Mmegi Online :: Greenhorn Molatlhegi gets baptism of fire
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Friday 21 September 2018, 15:09 pm.
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Greenhorn Molatlhegi gets baptism of fire

The newly elected deputy Speaker, Kagiso Molatlhegi underwent a baptism of fire on Tuesday when he nearly lost control of proceedings.
By Lekopanye Mooketsi Thu 20 Nov 2014, 11:40 am (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Greenhorn Molatlhegi gets baptism of fire








The Gaborone South MP landed in trouble when he prematurely ruled that the debate on President Ian Khama’s State of the Nation Address should come to an end. Molatlhegi called on the Leader of the House and Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi to make his response, thereby closing the debate.

Earlier MPs who are new in Parliament appeared afraid to debate the address. Before Molatlhegi made the blunder, the only MPs who had responded to the speech were the Leader of Opposition, Duma Boko, the MP for Maun West, Tawana Moremi and Francistown South legislator Wynter Mmolotsi. After Mmolotsi’s contribution, nobody was willing to stand up and debate the speech despite Molatlhegi’s appeal. The deputy Speaker then gave MPs 15 minutes to debate the speech as he consulted with parliamentary aides but they were still hesitant. Molatlhegi said it was his first time to observe that MPs were not willing to talk. When Masisi came in, Molatlhegi ordered that he should make his response and close the debate.   But the MP for Okavango, Bagalatia Aaron insisted that he had long stood up before Masisi came in but the deputy Speaker did give him a chance. Aaron requested that he should be given a chance to contribute to the President’s speech. However, Molatlhegi maintained that he had given the MPs ample time and his decision to close debate was final. This did not go down well with opposition MPs who felt that Aaron should speak but the deputy Speaker stuck to his guns. 

A heated debate between MPs across the political divide then ensued with some opposition parliamentarians questioning Molatlhegi’s neutrality. Some MPs charged that it seems Molatlhegi was only waiting for Masisi to arrive so that he can close

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the debate. 

 Finally, the MP for Mochudi West, Gilbert Mangole brought sanity to the House by begging that the deputy Speaker forgive legislators and allow them resume the debate. He was supported by Masisi. Molatlhegi then reversed his decision and allowed the debate to continue.

Earlier in his contribution, Mmolotsi poured scorn on the country’s electoral system.  He argued that although 54 percent of voters have shown that they do not want the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) but the party is still in power. “They are controlling everything as if they were elected by 53 percent,” he charged.  Mmolotsi suggested that it was time to look at the proportional representative system.

The Francistown South legislator accused the ruling party of abusing power and rewarding political rejects with council nominations.  He said the nominations are meant to tilt the balance of power in councils where the opposition enjoy a thin majority. But this was denied by the Assistant Minister of Local Government, Botlogile Tshireletso. “It was never the intention,” she said. Mmolotsi accused President Ian Khama of resorting to vulgar language during election campaigns. He said this was uncharacteristic of the previous presidents. He said the people are intimidated and added that during the campaign, the President would threaten “that if you vote for Mmolotsi you would never get development”. He said that Batswana live in fear.  “People’s phones are being tapped.  It has never been like this.  It is a new phenomenon which came with Khama’s rule,” he charged.

He said South African business tycoon Patrice Motsepe was allowed into the country to attend a BDP fund raising gala dinner while his firebrand compatriot, Julius Malema was blacklisted because he was schedule to attend an opposition event. 

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