Does MP mean Missing Person?

During election time, politicians invest money, time and emotions in their strenuous campaigns to elicit votes to put them in office.

It will, therefore, always be an enduring mystery why those who are eventually voted into Parliament seem to quickly take the privilege for granted.

Perhaps it is quintessential human nature as captured in lamentations such as ‘got till it’s gone’ or ‘not missing the water until the well runs dry or perhaps it is a weakness unique to politicians.

Or, as we fear, the frequent lack of quorum in the National Assembly belies the fact that political campaigns are deceitful exercises, where a candidate hoodwinks voters into believing he or she will represent their interests, while fully having no intention of doing so.

How else can one explain the truancy that has dogged every session of Parliament in years past? Just yesterday, National Assembly speaker, Gladys Kokorwe, labelled legislators as “thieves” after they again failed to form a quorum in the House.

“Golo moo ke go utswela sechaba madi a sone. Ba ikitse Mapalamente a teng le nna ke a ba itse,” an article elsewhere in this edition quotes Kokorwe as saying.

Parliament’s February sitting also came to an end prematurely, after legislators again failed to form a quorum.

Whatever their reason, there should not be a question of the priority National Assembly business takes over any other competing agenda a legislator has.

Given the gusto with which they ran their campaigns in 2014, it is bizarre that legislators then have to be kraaled into the assembly and be further herded back after every break.

This behaviour speaks to the entitlement stupor that engulfs legislators once they taste the seats of the National Assembly and it is worrying that this is happening – for some – less than a year into their parliamentary debuts.

As Kokorwe noted, it has become the norm that MPs clock in for the business of the day then disappear after the first break.

Many spend their mid-afternoons milling about the grounds of the National Assembly chatting in groups, in the recreational facilities available or even completely away from Parliament business.

Recognising that the National Assembly is, according to the constitution, the main avenue for democratic expression by Batswana into governing laws and policies, we call upon all parties in Parliament to introspect on this habit.

Chief whips and party presidents, assuming they are not also contaminated, should crack their members into line, if only for the maintenance of a semblance of national responsibility and or pride.

Those MPs who have priorities over and above the legislature, should feel free to vacate their seats.

Taxpayers would happily fund another by-election than have an absentee representative in the House.

Today’s thought

“Re tshwanetse go gakologelwa maikano a lo a dirileng le batho.”


– Gladys  Kokorwe

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