Mmegi Blogs :: Budget session ends with golden handshake to greedy Khama
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Last Updated
Friday 22 September 2017, 15:45 pm.
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Budget session ends with golden handshake to greedy Khama

Last week Friday, the second meeting of the third session of the eleventh Parliament, what is often called the “budget session” was concluded.
By Dithapelo Keorapetse Thu 13 Apr 2017, 15:30 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Blogs :: Budget session ends with golden handshake to greedy Khama








It has been a hectic sitting; some of the business was transacted midnight. During the budget session, Parliament adopted motions on the Review of Legislation that bars allocation of land to  beneficiaries  of  deceased applicants; Introduction   of   Dual   Citizenship; Re-introduction  of  the  service  of  emptying  pit  latrines; Relocation of the Department of Mining and Geological Engineering of the College of Engineering  and  Technology  at  BIUST  from  Palapye  to  Selebi-Phikwe. The motion on setting up of the Coal Liquefaction Project in Selebi-Phikwe was withdrawn following an answer provided on the same by the minister responsible for energy. An urgent motion by the opposition which sought to deal with the Court of Appeal judgement was negated before it could be fully debated.  All the adopted and negated motions were from the opposition. It has not been an easy ride by the opposition; sometimes the ruling party had to collapse numbers in the House to sabotage the motions, especially where they thought it might be political suicide to openly negate.  For some motions, some of the few ruling party members of the backbench mustered some courage to agree with the motions which were clearly in the interests of the electorates. It is very rare for the front bench to debate and openly agree with the opposition on anything even if it is the right thing to do; they would rather sit and listen to the debate and not vote. This was the case with the adopted motions. 

Parliament passed the following Bills: Appropriation (2017/2018) Bill, 2017 (Bill No. 2 of 2017) or the “budget” as it is commonly referred to; Supplementary Appropriation (2014/2015) Bill, 2016 (Bill No. 6 of 2016); Court of Appeal (Amendment) Bill, 2017 (Bill No. 3 of 2017); Emergency Water Security and Efficiency Project (International Bank for; Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)) (Loan Authorisation) Bill, 2017 (Bill No. 5 of 2017); Immigration (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (Bill No. 23 of 2016); Income Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (Bill No. 18 of 2016) and Presidents (Pensions and Retirement Benefits) (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (Bill No. 22 of 2016).

The most controversial Bill has been the one on retired president’s benefits.  The Bill, according to the Vice President, has to accommodate the lifestyle of the soon to retire president Ian Khama. This, it would appear, means his passion and desire to ride motorbikes and aircraft. President Khama has effectively allocated himself Disetla Island in Shakawe and is reportedly owning a second one. He is busy building himself a retirement home in Mosu, it is said using state resources, with an airstrip now completed. He is King of Bamangwato and would need to occasionally go to Serowe. The State will build him a house and offices in Gaborone. To reach all these and other destinations, for leisure and other purposes, he needs a boat,

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motorbike, car and an aircraft. The President has hinted that he will lead the BDP campaign in 2019 and the ruling party is likely to have at least five aircraft for its campaign if other retired presidents join, in addition to the sitting President and his number two. This is political corruption. The avaricious Khama will on top of what the amended law affords him, be paid eighty percent of the sitting president’s salary and be provided with three cars and staff complement of about ten people; bodyguards, security officers at the residence, helpers, gardeners, secretaries, aides and others. There are other benefits included in the original Act that he will enjoy. 

The Court of Appeal Amendment Bill was also heatedly debated with the opposition rejecting it in its entirety and attempting to move some amendments. The opposition attempted to delete all the clauses except one on the prescription of the number of justices of the court. They sought to amend the prescription clause to provide for a floor (nine) and ceiling (twelve) of the number of justices. They asked Parliament to consider affirmative action in favour of women, localisation of the bench and transparent appointments. All these were rejected by the ruling party. Trade unions which sued government and the appeal justices are likely to return to court for a further relief because some clauses of the Bill violate the principles of legality; Parliament has legitimised that which the court said was null and void.

Some Government Bills including the Deeds Registry (Amendment) Bill, 2017 (Bill No. 6 of 2017); Tribal Land Bill, 2017 (Bill No. 7 of 2017); Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2017 (Bill No. 1 of 2017); National Assembly (Salaries and Allowances) (Amendment) Bill, 2017 (Bill No. 8 of 2017); Specified Offices (Salaries and Allowances) (Amendment) Bill, 2017 (Bill No. 9 of 2017) were Presented and read a First time. The following Private Member’s Bills were Presented and read a First time: Botswana Defence Force (Amendment) Bill, 2017; Police (Amendment) Bill, 2017; Prisons (Amendment) Bill, 2017; The Second Reading of the following Bill was Deferred to a later date Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2017 (Bill No. 1 of 2017). The three Bills referred to above are the first Private Members Bills in the 11th Parliament. They seek to protect the emoluments of the members of the disciplined forces who are indicted or suspended from work so that they are fully paid like civil servants. Pursuant to the Public Service Act, workers on suspension or indictment are paid full salary whereas the disciplined forces members are paid a portion of their salaries, clearly against the notion of presumption of innocence until proven otherwise. It was a busy budget session and MPs are now busy at their constituencies giving feedback and preparing for committee meetings.

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Views From The House
Thu 13 Apr 2017, 15:30 pm
Fri 07 Apr 2017, 17:07 pm
Fri 31 Mar 2017, 16:25 pm
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FOREIGN EXCHANGE: Friday, 22 Sep 2017
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