Opposition legislators that were supposed to meet President Ian Khama are resolute and have decided to stage a boycott.
On Friday, opposition party MPs held a press conference at the parliamentary buildings to announce that they had decided against meeting President Ian Khama in light of the fact that Khama had indicated, through the Speaker of the National Assembly, that he would meet the delegation of parliamentarians only if Lobatse MP Nehemiah Modubule is not part of the delegation.
Modubule, MPs Olebile Gaborone, Gilson Saleshando and Isaac Mabiletsa were scheduled to meet Khama to discuss resolutions of the General Assembly of Parliamentarians on the suspended public sector strike, which, among others, called for reinstatement of fired civil servants that took part in the just ended public sector strike.
At the time of going to press, Government spokesperson could not explain why Khama wants Modubule dropped from the delegation that was scheduled to meet him this week.
“At the moment there is no official response,” said Ramsay, after consulting Khama’s Press Secretary.
Although no reasons have been given, Modubule is a self-confessed and unapologetic Khama hater. Speculations are that Modubule’s disdain for Khama could be the reason why Khama would not meet with the delegation.
“Following consultations within the opposition collective, it was resolved that if President Khama‘s condition for meeting a Parliamentary delegation, nominated by the General Assembly, was the removal of one of our colleagues, for reasons unknown, then we were not in a position to attend the meeting. To us, it is unacceptable for the President to impose terms and conditions on a delegation comprising elected representatives from one of the three arms of government,” Leader of the Opposition, Botsalo Ntuane, said on Friday as he addressed a press conference with the Botswana Congress Party (BCP)’s Dumelang Saleshando and Botswana National Front (BNF)’s Mabiletsa.
“By acceding to such whims and impulses, we would be promoting a dangerous precedent whereby the President would contrive to divide any organized section of our society. If we allow Hon Modubule to be ostracized on grounds only known to the President, it would not be far-fetched to believe that tomorrow, the clergy or even the national football team would be instructed on who should comprise their delegation coming to meet President Khama.” added Ntuane.
Ntuane accused Khama of victimizing Modubule and seeking to corrode the independence of parliament.
He said that ever since he assumed state power, Khama has been divisive as a leader. He said that in the just ended public sector strike, the President choose to polarize the country between the employed and unemployed.
He said that at the height of the public sector strike, Khama refused to engage in dialogue with ex-president Ketumile Masire, Botswana Christian Council and a delegation of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party’s MPs.
Ntuane said that it was equally shocking that Khama had refused to meet with Presidents of Opposition parties to discuss the issue. He said that the opposition considers itself a partner in democracy and will commit itself to engaging the Executive.
“For President Khama to believe he can run this country alone without the active participation of the opposition betrays lack of judgment and amounts to a fallacy that is increasingly being exposed,” said Ntuane.
Ntuane advised Khama to restrain his emotions when dealing with national issues as well as interact with all MPs.
The opposition also urged Khama to respect Parliament, stating that it is the very institution that ushered him into office as Head of State.