The second meeting of the Fourth Session of the Eleventh Parliament came to a close last week with its major highlight being the swearing in of the fifth President Mokgweetsi Masisi and endorsement of Vice President Slumber Tsogwane.
The session was mainly discussing the national budget and due to the limitations of most MPs on issues of economics there was little drama in the house. It was time for MPs to look at the budget allocations for various ministries and how their constituencies have benefitted.
A good number of MPs participated in the debates for the appropriations of budget for various ministries and the debates were robust. For the first time the MPS from the ruling party came out of the cocoons and take the ministers head on especially those that they felt were not performing. This was probably motivated by the fact that former President Ian Khama was leaving office.
One cabinet minister who was heavily criticised was the then Minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services Prince Maele whom they told that he has failed. Leading the onslaught was the free speaking chief whip Liakat Kably with MP for Nata/Gweta Paulson Majaga finishing him off by telling him that Maele is too young to lead such a big ministry.
Another Minister who came under the radar was Tshekedi Khama who was told in no uncertain terms that his ministry is too racists and exclude Batswana from participating in tourism. Member of Parliament for Okavango Bagalatia Arone told him straight to his face that he protects wild animals more than people and that he has told people in his constituency to kill predators.
Another topical issue was the procurement of fighter jets by Botswana Defence Force (BDF) which Minister of Finance Kenneth Matambo sugar coated as ‘air assets’. The National Petroleum Fund scandal also dominated debates in Parliament especially after it was alleged that former President Ian Khama and VP Mokgweetsi Masisi benefited from the looting.
Mahalapye West MP Joseph Molefhe and Goodhope-Mabule MP Kgosi Lotlamoreng III make the grade for the worst performing legislators for the second meeting of the fourth session of the eleventh parliament. The good thing about them is that they are always punctual, never miss Parliament business and can be credited for ensuring that there is a quorum in the house.
Best performing MPs
Coming from the constituency that is the backbone of the country’s economy of Boteti yet one of the poorest in the country, Lelatisitswe has never been shy of raising the plight of his constituents. He is the leading MP in asking oral questions and most of them are based on development issues in Boteti East. He is certainly worth his salt.
He is one consistent MP who ensures that his questions and motions are well researched and does not miss Parliament unless on official business. He is very passioniate about issues in his constituency especially the closure of BCL, which led to Selibe Phikwe becoming a ghost town. Keorapetse’s debates are not limited to his constituency but also ask questions on issues of national interest.
With his witty oratory antics and public appeal, Gaolathe has managed to establish himself as one of the fiercest debaters in Parliament. He is very articulate when discussing the national budget and his criticism is always constructive hence he is the envy of President Mokgweetsi Masisi. He is a breath of fresh air to Parliament and one of the few MPs if not the only one who never attacks his opponents.
Although his motion requesting for a judicial commission of inquiry into the National Petroleum Fund saga was rejected by Parliament it did not dampen his spirit as he continued to excel in Parliamentary debates.
Samson Moyo Guma
The sharp tongued legislator has never disappointed all the time he stood up to debate on the floor of Parliament. This was the Parliamentary session where Guma showed that he could be militant especially when raising issues about performance. He shocked many when he called on the then Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security Advocate Sadique Kebonang to be fired. Guma was one of the few BDP backbenchers who debated freely the NPF saga and called on action to be taken for those involved.
He has been a real revelation in the second Meeting of the Fourth Session of the eleventh Parliament and was a constant contributor. Salakae who is an MP for Ghanzi North, one of the poorest constituencies in the country, has really brought the plight of his constituents to the attention of Parliament.