Ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) MPs are said to be headed for collusion with the executive over the salaries and allowance Bill for MPs which was deferred in the last session of Parliament. Inside sources within the BDP backbench have revealed that they were shocked that when Parliament resumed there were no bills – including the one which dealt with their welfare as promised on the last session. “Parliament business is supposed to be approved by the Leader of the House Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi but they initially omitted the bills which were only included later,” he said, adding that they strongly suspect that President Ian Khama didn’t want the bill to be included in the current session of Parliament. BDP MPs have threatened that should the National Assembly (Salaries and Allowances) Amendment bill not presented and passed in the July session they will ensure that they boycott the State of the Nation Address in the November session. The MPs are said to be feeling betrayed by the Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration Eric Molale who promised to present it after they agreed to support President’s Pensions and retirement benefits Bill in the February sitting. They were shocked when he somersaulted and said that the bill couldn’t be presented as it was just advertised and deferred it from the previous sitting. Most of the BDP backbench walked out of Parliament when they heard that their bill will not be presented, thus collapsing the quorum. In an interview then BDP chief whip Liakat Kablay expressed disappointment at how things turned out. “We have agreed that there was need for this Bill to be passed. The Minister could have advised at the all-party caucus that MPs salary and constituency allowance Bill has been recently advertised and therefore cannot be discussed,” said the furious Kablay.
Inside sources within the ruling party have revealed that Molale is under immense pressure from both executive and parliament. “MPs have threatened that should the bill be not be presented, they will not debate the State of the Nation Address and ensure that the quorum collapses,” said a furious BDP MP. At the General Assembly held on Friday, MPs agreed to extend parliamentary business from the 11th of August to the 18 of the same month. In an interview on Friday, BDP chief whip Kablay confirmed that parliamentary business has been extended by another week as they have some pressing business that needs to be completed. Asked if the National Assembly (Salaries and Allowances) Amendment Bill will be presented in the current session of parliament, Kablay – the Letlhakeng East MP – said that they are crossing their fingers that it does. “This is a very sensitive and critical issue and we are hoping that it will be presented. I can only say that because I don’t want to jeopardise our chances,” he said. Opposition Chief Whip Wynter Mmolotsi was not available for comment as his mobile phone rang unanswered. The Amendment Bill seeks to adjust the salaries of the Members of the National Assembly by 4% and adjust constituency allowance by 40%.