Mmegi Online :: Dramatic session of the 11th Parliament
Banners
Banners
Banners
Banners
Last Updated
Monday 12 November 2018, 18:00 pm.
Banners
Dramatic session of the 11th Parliament

After the marathon constitutional case, election of the four Specially Elected Members of Parliament (MPs), the swearing in of MPs, Election of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker and the endorsement of the Vice President, the State of the Nation Address by His Excellency the President and the intense debates on numerous issues: Parliament has concluded the first meeting of the first session of the eleventh Parliament on Friday 12 December, 2014 and has adjourned sine die.
By Dithapelo Keorapetse Fri 19 Dec 2014, 10:47 am (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Dramatic session of the 11th Parliament








It was a hectic sitting for Members of Parliament who started work almost straight from the campaigns. Most MPs have now acclimatised to the new conditions including the decorum in the house, rules and procedures.

The 11th Parliament is somewhat different from previous ones in its demographics. It is relatively youthful with young MPs from both sides of the aisle, the youngest being 32-years- old. It also has elders including the Mother of the House and a few others. Furthermore, while the previous one only had a woman opposition MP towards the end of its life, this Parliament started with a woman MP in the opposition. Women are still not adequately represented in the house. Research has shown that Parliament of Botswana is one of the few that changes MPs after every election.

The 11th Parliament’s nomenclature is instructive; it has many new MPs especially on the opposition side. Moreover, this parliament is relatively educated with some MPs with PhDs, Masters Degrees, diplomas and certificates and with experiences in civil society, media, academia, law, engineering and agriculture among others. The ruling party has a fairly strong front bench and a very weak backbench in terms of, profundity and or comprehension and articulation of issues. There is and will be little assistance from the backbench to the opposition in holding the government accountable. The few good ruling party MPs who are better, are stifled by the tones set by the front bench, party caucus and maybe the hope of graduating to the front bench as ministers or assistants.

Parliamentary Committees were selected and the ruling party got the lion share in terms of representation and chairmanship of committees. Out of 23 committees, the ruling party is set to chair 21 and the opposition a paltry 2 committees including the Public Accounts Committee and Health. BDP MPs are the majority in all the committees notwithstanding their low numbers in the backbench, the only ones eligible for selection into committees. The committees’ debacle continues with the hope of amicably resolving the issue. The reasons advanced that the ruling party is the majority and therefore should dominate committees is illogical for several reasons. For MPs eligible for selection into committees

Banners

the ruling party is in the minority.

Secondly, the ruling party has lost the popular vote, having secured about 47% only. Moreover, parliamentary oversight of the executive requires equitable selection into committees and that opposition MPs chair strategic and or important committees to hold the ruling party and government accountable. As Junenal has asked “Quis custodiet ipsos custodies” or “who will guard the guardians” if the ruling party insists on its purported right to dominate committees.

There won’t be effective and adequate oversight of Parliament on the executive arm if nothing changes. The opposition walk out of the General Assembly and not Parliament as some have misinterpreting sought to send a message to ruling party that it is not business as usual for them. Even assuming that opposition MPs walked out of Parliament in protest, it is normal in the Westminster type of system where in some countries there is even a door used for the purpose.

It has been a productive 1st session; with two Bills passed-Botswana Stock Exchange (Transition) Bill 2014 (Bill No. 25 of 2014) and Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2014 (Bill No.24 of 2014). The later Bill is important in that some basic commodities will be VAT exempted and ideally consumers stand to benefit when buying basic items.

The list of exempted items, it has been argued in the house, has to be periodically reviewed and extensive consultation of key stakeholders like trade unions, BOCCIM, NGOs etc has to be done. It has also been contended that there is a need to review and remove hidden taxes which further erode the purchasing power of Batswana.

The Societies Amendment Bill has been deferred by the Labour and Home Affairs Minister. Parliament has also approved the Supplementary Estimates of Expenditure from the Consolidated and Development Funds contained in Financial Paper No.2 of 2014/2015.  The motion on the Extension of the National Development Plan 10 by one year was adopted. Three themes were discussed and numerous motions deferred. It is obvious that this is going to be an interesting Parliament for the next five years. I wish the reader a Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2015. May the God Almighty richly bless you.

Subscribe to our Newsletter
Banners
Banners
Banners


Opinion & Analysis
Banners
Banners
Subscribe to our Newsletter
have a story? Send us a Tip
Banners
  • Previous
    Halloween
    Next
    Masa Centre
    ::: Wednesday 07 Nov - Thursday 15 Nov :::
    Halloween
    Peppermint
    The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
    Nobody's Fool
    Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween
  • Previous
    Peppermint
    Next
    Riverwalk
    ::: Wednesday 07 Nov - Thursday 15 Nov :::
    Peppermint
    Halloween
    The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
    Nobody's Fool
  • Previous
    The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
    Next
    Gamecity
    ::: Wednesday 07 Nov - Thursday 15 Nov :::
    The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
    Halloween
    Peppermint
    Nobody's Fool
    Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween
    Venom
Selefu
Mabaila
Banners
Banners
istanbul escort