Thursday, September 24, 2020

Now the ruling party is doing opposition duties

With the political opposition still comatose, we should thank God that a few faces from the ruling party ranks are coming forward to forcefully and unrepentantly fill the void.

After a long boring lull, the debates inside parliament are getting lively and exciting again.
The executive is getting worried. And that is how things should be.

Complacency should never be allowed to set in.
As a nation, we should rejoice that the country is not grinding to a halt just because of an irresponsibly dysfunctional opposition.

We should rejoice that despite the opposition, life goes on thanks, in the main, to a small group of ruling party members of parliament who appreciate the importance of a system of checks and balances.
That small group is fast showing an amazing determination to fill the void irresponsibly left by the official opposition benches.

As a result of this group of BDP MPs, who have become an opposition unto themselves, our democracy marches on.

Recent debates in parliament have been dominated by this small group of BDP functionaries that are fearlessly taking their own executive head-on.
And for that we should rejoice.

There is no better example of a real democracy at work.

What is more reassuring is that not only is this small band taking cabinet head-on, they are also winning a few fights along the way.

In all fairness, they have become the substantive opposition, performing that role much more efficiently than we could ever ask for.

Their sheer gusto and determination can only feel opposition members with envy.

At the head of this new ?oppositionist? movement is Member of Parliament for Shoshong, Duke Lefhoko, and his colleague from Palapye, Boyce Sebetela.
At one point the two occupied seats at the cabinet high table.

No wonder there are allegations of bitterness against them.

Before their demotion, Sebetela was a senior minister responsible for communications, science and technology.

Lefhoko was a junior hand in the ministry of agriculture.

But that is none of our business.

For us ordinary people, it should suffice that the duo are doing the left undone by the opposition.
Sebetela and Lefhoko, it must be said, are ably assisted by a few others, all from within the ruling party ranks.
These are Botsalo Ntuane, Kavis Kario, Keletso Rakhudu and Samson Guma Moyo.
The truth of the matter is that there can never be a functioning democracy without a vibrant and lively opposition. But what option do we have under the present circumstances?
Opposition is meant to guard against the excesses of the executive.

That duty becomes all the more relevant in Botswana where the executive, as personified by the State President, enjoys extensive and far reaching powers.

For all our shortcomings, ours is a working democracy, and we should be all proud of it.
It does not happen in Africa that members of parliament from the ruling party could be so determined as to ensure independence of the legislature.

The determination by this special BDP group to restore the sanctity and independence of parliament from cabinet is reassuring and should be applauded.

It was only this week that Lefhoko threw out the Ministry of Finance?s budget telling the ministers that they cannot take parliament for a ride.
It was not long ago that Ntuane, in reference to increasing cronyism and patronage, warned against a growing culture of ?Dear Leader.?
It was not long ago that Moyo exposed serious lapses in the country?s national budget.
Ordinarily, such pronouncements should be coming from opposition benches.

But we should face it, ours (at least for now) is opposition only in name.

If the trend continues, the opposition will become irrelevant and people will begin to believe that life is better without them in parliament.
That would be unfortunate, but the people have done all they could to bring sense to opposition parties.

The country cannot wait forever for the opposition to resolve their childish differences.
We have to move.

Somebody has to come upfront and fill the gap.
And for that we should thank those few leaders from the BDP members who are doing it better.
Save for occasional pronouncements from Robert Molefhabangwe and Dumelang Saleshando, the opposition in parliament comes across as lost and rudderless.

Some of them do not even seem to have the remotest grasp of the issues at hand.
The situation is not helped by the fact that the official Leader of Opposition, Mr. Otsweletse Moupo, is currently engaged in a battle of political life and death.

Not that it was any better before his own followers called him a ?fake revolutionary.?

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