Tuesday, October 27, 2020

No show ministers rub MPs the wrong way

Opposition Members of Parliament have expressed great concern over what appears to them to be absence from parliament by ministers to answer questions as pre-arranged in the order paper.

On Monday the no show by ministers prompted the parliament’s business of the day to end prematurely.

Minister of Defence, Justice and Security Shaw Kgathi, Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Vincent Seretse  and Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism Tshekedi Khama all did not show up.

This was notwithstanding prior notices of questions and motions of the day in their in-tray.

“Point of order, Mr Speaker the Leader of the House is not in Parliament to direct instructions as to the proceedings of the day. We are currently seized with difficulties and confusion as to whom to report the blatant and continual arrogance of absence of the Ministers to answer our Parliament questions,” said opposition MP Wynter Mmolotsi.

Deputy Speaker Kagiso Molatlhegi  downplayed Mmolotsi’s concerns.

“That is not a point of order. It is a point of procedure,” countered Molatlhegi, before adding “We are currently seized with other more important business of the day. So Honourable members let’s proceed.”

Failing to restrain himself anymore, another opposition MP Pius Mokgware called  on the Deputy Speaker to take heed of their calls which he emphasized were of great importance for the smooth running of Parliament affairs.

“This is not only unproductive but it is undermining our intelligence,” Mokgware argued, referring to the absence of Ministers in Parliament despite prior knowledge of the business of day requiring them to attend.

Gabane/Mmankgodi MP I said his worry is that the questions will be  relegated to the end of the  line…. “not even to feature this Parliament session.”

After an hour the House was forced into recess.

Opposition MP Noah Salakae had wanted the Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry to name owners of the Molapo Crossing, Game City, Riverwalk Sebele and Airport Junction shopping mall businesses and in the case of individuals state their nationality or otherwise the countries of registration for the companies.

Botswana Congress Party MP Dithapelo Keorapetse had asked the same Minister why Pula Steel is not part of the liquidation proceedings before court and if Government is abandoning it’s investment in the company.

Besides questioning the reason why Pula Steel manufacturing is currently closed, Keorapetse wanted to know how many people were or are currently employed by Pula Steel and who pays their salaries.

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The Telegraph October 28

Digital edition of The Telegraph, October 28, 2020.