Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Truant ministers, MPs face primary school regulations

It’s desperate times for Parliament which is struggling to put enough butts on the seats to form a quorum, and some legislators are proposing desperate measures: MPs may, in future, be subjected to primary school regulations like shout “present sir” to a roll call and pleading “please sir, may I go out” before being allowed out of the house.

Deputy speaker, Gladys Kokorwe, on Friday morning almost dismissed parliament because some legislators played truant after the morning break and the house could not form a quorum until the last three minutes to the final count.

Kokorwe, who was unhappy with the turnout, warned MPs about their attitude to the business of parliament which she said had become a habit.
She told the MPs that section 11 of the Standing Orders entitled her to adjourn the session in case the House did not form a quorum in 15 minutes.
Only four Cabinet Ministers turned up for last Friday’s session: Ponashego Kedikilwe, Peter Siele, Phandu Skelemani and Ramsden.

In an attempt to keep legislators on their seats when parliament is in session, MPs proposed desperate measures.

Member of Parliament for Mmadinare, Ponatshego Kedikilwe, proposed that MPs be subjected to primary school regulations where students are obliged to seek permission to go out.

“To arrest these MPs in the House, strong measures should be in place. Like primary pupils, MPs should be subjected to the maxim of “please, Sir, may I go out”, said Kedikilwe.

Kedikilwe, who is also Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources further called for a roll call where MPs wishing to be excused from the house would seek permission from the speaker in advance in writing.

Specially elected MP, Botsalo Ntuane, suggested a “name and shame” option. Ntuane proposed that habitual absentees should be named to avoid a situation where loyal and abiding MPs are tarred with the same brush.

Tonota MP, Pono Moatlhodi, blamed the speakers for always allowing certain MPs to speak first saying, “immediately after they have made their contributions they disappear.”

Gaborone West South MP Robert Molefhabangwe, on the other hand, proposed that the Friday morning session should be replaced with an afternoon session.

He also took a swipe at the cabinet ministers who he said were the worst culprits.

Molefhabangwe wondered why some MPs are always in parliament while others stay away without informing the speaker.

He asked if they were ‘small’ cabinet members “who attend the proceedings and big cabinet members who do as they please.”

Only four cabinet ministers turned up for last Friday’s session:

Kedikilwe, Siele, Skelemani and Ramsden.
Molefhabangwe noted that the quartet is always in parliament whilst others are always outside running their own errands.


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