Opposition parties have complained in the past that Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) uses its numbers to upset even the best of their motions.
Assistant Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Botlogile Tshireletso on Friday told opposition members that they will never agree with them on anything because they disrespected Parliament processes by not voting during the endorsement of the Vice President (VP).
During the endorsement of VP Slumber Tsogwane last week, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) members were present in Parliament but did not put up their votes.
This defiance of Parliament process angered BDP parliamentarians. They vented out their frustration on Friday by shooting down a motion by Gantsi North legislator Noah Salakae that requested government to consider encouraging ‘well-off’ pensioners to forfeit their payout so the money can be used for other things.
Just before Salakae could present his motion, Tshireletso rose to tell them that they would not debate the motion.
“Do you seriously think you can come here and have us debate your motion when you shunned a democratic process of endorsing the VP? You had three options being yes, no and abstain on the ballot paper, but you chose to just sit there. That shows that we are not together in this House and I urge all my colleagues that we should never participate in anything brought by the opposition,” she said.
Minister of Local Goventrment and Rural Development and Serowe South MP, Pelonomi Venson- Moitoi also expressed her disappointment stating that the opposition did not respect Parliament and should be punished by those who sent them to represent them.
Minister of Youth Empowerement, Sport and Culture Development and Tonota MP, Thapelo Olopeng said opposition
Bobonong legislator and Defence, Justice and Security minister, Shaw Kgathi said action should be taken against opposition MPs as they undermined Parliament.
“We are not here to play. We might even need the court’s interpretation to determine whether what they did was not wrong. Further to that, Duma Boko said he was absent when the clerk was doing the roll call. It would be corruption if he got paid sitting allowance for the day,” he said.
However, the deputy Speaker Kagiso Molatlhegi said there was noting wrong in what the UDC did.
“There is nothing in the Standing Orders, nor even the laws of the country that they were in violation any law by not participating,” he said. It was only after Tsogwane called on the BDP members not to behave like the UDC and do what they came for in Parliament that the debate then got underway.
Opposition members supported the motion , stating that the government’s voice would help encourage people.
The BDP members shot down the motion saying it was populist and that people should be allowed to use their money as they wish and donate only if they wish to do so. Boko said there was nothing wrong in what they did as they were not engaged in electing Tsogwane.
“It is a BDP affair, their VP. Why should we interfere in their business, we just decided to let them finish what they started in peace,” he said.