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Absentee Ministers Worry BDP Chief Whip

TSAONE BASIMANEBOTLHE
BDP chief whip Liakiat Kablay PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) chief whip, Liakiat Kablay is concerned that some Cabinet ministers are not attending Parliament, as they should.

This came after some ministers missed Parliament last Wednesday and their assistants seemed to have struggled to respond to follow-up questions.

He said what irks him the most is that some ministers do not bother even to inform him on their whereabouts.

“Our caucus has agreed that Cabinet Ministers should always inform me or apologise when they cannot come to Parliament on time.

 The President has asked them to stop kgotla meetings when Parliament is in session, but some seem to have ignored the appeal. I think it is time I inform the Vice President of what is happening in Parliament,” Kablay said.

“It’s like they do not take it seriously and assistant ministers now keep on answering questions on their behalf. What frustrates MPs most is that follow up questions are not answered satisfactorily. I do not blame assistant ministers for that.” Kablay’s concern is that ministers would not know the problems that they are faced with if they do not attend Parliament.

He said Members of Parliament (MPs) ask questions on behalf of their people at the constituencies and Parliament is the only place where both legislators and ministers can get updates,

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and register the concerns of constituents.

The ruling party chief whip said the Vice President should deal with the issue of failure to attend Parliament urgently, explaining that if it is not dealt with soon, it will become a norm.

Local political analyst, Leonard Sesa said it is time the government reviews the electoral system since ministers have a lot on their plate and electorates expect a lot from them.

“A minister has to ensure that things operate smoothly in his Ministry and find ways on how some of the challenges his Ministry faces are resolved. At the same time electorates that voted for them want to engage the person and Parliament also need him,” Sesa said.

“Honestly, they have a lot on their plate and I do not think they are able to balance their work. I think ministers are not supposed to be having constituencies, so that they focus on administrative issues and Parliament. I understand the frustration of MPs, but they should also understand roles given to ministers.”

He encouraged the ministers to attend Parliament also because that is where laws are enacted and address issues raised by MPs.



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