Friday, October 23, 2020

MPs to pass no confidence motion on speaker

The Botswana Democratic Party members of parliament are preparing to pass a motion of no confidence on the Speaker of the National Assembly.

They join opposition members who have been publicly casting aspersions on the impartiality of the Speaker.

Two weeks ago, Member of Parliament for Gaborone West South, Robert Molefhabangwe, told this paper that no serious person can expect Speakers who are also BDP members to be impartial.

The issue of the Speaker?s fairness will be a subject of debate at an all party caucus meeting next week before it goes to the public lobby.

One Member who was prepared to go public, Samson Guma Moyo, said a trend has been emerging where only a certain small group of MPs are always chosen to contribute, closing others out of the debate.

?It has never happened that Speakers are impartial,? said Molefhabangwe when his compatriot, Nehemiah Modubule, was sent out of parliament for a day?s business after refusing to retract statements he had made against two senior ministers: Daniel Kwelagobe and Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi.

Moyo said in one embarrassing instance the Speaker even chose a Member who had not shown any indication that he wanted to contribute to the debate simply because that member is part of the ?favoured? circle.

?I am very angry about this development. It has been going on for some time and I think we should go public about it because it creates an impression that only a small group of MPs ever make contributions.?

He said the result is that their constituents lose faith on those who are not within the Speaker?s favoured list.

He said he does not know the criteria the Speaker uses but added that whatever the case may be ?it?s not proper.?

?There is this principle of catching the Speaker?s eye. But some of us have tried to catch that with no success. Only a few people are catching it.?

Moyo said he has not been able to debate.

He said as a sign of protest last week he stayed outside the parliament hall even though there was no quorum inside.

?What is the use of sitting inside parliament if I cannot be allowed to make a contribution??

He said the only time those members who are outside the favoured circle are allowed to contribute is when there is no time limit.

?There the Speaker has no choice. Everyone has enough time. But what has been happening recently cannot be allowed to go unchallenged.?

Should the motion of no confidence go through, it would almost certainly pass, given that it enjoys the support of opposition members who will be too happy to embarrass both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker, who are from the ruling party ranks.

Speaker of Parliament, Patrick Balopi, is a former cabinet minister.

The Deputy Speaker, Gladys Kokorwe, who often holds the fort for Balopi, is a BDP member for Thamaga.

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