Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Mogae calls on BDP back benchers to order

With his government faced with an unprecedented barrage of attacks from within its own ranks that almost amount to internal revolt, President Festus Mogae has called on the ruling party parliamentary back benchers to calm down and protect the name of the party.

At a recent hastily convened parliamentary party caucus last week, Mogae expressed his unhappiness at the recent vicious attacks leveled at his government by Botswana Democratic Party members of parliament. He is said to have told the MPs to be careful not to be the ones killing the party with the comments they make in parliament.

The last four weeks have seen BDP beck benchers take turns to expose their disappointments at the many shortcomings in service delivery by their government.

In fact, the BDP members have been much more vocal against their own government than has been the members of opposition.

It all started with a motion by Member of Parliament for Palapye, Boyce Sebetela, when he mercilessly punched holes on the government citizen economic empowerment pretensions.

Sebetela’s motion was gleefully bought by other BDP members who dissected not only the contradictions in the government policy to empower its citizens, but also how that lack of delivery has increased despondency and entrenched corruption in the civil service while growing poverty among Batswana.

Even the BDP Chief Whip, Member of Parliament for Mahalapye East, Botlhogile Tshireletso, who is supposed to help the front bench in reigning in other members, bared her soul at what she interpreted as naked corruption by the public service when it comes to tendering.

Sebetela was to take the floor again speaking for days non stop, lecturing the government, and the Ministry of Finance in particular, about their short comings during the debate on the National Incomes Policy.

When Sebetela finally gave way ,Tshelang Masisi and Vistor Moruti took over.
While the two did not speak for as many days as Sebetela, they were much more ruthless and daring in their attack of the BDP government.

Even the party Secretary General, Daniel Kwelagobe, has not spared his former colleagues in cabinet.

When debating the National Incomes Policy, he said he does not know what’s so difficult with government enforcing joint ventures by way of making it mandatory for foreign companies winning tenders in Botswana to join with citizens.
Mogae was forced to intervene.

This week, the BDP Executive Secretary, Dr Batlang Serema, confirmed the meeting but said what was discussed was not for public consumption.

“A Party caucus is a behind the scenes meeting. I am bound by ethics not discuss its agenda,” he said.

However Sunday Standard has learnt that Mogae is uneasy at the increasing combativeness of his party’s MPs, and their tendency to openly criticize the ministers in public.

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The Telegraph September 30

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 30, 2020.