Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Mokgware wants unnamed ‘high profile’ people investigated for corruption

There has to be a greed of thieving, rule-bending high profile people because otherwise there would be no reason why an opposition MP (who happens to know an awful lot about what goes on in the country) would want them investigated.

Motion 35 for this parliamentary session from Gabane-Mankgodi MP, Pius Mokgware reads: “That this Honourable House requests Government to set up a commission of enquiry to investigate corruption, maladministration, tax evasion in Botswana by some high-profile people of influence.” The flow of words of the motion is so smooth the reader can almost see that commission starting its work at the Boipuso Hall in Gaborone but the reality is much more complicated. The starting point will be Mokgware taking the floor to present to his parliamentary colleagues and through the media, to the nation. It is in this presentation that he will clarify his criteria for “some” because as stated the motion has not defined a suspect group. In the past, MPs have reworded their motions to provide such clarity.

Typically, MPs who table motions of this nature don’t come empty-handed and Mokgware will definitely produce documentary evidence that will advance his case. However, what is more interesting about motions that come to the floor of parliament is not what is said and happens in full view of the public but what happened and was said earlier behind closed doors at party caucuses. The party that Mokgware is a member of ÔÇô the Umbrella for Democratic Change ÔÇô will fully back him in line with its caucus resolution but the Botswana Democratic Party will have taken a resolution at its own caucus to oppose the motion. Beyond the obvious reason (opposing a political rival’s motion), the motion makes clear the fact that the retired major general has trained his sights on senior BDP figures, some of whom are ministers who vote on motions. He is certainly not targeting some high profile opposition with influence ÔÇô if there are any such.

Ultimately, the issue will come down to a voice vote and the BDP will reject the motion. On the off chance that BDP MPs lend their support to the motion, it (the motion) will proceed to a stage where parliament is helpless about speeding up the process to have the commission set up. If the motion gains passage, it become a bill that the president has to assent to (sign into law) and thereafter appoint that commission himself. The latter process can take decades.

Through a similar motion, Mokgware wants the government to investigate the procurement in the Botswana Defence Force from 1980 to 2000 and from 2001 to 2014.

Having been part of the BDF High Command, Mokgware obviously knows a lot of things but cannot reveal them without getting into trouble himself because he has been sworn to secrecy. To the extent, it is possible for him he can point where the rot is without saying anything.

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