Gaborone Central Member of Parliament, Dumelang Saleshando, says that he finds it astonishing that several Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) MPs agree that this year’s secondary school examinations were marked by controversy and require a probe and yet many of them are not in support of a motion calling for a commission of inquiry to investigate this year’s exams.
The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) president said this while throwing his support on a motion by Francistown legislator, Wynter Mmolotsi, calling for a probe of the exams.
Speaking in Parliament on Friday, the BCP leader said that it was clear the exams were marred by controversy and that most MPs, despite their opposition to the motion, wanted an investigation.
Saleshando told parliament that there was no doubt that this year’s exams were a crisis, adding that the issue was so serious that it even managed to find its way into President Ian Khama’s state of the nation address.
He stated that, as if that were not enough, whilst the exams were ongoing, the minister of Education and Skills Development, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, was on national television and radio almost everyday doing public relations exercise.
He said that there has been a litany of accusations, claims and counter claims, which he argued could be resolved by a commission of inquiry.
“We ought to have an independent investigation,” said Saleshando.
He said that if Venson-Moitoi were to investigate she would definitely not be impartial.
Saleshando argued that from the onset, Venson-Moitoi has been defending her ministry and apportioning all the blame on the teachers and the Unions.
Saleshando accused BDP MPs of debating the motion on instruction given to them by the party office.
He said that ruling party MPs, like Pono Moathodi, had strongly pointed out in their debate a compelling case why an inquiry was necessary, had nevertheless dismissed the motion as unwarranted.
He said that those opposing the motion were doing so not on a firm position, but because the motion has been tabled by an MP belonging to the opposition Botswana Movement For Democracy (BMD), a BDP splinter group.
He stated BDP MPs were opposing the motion to spite BMD.
Saleshando also said that the BDP MPs were opposed to a commission of inquiry for fear that it might embarrass the ruling party just like in the past. He said that past commissions appointed by government to investigate always embarrassed the ruling party.
He cited the Christie report, which he said exposed a lot of corruption and maladministration at Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) during the era when Venson-Moitoi was still the corporation’s chairperson of board directors.
“It’s clear you are defending a party position,” he told BDP MPs.
He said that BDP MPs were behaving like parrots because they seemed to be more inclined to debate motions by towing the party line instead of following their conscience.
Saleshando said that it is disheartening that children who had sat for the exams were now going to be causalities merely because the ruling party is opposed to supporting a motion from a BMD representative.