The first winter session of parliament since the 2014 General Elections came to an end on Friday and unlike the previous one it was full of drama and disappointment. The session started on a high note with opposition Members of Parliament trying to take government on task over the water and power crisis. Parliament was reduced to chaos as the deputy Speaker tried to stop Member of Parliament for Gaborone Central Dr Phenyo Butale from tabling an urgent motion on water and power crises.
This led to him being manhandled and thrown out of parliament by security officers and Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) chief whip Wynter Mmolotsi ordered to leave the house. It was the first time that opposition MPs from both parties showed unity and solidarity. The motion was tabled the following day by Gaborone North MP Haskins Nkaigwa and was debated only for it to be defeated through a vote. Most MPs who were too quiet in the last session woke up from slumber and started asking relevant questions notably Mahalapye West MP Joseph Molefhe and Itumeleng Edson Moipisi MP of Kgalagadi North.
Two best performing MPs
One of the youngest Members of Parliament, the Selebi Phikwe West MP is proving to be one of the hardworking legislators and always asking relevant questions that only concern his constituency but the country at large. Though he belongs to a minority in parliament, Keorapetse is never shy to debate motions and take on his opponents head on.
He is one of the MPs who are always present in parliament and always punctual. During the winter session his main focus was on the state of health facilities in Selibe Phikwe.
Sethomo Lelatisitwe-Boteti East
The young Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) MP is a dedicated leader for the people of his constituency especially when it comes to issues of education. His constituency though being the backbone of Botswana economy as it houses most diamond mines is one of the least developed and he has never been shy from asking relevant ministers on issues regarding his constituents.
It is clear that most of the issues that he brings to parliament are the one that he has discussed with his constituents which is a good sign of consultation.
Two worst Performers
The youthful member of parliament for Chobe has deviated from the character of other political novices in the house who despite their inexperience have not shied away from contributing immensely to parliamentary business either through debates or asking questions. His predecessors (Chobe MPs) had been in the past among the most vocal legislators, raising issues unique to their constituency which otherwise could not have been picked by any other member. To the contrary Shamukuni hardly ever said a word, the only time he does is perhaps in unison with other when the speaker seek their approval/ disapproval. Even the most trusted search engine ‘Goggle does not have much on him, the immediate feed upon search is among others his Bulela Ditswe results. With four years of his term in parliament the youthful member however still has a chance to make his mark, he has to get pointers from other experienced members maybe and steal the show.
She is currently the only female opposition member of parliament, having beaten her rival from the ruling party Olebile Gaborone by a huge margin Bathobakae was hailed by many as a lady of many talents who was going to shape the country’s political landscape. Popularly known as ‘Kwankwetla’ many said Bathobakae was the change many had been waiting for especially that the national assembly has been without an opposition female legislator, save for Habaudi Hubona’short stint. But the nation has been waiting ever since October. Her silence is to many a big disappoint considering that they had high hopes in her.
Many had expected her to tackle the land issue with passion and vigor considering that it is currently a burning issue in her constituency but all Bathobakae has ever done is ask one or two questions and that was all. Considering that Bathobakae is the only female in the opposition camp, in a group of 16 mostly young legislators who are still in their element perhaps it would be safe to say the ‘mother of opposition politics’ needs to be militant and daring in her approach to issues in the house, adopt the ‘Hillary Clinton and Angela Merkel’ approach put in one. And like they say women make rational and most progressive politicians of all times, she might find that her silence has been delaying her growth, after all word is she is not really bad a politician.
Best Performing Minister
When he was appointed Minister of Youth Sports and Culture many political pundits viewed as President Ian Khama favoring his close friend. He was labeled as not having credentials to lead the ministry and many predicted that he will be one of the worst performing ministers.
Olopeng is now making those doubting him to eat humble pie as he proves to be hands on minister and who has the interest of the youth at heart. Recently he announced that his ministry is negotiating with South African pay Television Dstv go play. When the sporting fraternity was dodged by controversies he told them frankly that they must put their house in order.
Quote of the winter parliament
“O ka ja such a respectable MP like Saleshando o bo o ta go gogiwa ke bo machikilane ka lepara,” Minister of Defence, Justice and Security Shaw Kgathi referring to Phenyo Butale who was thrown out of Parliament by security.