Members of Parliament belonging to the opposition ranks have made a request for the Speaker of the National Assembly, Margaret Nasha, to call an urgent meeting of parliament to discuss the ongoing public sector strike.
The letter, written by Leader of the Opposition, Botsalo Ntuane, of the Botswana Movement For Democracy (BMD), Dumelang Saleshando, of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP), Botswana National Front (BNF)’s Abram Kesupile, is dated 20th May 2011 and has also been copied to the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)’s parliamentary caucus chair, Daniel Kwelagobe.
The MPs state that if Nasha decides that she does not have the powers to convene parliament, then “we duly request you convene an urgent meeting of the General Assembly as prescribed by Standing Order 117B”.
The MPs are unanimous that the public sector strike has badly affected not only the economy but many of the people they represent.
“We are of the view that the ongoing strike by the public sector unions has adversely affected our constituents .For instance, all public and private schools have been closed indefinitely and delivery of public services has been paralysed.The stance adopted by the Executive arm of government towards the strike is not yielding any positive outcome, and it appears there is no resolution of the dispute in sight,” the three MPs state.
The MPs say that parliament can probably help to resolve the impasses between government and the Union as well as maintaining peace and order in the country.
“Parliament cannot remain silent and indifferent, as may be legitimately perceived by some, when the public suffers great pain on account of a dysfunctional public service. As public representatives, we need to be accorded a platform to participate in restoring normalcy to the nation, as well as averting further turmoil,” the letter reads in part.
Parliament took a break last month and is due to commence its next meeting in July. However, the MPs feel the situation cannot wait for the July meeting of parliament.
At the time of going to press, Speaker of the National Assembly Margaret Nasha’s office was not available for comment.