The BMDYL strongly condemns the speakership of the national assembly with regards to the events that transpired in Parliament on Monday culminating in the unceremonious bundling of honourable members Mk Wynter Mmolotsi and Mk Dr Phenyo Butale, both of the UDC, out of the house in the most despicable of ways. Pictures of Dr Butale being dragged and carried by security agents out of the parliament building has been doing the rounds on social media since the incident, reflecting our sacred national assembly in the worst of lights in the local, regional and even international scene. It is unfortunate that the Deputy Speaker of Parliament came to such a conclusion when he had a lot of options guided by the Parliament Standing Orders to guide him on what to do. As Batswana we have always been guided by the principle of Botho and that Ntwa Kgolo Ke Ya Molomo. These principles play a critical role in guiding the society.
The deputy speaker had a choice to:
• Allow the motion to be debated as long as there were four MPs who were in support.
• Adjourn parliament and consult the whips.
We strongly believe that what our leader brought and rose for is a course that every Motswana is concerned and has interest in. We expect the deputy speaker to be aware of issues of national interest so as to be able to be rational. The role of the speaker is to run parliament smoothly and not serve his/her masters or protect neither any legislature nor the executive. We do believe that the issue of water & electricity not forgetting unemployment are burning issues which have reached a national crisis and if the BDP has the interest of Batswana at heart such motions should not be blocked.
The deputy speaker displayed the most arrogant, obnoxious & bullying tactics to intimidate opposition MPs and this will never be allowed. The BMDYL is ready to take the bull by its horns and ensure that honourable MPs get the respect and honour they deserve in parliament.
It has since emerged that the standoff was a result of honourable Butale attempting to table an urgent motion that seek parliament to discuss the current water and electricity crisis that has befallen the country despite the fact that honourable Keorapetse of the BCP, our brothers in opposition, had notified the speaker of his intention to put to the responsible minister a question on the same subject. It has since emerged from both honourable Butale and Keorapetse that for them it did not really matter who brought the matter to the house, as long as it gets discussed! Just what the nation would want parliament to do.
We want to go on record expressing our disgust and disappointment at the fact that the not so honourable deputy speaker Mr. Kagiso Molatlhegi, who is also an elected representative of the people of Gaborone South would want to deny other elected officials an opportunity to discuss this matter that is quickly turning into a national crisis in the house. We at the BMDYL believe that this is what the nation, including the good residents of Rre Molatlhegi constituency Gaborone South, would want parliament to discuss amid the dark nights and waterless morning that ordinary citizens are faced with day in day out. We therefore stand in solidarity with all members of the house who find it fitting to ensure that this matter is discussed in the house before any other business because we can’t think of any other matter that should be top of the executive and indeed the legislature’s agenda right now.
This lack of electricity and water supply that has befallen the nation and the greater Gaborone respectively are both a result of poor and misdirected management of the economy by the government of the day and we condemn it in the strongest of terms. This self-made crisis is currently costing the country dearly in wasted capital and stunted economic growth, with up to 1% slowdown of the economic growth estimated for 2015, because of the effect lack of electricity has on everyday life and to a large extent industrial activity. It is an open secret that a lot of unscrupulous deals are behind Morupule B and the North South water carrier project, resulting in certain individuals enriching themselves as has become the norm for the current government top echelons, hence the attempt by the speakership on behalf of the executive to curtail honourable Dr Butale’s motion. This time, the BDP and its neo-liberal tendencies will be exposed and we are confident that the crystal ball they have wrapped themselves with will erupt very soon and the nation will remove these old crooks that don’t care about our people but serve their own interests and those of their friends.
It is against this backdrop that the BMDYL will join and support the MPs in whatever course of action they take on this matter and we would like to urge all members of society and all organisations to stand behind our elected leaders as they bring this matter of national importance to the fore.
Kagelelo Banks Kentse
Botswana Movement for Democracy Youth League