A motion calling for the amendment of the Constitution to pave for increasing the number of Specially Elected members of parliament to appease women took an interesting turn Friday as the Vice President, Mompati Merafhe, lured fellow BDP MPs to support the motion.
Contributing to the motion, Merafhe informed Mahalapye East MP, Botlogile Tshireletso, not to get agitated since fellow BDP MPs would, with convincing numbers, rally behind her motion.
“I stand to overwhelmingly support the motion. I do not know what the fuss is all about. However, I am not surprised with the opposition MPs being against the motion, which attempts to empower women. That is the style of their leadership. When she wanted to assume the leadership of BNF, Kathlen Letshabo was ejected unceremoniously by her party. While they are busy clamouring against the motion, do not be afraid because fellow BDP MPs will rally behind your motion,” insisted Merafhe, who also wields much power in the BDP leadership.
Tshireletso recently tabled a motion pleading with the MPs to endorse the amendment of the constitution in order to increase the number of Specially Elected MPs by four to cater for women. But before it was on the table for discussion in parliament, the BDP leadership communicated to fellow party MPs to toe the party line and support the motion.
Although there were contradicting views from the party leadership over the issue, BDP Secretary-General, Jacob Nkate, insisted at a recent press conference that individual BDP MPs were free to express their minds without fear of victimization or recall.
However, of late, the party leadership has been thrown into bad light with fellow member parties recalled and victimized for expressing a different view from the leadership position.
Typical examples include BDP MP Pono Moatlhodi and Botsalo Ntuane who were recalled and victimized for expressing dissenting views.
Although Ntuane last Friday threw the motion out of the window, arguing it is a “piece meal approach” with nothing to achieve in the long run, the early contribution of cabinet ministers, including the vice president in support of the motion, is seen as a cue for party members to follow suit.
So far the front-bench which has spoken include Margaret Nasha, Gladys Kokorwe and the vice president, whose contribution is seen as having much influence.
While his intervention in the debate revealed he could be anti- the motion, Moatlhodi’s contribution arouses curiosity, more so that he was recently hauled on hot coals for expressing his mind.
Another figure to be looked for in this debate is the Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Ponatshego Kedikilwe, whose utter dislike of the nominations he expressed as a back-bencher.
Known to express his mind, Gaborone North MP Keletso Rakhudu is another individual on the interesting list and so will be former Assistant Finance minister Guma Moyo, whose comments as a back-bencher have raised eye brows.
As one commentator predicts, “The best way to run away from this is to stay mum or stay truant to avoid being recalled and victimized.”
Debate on the motion continues Friday as more BDP MPs are expected to voice their positions.