The 2014 elections campaign which is now on full swing with only three months left before Batswana elects a new government, has affected the winter parliamentary session. The session which started on Wednesday this week was characterised by empty seats of parliamentarians across the floor.
Some of the questions in the Order papers were deferred as those who asked the questions were not present in the parliament.
On Thursday afternoon it was becoming clear that by Friday the parliament might not form a quorum as even the speaker of the national assembly Margaret Nasha prophesied it. She cautioned the Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water resources Kitso Mokaila when he postponed the presentation of Water Utilities Corporation report to Friday.
“Ijoo O tla i-prisentela kamoso (you will present it to yourself tomorrow),” she said sarcastically but with some deep truth in it. On Friday morning, the attendance was promising but strangely ministers who are notorious for absenting from parliament were now the majority. Strangely Umbrella for Democratic Change [UDC] were hard hit as only Lobatse legislator Nehemiah Modubule and their newly recruited member Pono Moatlhodi who is also the deputy speaker were present in parliament.
However Moatlhodi had to take over the proceedings from Nasha. The number of MPs now dropped to 21; the number needed to form a quorum forcing him to beg MPs not to leave the house. By 11 am the numbers started to dwindle as most MPs left the parliament buildings leaving mostly ministers in the house. A motion by the outgoing Selibe Phikwe MP Gilson Saleshando was constantly disrupted as the house would from time to time not form a quorum.
At around 12 while Saleshando was still presenting his motion to the seemingly uninterested MPs, Assistant Minister of Local Government Botlogile Tshireletso stood on point of procedure informed the speaker that they do not form a quorum. As the speaker was about to halt the proceedings, another MP entered the House but surprisingly Tshireletso left the house.
It was clear that most of them were at their respective constituencies to try to canvass votes lest they found their political nemesis having cemented their presence. This is the last session of Parliament before the President dissolves it in August to prepare for the elections which will be held in October this year.