Mmegi Online :: MPs sworn
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Monday 12 November 2018, 16:14 pm.
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MPs sworn

After some hiccups, 61 Members of Parliament (MPs) took oath of office yesterday afternoon at the National Assembly
By Oarabile Mosikare 2013-10-04 10:05:38 Fri 31 Oct 2014, 15:31 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: MPs sworn








The ceremony was postponed from Tuesday after the Attorney General Dr Athaliah Molokomme launched an urgent application in which she wanted declared unconstitutional, amendments to parliamentary Standing Orders that allowed for secret ballot voting of the Vice President, the Speaker and Deputy Speaker.

The High Court on Wednesday adjourned to November 6 the case for arguments.

The question before court is the constitutionality of the parliamentary Standing Orders which provide for the endorsement by Parliament and election by Parliament of the Vice President, the Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively by way of a secret ballot.

During the last Parliament in August 2014, the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) MP Prince Maele presented a motion for adoption of Standing Orders pointing out that the amendments were to enhance the integrity of the process of election of the Vice President, Speaker and Deputy Speaker.

“The draft proposed amendments introduced further provisions to enhance the confidentiality of the conduct of the members poll, by providing for each member to mark his/her ballot paper whilst inside of an electoral booth,” said Maele at the

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time.

Reached for further clarity Maele politely refused to comment citing the sub judice rule. “The matter is before court and I will be glad to explain after the court case has been completed,” he said. 

These amendments have irked the BDP and President Ian Khama who believes that the secret ballot provisions are unconstitutional and that MPs have to vote by show of hands.

Khama fears that the MPs will sabotage his choice of Vice President, the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker hence he wants the vote by show of hands.

On the other hand, the opposition parties, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) are of the view that there is nothing unconstitutional about the secret ballot provision.

A former leader of opposition and MP for 10 years Dumelang Saleshando explained that the vote by secret ballot has been there before he joined Parliament in 2004.

Saleshando said Khama was also endorsed as Vice President in 1998 by secret ballot.

“The only new amendment is the introduction of the electoral booth,” the BCP leader said.

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