Two Members of Parliament from the opposition have condemned President Ian Khama, accusing him of political intolerance.
This was after Khama snubbed the swearing in of new Francistown West Member of Parliament, Dr Habaudi Hubona.
Debating the budget speech on Monday, MP for for Lobatse, Nehemiah Modubule, said it was disingenuous for Khama to snub the swearing in of Hubona who is the first female MP from the opposition.
Modubule said Khama was within the premises of Parliament when Hubona was sworn in but decided to stay outside until the swearing in was complete.
“It was surprising and shameful for Khama to snub the first female opposition MP. That is political intolerance. Khama must be reminded that the opposition has been elected the same as he has been elected by this Parliament,” he said.
Modubule said it was not the first time Khama had snubbed elected representatives. He said in 2011 during the heat of the public service industrial strike, he refused to meet a team of MPs just because he (Modubule) formed part of it.
“I don’t know why he fears me.┬á He must know that we are all elected representatives. If this issue is left unattended, we may see national developments being skewed towards ruling party constituencies.”
Leader of Opposition, Dumelang Saleshando also did not mince his words in condemning Khama.
He said Khama deliberately boycotted the swearing in of Hubona but had in the past ensured that he was present in Parliament when BDP members who had won by-elections took their oath. ┬á
He said Khama was present when Tshekedi Khama was sworn in 2008, followed by Fidelis Molao in 2010, Bernard Bolele in 2012 and Ngaka Ngaka last year.
“When Parliament convened at 2 pm on Monday February 3, President Khama was within the parliamentary buildings.┬á He chose not to be in the House but to rather sit in the Speaker’s office and listen to proceedings from there and only entered Parliament after Hubona had taken her oath, an act of utmost political intolerance by the most senior citizen.”
However MPs across the political divide praised and welcomed Hubona in Parliament saying it is a milestone to have the first female MP in Parliament. MP for Mahalapye East, Botlhogile Tshireletso, said the international community has been surprised that Botswana does not have a Leader of Opposition in Parliament. He said the coming in of Hubona will end the catastrophe that had befallen the country’s democracy.
MP for Palapye, Moiseraele Goya, said that Botswana was the only African country in the Pan-African parliament that does not have a female MP from the backbench.
He said they have been a laughing stock for a long time.
Almost all MPs who spoke started their speech by welcoming Hubona and promising her all the support.