Friday, March 1, 2024

Whoever wins the Mochudi East bye-election will go for three months without pay

At press time (Saturday morning), there was a bye-election in Mochudi East and based on past experience, the results were supposed to come out early Sunday morning when Sunday Standard would already be on the streets.

While we didn’t know who the victor between Moagi Molebatsi of the Umbrella for Democratic Change, Reverend Mpho Moruakgomo of the Botswana Democratic Party and independent candidate Jafta Radibe was at press time, we knew this for sure: the lucky man will not be smiling all the way to bank until the end of July ÔÇô or August. The reason is that he will be sworn in on the first day of the winter session of parliament, which typically starts in mid-July. Before that happens, the winner will be an MP-elect, not a Member of Parliament.

While voters would want to think of parliamentary candidates becoming MPs the moment results are announced, the reality is a little different. The winner becomes an MP only after being sworn in. Only then can s/he assume responsibilities of the office and start earning a salary. That is exactly what happened with Kgosi Lotlaamoreng II after he trounced Eric Molale in the Goodhope-Mabule bye-election in 2015. The bye-election happened during the recess between the winter and end-of-year sessions, meaning that Lotlaamoreng couldn’t be seated. Only in November when the parliamentary year kicked off with the state-of-the-nation address was he sworn in.

To test-drive his new role, however, Lotlaamoreng told Sunday Standard at the time that he occasionally stopped off at the constituency office and also participated in some events in the constituency in a quasi-official capacity.

The Mochudi East bye-election follows the tragic death of Isaac Davids who was knifed to death by his herdboys at Sorilatholo cattlepost in the Kweneng District last year. The one that brought Lotlaamoreng to parliament followed the resignation of James Mathokgwane who joined the Selebi Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit.


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