More than half of the legislators in the 11th Parliament have not made any meaningful contribution in the house. Many spent most of the time either sitting in Parliament for the last 12 months without saying anything or continuously missing House sittings thus collapsing the quorum. Most of cabinet ministers this year improved in Parliamentary attendance and were prompt in answering and responding to questions. Great disappointment was from the backbenchers who mostly didn’t follow up on questions asked or worse still some who asked the question would come late to Parliament. Some regrettably appeared only to register for sitting allowance.
Bogolo Kenewendo & Major General Pius Mokgware
She came as a surprise package when she was nominated as Specially Elected MP by President Ian Khama last year. Many hailed her appointment as a step in the right direction. Some political pundits doubted her capabilities as a politician on grounds that she was cut for corporate world and expected her to struggle as an MP. Kenewendo, who is the youngest legislator, proved her mettle by fitting well into Parliament and performing beyond expectation. Her performance and contribution in and outside Parliament have been meaningful. She closed the year by presenting a motion calling for the registration of all sex offenders, with such list being made public. Though she a BDP member, she didn’t shy away from criticising some of government decisions and policies. During her debate on the State of the Nation Address (SONA) she insisted that there was no need for government to spend millions of money in constructing the Science Park when it could be renovating some of the government’s old buildings. A member of Public Accounts Committee (PAC), she had added life to the committee which had Samson Moyo Guma as the only militant probing member. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry Peggy Serame knows her very well as she grilled her heavily during her appearance before PAC. Serame fumbled as she tried to answer the questions especially on the appointment of Linah Mohohlo as coordinator of Selebi-Phikwe Economic Revitalisation/Recovery programme.
Major General Pius Mokgware
He is one of the most disciplined MPs in Parliament who enjoys respect across political divide due to his respect for authority and punctuality in parliament. This year his constituency office was ranked the best by the National Assembly due to his commitment to serve his constituents. The MP for Gabane/Mmankgodi showed his mettle when debating the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Bill of 2017. He raised pertinent issues among them calling for the separation of the Ground Forces and establishing of Air Force instead of having Air wing. He reasoned that this will end the political debates that BDF is using a lot of money to acquire military warfare. Though the amendment was rejected, Minister of Defence, Justice and Security Shaw Kgathi appreciated the suggestion but said it will need a new legislation. As a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies and Enterprises (PCSBE) which probes government parastatals, Mokgware is one the committee members who always ensures accounting officers are put to the corner regarding their operations.
A man of his word, after being appointed the Minister of Transport and Communications Kitso Mokaila promised to clean up the ministry and address some of the issues that the nation were worried about. One of the issues was the expensive mobile data and Mokaila promised that he will address the issues. BOCRA has since directed all mobile phone companies to reduce their Mobile Termination Rate from 29 Thebe, to 22 Thebe. It had further directed that there be an additional reduction from 22 thebe to 13 Thebe by 1st June 2018. The regulator instructed further reductions, demanding that the companies commence a reduction on their Off Net Premium on off mobile voice calls towards 1st June 2018. aAnother critical decision he made was to refuse the transfer of Air Botswana to Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO). Sanity is also prevailing at Botswana Railways which was extremely unstable and seemingly directionless.
WORST MPS AND MINISTER
Kgosi Lotlaamoreng, Isaac Davids and Eric Molale
Most paramount chiefs who have joined politics and become MP have struggled to perform and this includes Kgosi Lotlaamoreng of Goodhope/Mabule constituency. When debating the SONA 2017 he even complained that eight minutes given to him was too much. The 40-year-old lawyer by training shocked Parliament when he said he didn’t know who between the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security and that of Local Government and Rural Development is responsible for the construction of police stations.
He recently defected from the UDC to BDP. However many political pundits have long written his political obituary and Kgatleng East is living according to the script. Known for his unsavoury words, Davids has now turned into a very mute politician.
He is the only cabinet minister who is yet to address a press briefing about his ministry and has consistently been very rude towards journalists. His relationship with public sector unions has remained rocky arising from his failure to engage them and has on several occasions turned down invitation to address their congresses. In contrast other cabinet ministers have managed to address their workers even when the environment was hostile to them.