The phrase ‘sit down and shut up’ gained political momentum during the USA Presidential elections campaigns when President-elect Donald Trump told fellow Republican candidates that they must shut up and listen. On Tuesday, the phrase entered Botswana’s National Assembly. Leader of Opposition Duma Boko, who together with Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Secretary General Ndaba Gaolathe has been invited to the inauguration of Trump next year, found himself in the shoes of the US President-elect as he shrugged off comments from the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security Shaw Kgathi. In an angrier-than-usual speech Boko – who was debating the National Development (NDP) 11 budget proposal for Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security – had to use the phrase ‘shut up and listen’ more than three times. “Shut up please and listen because you are making noise and disrupting,” shouted Boko forcing the speaker Gladys Kokorwe to ask him to stop using the word. Kgathi called on the Speaker to ask Boko to withdraw the phrase on grounds that it was un-parliamentary but his plea fell on deaf ears as Boko continued using the phrase.
The whole ‘shut up and listen’ episode started when Boko in his debate said that he is worried by the statement by the minister that he will ask the chief justice to consider the issue of bail. Boko said that it will be tantamount of trying to corrupt the judicial system. “I will like to plead with the Honourable Leader of Opposition to refrain from portraying a scared-like temperament; it is un-parliamentary, relax and discuss…” and before Kgathi could finish his statement Boko told him to shut up. Boko said that the biggest threat to national security is not external forces but the crashing poverty the aching misery of unemployment and the terrible situation of the working destitute that the country finds itself in. “The biggest threat to national security is not any external threat; it is in fact internal strife that will arise and result from the failure of this Government to address the youth bulge that has now become a ticking time bomb,” said Boko – the MP for Gaborone Bonnington North. Another threat to national security, according to Boko, is the introduction of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) which he said is the biggest threat or a constellation of threats to national security.
The MP for Mochudi East Isaac Davids, who without wasting time, said that he does not support the P22 billon thematic budget for the ministry of Defence, Justice and Security. “You should just sit down and listen; stop chewing gum in Parliament!” hit out Davids to Kgathi. He said the P15 billion proposed for Botswana Defence Force (BDF) for purchasing of jet fighters will be dumped in Korea where President Ian Khama was awarded an honorary doctorate. “Please, talk to your strong man that he is misleading this country. Being a strongman does not work anymore, please,” said Davids, saying that even the BDF does not even know how to operate the planes. The MP for Maun East Constatinos Markus said that he supports the NDP11 budget proposal by ministry of defence, justice and security especially the funds allocated to BDF. “We have to be proactive not to wait for a situation to arise. We will not be fair to ourselves and even to the opposition,” said Markus.