Broadcast Parliament live 

SHARE   |   Tuesday, 12 April 2016   |   By Staff Writer

We wish to associate ourselves with calls for live broadcasts from the National Assembly. This is an important and necessary step to take to ensure that electorates have first-hand appreciation of how their elected representatives perform in the House. There is every reason for voters to see that their representatives adequately represent them. This is the very reason why they are elected in the first place. We do not take it that there will be any intrusion in the life and work of public representatives if they are shown as they deliver on their mandates. Reasons advanced so far have not been convincing enough. It is quite surprising that politicians who love publicity so much could create limits as to how far they could be covered. Broadcasting from the National Assembly does not in any way mean intruding into their personal lives. It would be simply a case of showing them as they work, almost the same as when they are covered while addressing rallies. They yearn and campaign for coverage of their activities from kgotla meetings to their rallies.

It is highly possible that a greater majority of MPs desire to be broadcasted as they debate, with Government officials blocking this move for whatever reason. Some of the excuses come as security and logistical reasons. But these do not hold. Other jurisdictions do this very well. As a country that prides itself as Transparency champion, this should have long been done. The costs cannot be an impediment for democracy comes at a cost. Having television or radio connected to a feeder from the House should not compromise the House security in anyway. Electorates should be given as much exposure to their representatives as possible. This also helps the representative. If one is good and dedicated to representing the people, they will be seen live by electorates and this therefore will reduce the chances of having them under reported by media houses or simply being misquoted. Politicians thrive on publicity. It is the means through which they sell themselves and ultimately ensures that get re-elected. The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) should relook at this matter, perhaps they are sitting on an opportunity as well.

As a ruling party, it goes without saying that if it appreciated the importance of this, it would have long implemented this. They ought to try this out and only dismiss it after it proves problematic. Implementing this will also help the Speaker to control the MPs. Aware that the cameras are running MPs will not continuously skip debates and will be cautions not to insult each other at ease as is currently the case. The unnecessary heckling and playfulness will be exposed to the voter who will ultimately punish the offending MP at the ballots. Our Parliament has often turned unproductive with members easily absconding or some turning it into a chaotic scene that is not expected from elected representatives. To deal with these, live broadcasts should be introduced. This is not an overboard expectation – it is the essence of enhancing openness, transparency and democracy.