Last Friday, the National Assembly ended its Budget Meeting of the second Meeting of the fifth Session of the 11th Parliament that started on February 4, 2019.
It has been announced that during the meeting, nine government Bills were received, eight of which were passed by Parliament, and one withdrawn. Three Private Members’ Bills were received, one of which was passed and the debate on the Second Reading of one was adjourned, while the other one was rejected.
Twenty Private Members’ Motions were received during the meeting, two of which were adopted by Parliament and two rejected.
However, one has to state that there was nothing honourable about the House and the Members, who the better part seemed to care less about continuing with the day’s business.
Many had turned the House into their playground or social club where they go to pass time. They are never serious except only recently when they debated a Bill to increase their own salaries.
Parliament starts at 2pm on Monday until Thursday and starts at 9am Friday until 12 noon. This translates to working less than four hours daily, but with breaks in between.
Our legislators hardly exhausted the allocated time as they ensured the quorum collapsed all the time. For those of us who attended Parliament, it was almost a norm that at 4pm the House would adjourn because there would be no quorum.
While the perennial absentees tried this term to attend Parliament, they would go inside, be pointed at to debate and leave immediately after they have debated in the process collapsing the quorum. Others would come
This kind of behaviour can only be expected from kindergarten children, but our MPs mostly behave like them. When they are in Parliament, they totally forget about the people who sent them there, the voters.
On other occasions, Cabinet ministers would deliberately mislead the House and get away with it. They are often dismissive during debates.
For someone who says they deserve more than P500 a day for attending Parliament, then this cannot be acceptable. Of course, there were MPs who performed better and wanted what is good for the nation, but most of them performed below par. To be honest and realistic, nothing good came out of this second Meeting of the Fifth Session of the 11th Parliament.
We therefore call on our legislators to introspect during this recess and come back hungry to serve Batswana and enact laws that will make Botswana a better place for its citizens.
“Parliament’s job is to conduct discussions. But many a time, Parliament is used to ignore issues, and in such situations, obstruction of Parliament is in the favour of democracy. Therefore, parliamentary obstruction is not undemocratic.”