Parliament business was compromised on Friday as many cabinet ministers, who were expected to respond to questions directed at their ministries, were absent. The trend continues from previous sessions, where most MPs and ministers traditionally never attend the Friday morning session. MP for Francistown South Wynter Mmolotsi put the blame on the leader of the house, Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi, whom he accused of not taking parliament seriously.
“During the time of the late Mompati Merafhe and Ponatshego Kedikilwe as Leaders of the House they ensured that if a cabinet minister is not available, s/he delegates to a representative. Now since Masisi became the leader of the house everything is in chaos,” said Mmolotsi. Gaborone Central MP Dr Phenyo Butale was livid accusing the executive of holding parliament at ransom. “If the executive feels that there are more important things than this parliament then we may just leave,” charged Dr Butale.
Kgatleng West MP Gilbert Mangole said that it is disturbing to have ministers playing truant as they are only left with six Fridays before parliament breaks for Christmas yet there are many motions which need to be debated. There was an altercation between Assistant Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration Phillip Makgalemele and the Speaker after the former tried to rise on a point of order. Kokorwe told Makgalemele that he cannot rise on a point of order after she made a ruling on it. “Madam Speaker it is not right for you to heckle me before you know what order I am rising on,” said Makgalemele.
Makgalemele concurred that most MPs and Ministers are not taking parliament business seriously as it is shown by their absence. “We cannot waste our time like this. This is really frustrating and giving some of us stress and we must ensure that we meet the quorum,” he said with a disappointed voice.
One of the ministers who was attacked by MPs is Minister of Finance and Development Planning Kenneth Matambo who was supposed to respond to the minister’s question by Gaborone Bonnington South MP Ndaba Gaolathe. Gaolathe wanted Matambo to deliberate on National Development Plan 11, Vision 2036 and Economic Stimulus Programme.
The speaker of the national assembly said that she didn’t know the whereabouts of Matambo as he was aware that there is a question directed to him.