The third meeting of the 11th session of Parliament ended on Friday after debating seven bills. STAFF WRITER PHILIMON MMESO picks his top five best performing MPs and those that disappointed during the session.
What makes a good performing MP?
To begin with, they clock regular attendance at Parliament but not to seat in the swinging comfortable seats but participate in debates and ask questions which are relevant. They also have to raise issues important to their constituencies as they are sent by voters to the capital city to advocate for issues affecting them.
Well-spoken and quick on his feet, the MP for Selibe-Phikwe West has shown maturity in the winter session having his three private members bill debated. Though they were rejected by Parliament especially the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Amendment bill, it showed that he has done his research well and articulated his points with conviction.
The young MP, whose constituency was hard hit by the closure of BCL mine, has always ensured that the Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security Advocate Sadique Kebonang updates parliament on any development regarding BCL Group with his well-researched questions. Keorapetse’s undoing in the winter session was him trying to be a surrogate of the Leader of Opposition Duma Boko by trying to do Latin quotes something which does not suit him. The Selebi-Phikwe West MP has established himself as one of the fiercest debaters in Parliament.
When she was announced as Specially Elected Member of Parliament, many political analysts thought that it will take her some time before adapting to the fierce debate in Parliament. Kenewendo has made her detractors eat humble pie as she has displayed a surprising degree of toughness as a member of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) when she took accounting officers being Permanent Secretaries head on. Perhaps, she is easily the best thing BDP added to Parliament by debate performance. She has never shied away from any debate and asked many a pertinent question, to any minister without fear or favour. She has brought the plight of the people of Boteti to Parliament during questions and answers and didn’t easily accept any answer given by the ministers. For the first time, the Minister of Finance and Development Planning Kenneth Matambo has been forced to be on the defence when answering questions in Parliament, thanks to the young Specially Elected MP.
His election as additional member of the Botswana Democratic Party Central Committee at the Tonota congress seemed to have worked wonders and helped the Chobe MP to regain confidence in Parliament. The Chobe MP’s confidence even shows in his walk. He has shocked many by his contributions in Parliament especially during the debates of motions.
The Ghanzi South MP has the political pedigree, but also the passion for social and economic justice for this maligned constituents. The youthful MP has been consistent in his deliberations in parliament and one of the few MPs who rarely misses parliamentary business.
He has emerged as a reliable go-to MP who knows when to speak and when to just listen and enjoys respect across the aisle due to his mature debates of bills. In the winter session of parliament, though he didn’t ask many questions, Kesupile was the voice of reason and occasionally advised even the speaker who strangely listened to him and acknowledged his advice.
WORST PERFORMING MPS
Christian De Graaf
Since he resigned from cabinet due to ill-health, the MP for Ghanzi South has even failed to just warm-up his swinging chair in Parliament. It seems he is just waiting for 2019 and retires from active politics.
A check with parliamentary records indicated that the Mochudi East legislator has not even asked a single question in Parliament about what was being done to help develop his constituency for many years now. He has also not contributed to any debate during the winter session of the 11th Parliament, according to records.
Despite coming from the opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change which has contributed the most vibrant MPs who have debated motions and asked questions to ministers with vigour, Lotlaamoreng has chosen to remain in the shadows. This is despite the fact that his constituency, Goodhope-Mabule, has a lot of issues such as land occupied by barons and water shortages among others. Without much contribution in the House, he has dismally failed to justify the noise and publicity that his election victory attracted in 2015.
Dr Tlamelo Mmatli
For a man who defeated such a prominent figure as Daniel Kwelagobe to win the Molepolole South seat, expectations certainly weighed on Mmatli like a tonne of lead, but if he is to be judged by his performance in debates and searching questions, he would certainly fail easily. It seems the fights within Botswana Movement for Democracy has taken a toll on Mmatli who to his credit attends parliamentary proceedings.
One of the fierce debaters in Parliament, the Okavango legislator was the shadow of himself during the winter session of Parliament. It seems he is failing to adapt to politics of the ruling party as he struggled to debate bills or even ask probing questions.