Given the pace at which things are going, it would not be farfetched to say that the National Assembly is well on its way to becoming a boxing ring where fist fights would settle the debate on laws, motions and government policies.
On Friday, an indirect exchange between Gaborone South MP Kagiso Molatlhegi and Maun West MP Tawana Moremi left the gallery stunned and a number of MPs speechless.
The episode started when Molatlhegi, who was debating the motion calling for adoption of Public Accounts Committee, criticized opposition MPs for harping on money diverted from the disaster fund to start the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS).
Speaking in Setswana, Molatlhegi compared the whole thing to the curling of marijuana fume that he said takes ages to fade away. However, these remarks got a hostile reception from Moremi who quickly stood up on a point of order only to throw in a swear.
“Mr Speaker am standing to raise…a point that the honourable member on the floor o bua matanyola,” were Moremi’s exact words before he took his seat leaving bewilderment on shell-shocked MPs.
The shock took the deputy speaker by surprise that he even failed to make a call for the words to be retracted but merely appealed for calm.
An effort by Tati East MP Guma Moyo to bring the house to order by pleading with Deputy Speaker Moathodi hit a snag as Moathodi said the issue was water under the bridge.
Also commenting on the report, minister of Finance and Development Planning, Kenneth Matambo, said that it was not right to have taken the money from the disaster fund without permission, adding that the most important thing is to ensure that in future the same does not happen.
“It was not right, but how we deal with it is another matter,” said Matambo, adding that as a strategy to closely monitor the use of public funds, government will, during the November sitting, table a bill on Finance and another on Audit.
He also urged MPs to take seriously the report from the PAC. He said that having read the report, he, like the committee, was concerned that some accounting officers were reluctant to assist with information.
He said the transaction would have called for an investigation if there was evidence of misuse of funds.
Meanwhile, Minister Phandu Skelemani, who authorized the transfer of funds from the disaster fund for the DIS project, also called for an investigation. He said that he was seriously concerned about the politicking around the issue, especially suggestions that the money was stolen.