Leader of the House had to call Francistown West MP Ignatius Moswaane to order on Friday after he went bersek telling deputy speaker that he does not worship false idols.
• Moswaane breaks ranks with BDP
• Ignores party caucus, says its unnecesary
• "I will not allow myself to be abused and oppressed by the system"
• Tells Speaker; "Your office has been infiltrated"
Brewing tension between Presiding officers at the National Assembly and the vociferous Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Francistown West MP Ignatius Moswaane brought Parliament business to a halt on Friday, for the second consecutive week.
Not before the controversial legislator had given Deputy Speaker Kagiso Molatlhegi a piece of his mind telling him "ga ke rapele medimo ya disetwa (I don't worship false idols)", and ignoring calls by leader of the house Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi to withdraw the statement.
Parliament was adjourned prematurely yet again on Friday, after the Molatlhegi once again declined to allow Moswaane to table an urgent motion calling for an investigation into Botswana National Youth Centre (BNYC) over maladministration. A significant number of MPs, predominantly from the opposition, walked out of parliament in solidarity with the Francistown West legislator resulting in the collapse of the quorum hence rendering the business of the day over. A similar incident happened again last week Friday after a brief altercation between Moswaane and the Deputy Speaker on the same issue. Moswaane last week complained that ill-treatment he is suffering at the hands of the Speaker and her deputy in the National Assembly has devastated him and left him feeling abused and oppressed by the system.
Last week Molatlhegi said he denied Moswaane’s motion inclusion into the order paper because it was only forwarded to him late on Thursday. Moswaane rebutted this, saying for an urgent motion that the speaker’s office was long notified with on the 18th of February it was strange that the Deputy Speaker would claim to have seen it that late. He slammed the administrative staff and the speaker and her deputy for neglecting matters of national interest. “This is an urgent matter that should have been accorded a befitting treatment. I suspect that maybe your office has been infiltrated and that is why the matter has been blocked,” said Moswaane, before declining to participate in further parliamentary business saying the incident had severely devastated him and triggered a diabetic attack.
"I will not allow myself to be abused and oppressed by the system. Because of how I have been badly treated I am deeply frustrated and emotionally touched that I might even collapse," he said.
Molatlhegi, on Friday, accused Moswaane of failing to comply with parliamentary requirements that he was advised to take into consideration at a briefing held earlier during the week. He, however, declined to disclose what those specific requirements were. The defiant Moswaane had ignored BDP tradition of passing his motion before the party caucus for a heads up. Although Serowe North MP Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi brought this to Moswaane’s attention in parliament last week, his response when questioned about it by this publication was that he had felt that his motion was an urgent matter of national interest that shouldn’t be delayed by passing through unnecessary channels.
Moswaane is slowly proving to be a non-conformist and has a number of controversial motions already tabled or lined up in parliament that are bound to keep the ruling party on its toes. This includes a motion requesting government to end the beef monopoly currently enjoyed by Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) and allow other players to compete freely. Another motion calls on Government to increase Value Added Tax from 12 per cent to 14 per cent to cater for public servants’ salary increase and other Government expenses. He will also table a motion requesting Government to start negotiations with all farm owners who have land surrounding all cities and major villages to pave way for the expansion of towns, cities and major villages.
Speaking to The Patriot on Sunday after the house was adjourned last week Moswaane expressed disappointment and displeasure at the kind of treatment he was given by the Deputy Speaker and the lack of support from his fellow democrats. He said although it might be a little late he still believes parliament could intervene. "I will not allow myself to be abused and oppressed by the system. Issues of national interest should take priority,” he said.
Moswaane had wanted parliament to institute investigations at the BNYC over allegations of maladministration and halt the decision to terminate employment contracts of some employees. According to recent media reports, minutes of a meeting held late last year, shows that the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture Lewis Malikongwa instructed that at least 35 employees of BNYC be issued with contract termination as at the 28th of February.