Mmegi Online :: MPs miss key SADC meeting
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Last Updated
Tuesday 20 November 2018, 13:46 pm.
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MPs miss key SADC meeting

Legislators from Botswana were noticeably absent at a key weekend SADC meeting designed to tackle security in the region as well as greater integration and more effective exploitation of natural resources.
By Staff Writer Tue 04 Nov 2014, 16:06 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: MPs miss key SADC meeting








The National Assembly remains in limbo due to a pending High Court case in which the Attorney General, prompted by a complaint by President Ian Khama, wants the election of the Speaker and endorsement of the Vice President by a show of hands and not by secret ballot. The case was filed after Parliament’s Standing Orders were changed to replace show of hands in the voting for the two posts to secret ballot.

Last week, the Gaborone High Court postponed the case to Thursday this week.

While Botswana legislators, who included 33 new faces, were sworn in last Thursday, no further business has been conducted at the National Assembly due to the pending court case.

As local legislators cooled their heels, their counterparts from 13 countries in the region met at the weekend plenary of the SADC Parliamentary Forum (SADC-PF), which is pushing for the establishment of a SADC Parliament.

The 18-year-old SADC-PF is the region’s main elections observer and is focussed on enhancing the role of parliament in the regional body. “Parliamentarians were expected to discuss various issues, including the exploitation and utilisation of the region’s natural resources, security in the region, the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development, regional integration as well as the post-2015 agenda around Millennium Development Goals,” SADC-PF spokesperson, Moses Magadza

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said in a statement.  Botswana’s attendance at the meeting was key as the country not only provides the regional group’s deputy chairperson, but will also host the next Summit of Heads of State and Government in 2015.

Meanwhile, the Khama case continues to unfold, with the three respondents having filed their answering affidavits in line with the October 31, 2014 deadline set by the High Court.

The answering affidavit from the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) has set the tone for a bruising legal battle. The party argues that Khama and the two past vice presidents were possibly elected unconstitutionally.

The party says should the court find in favour of the Attorney General that secret ballot election of the Speaker and the endorsement of the Vice President are unconstitutional, it would sue for a declaration that Khama and his two past vices were elected unconstitutionally.

“In the event the Court finds that the Standing Orders in issue are ultra vires the Constitution, the resultant effect of it is that to the extent that the aforesaid Vice Presidents were endorsed using the same procedure, their endorsement was similarly unconstitutional,” the party argues. The oposition groups argue that the Attorney General’s challenge is not urgent and can be dealt with in line with standing parliamentary rules.

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