There is a new, extremely high standard of being an effective ruling party MP that an opposition MP has just explained in 10 simple words.
“You are a traditional doctor and one of the most ratable traditional doctors in the north,” Gaborone North MP, Haskins Nkaigwa said of his colleague from across the aisle, Nata/Gweta MP, Paulson Majaga.
When the house debated the controversial Court of Appeal Amendment Bill, there was evidently very little appetite on the side of the government bench to make contributions. At one point, the Francistown South MP, Wynter Mmolotsi, even rose on a mischievous point-of-procedure to enquire why Botswana Democratic Party MPs seemed disinterested in the bill.
“Madam Speaker, this house is out of order. Ever since this bill started, only one Honourable Member from the ruling party bench has spoken. What kind of Members of Parliament are these who are not willing to contribute to such an important piece of legislation?” Mmolotsi queried.
At this point, Majaga was the one BDP MP to have contributed to the debate.
Madam Speaker, Gladys Kokorwe, responded by saying that “No one is forced to debate.”
A more pointed answer would come much later when Nkaigwa took to the floor.
“You know Honourable Mmolotsi, it should not scare you that most of the members across the aisle have not risen to speak because they live in a lot of fear,” said Nkaigwa, adding that MPs are supposed to represent their constituents without fear. “For my friend, who also happens to be my homeboy, Honourable Majaga, I do not expect you to have any fear. You are a traditional doctor and one of the most ratable traditional doctors in the North.”
Until Nkaigwa’s revelation, this piece of information was not in the public domain. On the first day of parliamentary sessions that are typically attended by pomp and ceremony (being the state-of-the-nation address and budget speech), Majaga comes to parliament wearing a woolly animal-skin band around his head. Some see and have interpreted the band as a fashion accessory on days that to, all intents and purposes, double as fashion shows. Traditional doctors wear the same sort of band but only when on duty.
Nkaigwa didn’t elaborate on how Majaga’s supernatural powers work for him but muti has indeed been known to protect its users against harm. For example, with proper application, a herbal concoction called mokaikai can induce deep forgetfulness in those whose actions may impair one’s interests and comfort. At this point in time, Majaga’s political career appears to be in harm’s way. The MP is facing stock theft charges in his constituency and has attributed this turn of events to “political sabotage’ by his detractors.