moatlhodi argued, spurring in the same breath for women to “change attitude” and rally and support other women whose presence in the hallowed house would be anchored on fair, competitive and free elections.
Although he could not instantly assert his position in the dying minutes of the debate, Masimolole is agitated that the country tinkers too much with the constitution – a phenomenon he says is rife every time there is change of guard.
Earlier, contributing to the debate, Specially Elected MP, Moggie Mbaakanyi, who faces stiff competition from the controversial and incumbent Lobatse MP, Nehemiah Modubule, in coming national elections, decried women were stymied to enter into the world of politics purely by virtue of the bad language employed during campaigns. She said that the expansion of the number of the specially elected MPs was the only alternative to save the disadvantaged women from the calamity.
Debate on the motion continues on Monday.