MP, residents cry for constitutional reforms

Staff Writer
FRANCISTOWN: The Francistown South Constituency Member of Parliament (MP), Wynter Mmolotsi and his constituents are clearly in one accord on some constitutional matters discussed in the last sitting of Parliament.

This emerged recently at a well-attended consultative meeting the vocal legislator addressed at Block Seven in Francistown.

Mmolotsi, a backbencher, alongside other ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers and opposition MPs have been agitating for a constitutional review. One of the sections that came under particular scrutiny is the provision for nominated councillors and MPs in the Constitution.

Ironically, the specially election dispensation has always been quoted by opposition politicians in this country to support their argument that Botswana elections might be free but certainly not fair.

This provision, they argued, allows the BDP to manipulate the outcome of the elections by bringing in people who had not been subjected to the popular vote and even, especially in the past, altering the balance of power in councils.

Those who opposed this section of the Constitution added that since those who execute it are never called upon to explain what is special about their choices, the provision is open to abuse. With the BDP now in a state of perennial feuding along factional lines, nominations have been seen by BDP insiders as an opportunity by a factionally inclined president or minister to strengthen his faction at the expense of the other camp.

Mmolotsi says that specially nominated councillors and MPs are an unnecessary expense to the nation. He reveals that "the current nominated councillors

will cost the taxpayer P78 million in the next five years".

He feels that this money could have been used in what he believes are priority areas such as education, health, and infrastructural development. The MP is not happy with the current situation where people are sent to be councillors in places where they are complete strangers, citing Sua Town where councilors were "imported."

Another provision of the Constitution, that was raised in the last sitting of Parliament, is the clause that gives a sitting President immunity from prosecution. Critics of this provision, amongst them Mmolotsi, consider this as giving the President a blank cheque to do as he pleases. Not only did the people of Block Seven support their MP on his position regarding nomination as well as immunity but they also called for the direct election of the state President.

On other issues, residents heard that government would, through a new fund, subsidise electricity. Unlike in the past, there will be, with effect from April this year, a standard connection fee of P5, 000.

He also revealed that government is moving towards the specialisation of hospitals to reduce the number of patients referred outside the country for treatment. Coupled with this, government will now rent out office space to private doctors in the local hospitals to make referrals easier.



And the gladiator found his beloved city in ruins

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