BDP romps all over media

Staff Writer
The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) went on the rampage this week forcing its will on Members of Parliament by limiting their contributions to Parliament debates to only 15 minutes.

After passing five bills during this madness, they were again forced to pass the Media Practitioners' Bill without debate yesterday. 

Just after Minister for Communications, Science and Technology, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi finished presenting the bill, the floor was open for debate.  MP for Mogoditshane, Patrick Masimolole, took the floor and moved against the debate saying the bill was debated in the winter meeting of the House.

The vote favoured debunking further debate.
MP for Lobatse, Nehemiah Modubule, tried to call for the debate to continue but his plea was overwhelmned by the weight of BDP numbers.

The Speaker called for an end to the debate and in celebration, Venson-Moitoi announced that the bill will go to committee stage.

odubule then walked out of the House.  Outside, he said in an interview that he was shocked at what has become of the National Assembly.  He said he has lost confidence in the Speaker because the BDP was controlling him like he was not independent.  He lamented the speed at which laws were being made.

Since Tuesday, Parliament has passed six bills; the Public Service Bill, Road Traffic Amendment Bill, Veterinary Surgeons Bill, Diseases

of Animals Amendment Bill, Architects Registration Bill, Engineers Registration Bill and the Media Practitioners' Bill.

"These laws are going to affect people and what are we going to say to them, rubber-stamping what the government wants?  Our democracy has gone to the dogs," he charged.

He said that he preferred to stay outside Parliament rather than endorse a process in which there was no debate. 

He accused the Speaker of the National Assembly, Patrick Balopi, of sitting on the reviewed standing orders of Parliament to advance the ruling parties' tactics.

"We no longer have Parliament in Botswana.  Not anymore.  There is no need for elections in a situation like this," Modubule lamented.

Presenting her bill, Venson-Moitoi said that its main objective was to establish a media council which will monitor the activities of the media and ensure the maintenance of high professional standards, and provide for the registration and accreditation of resident media practitioners.

She once again accused the media of refusing to meet her for consultations.
The minister said government will go ahead and establish a press council to the exclusion of the existing one.



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