Despite Cabinet having ministers, assistant ministers and the deputy speaker using official vehicles for constituency duty, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Phandu Skelemani has refused the Leader of Opposition (LoO), Dumelang Saleshando, the same.
While fellow legislators on constituency duty were afforded the privilege, Saleshando found he was denied similar right when he needed a vehicle for official business in Maun West constituency where he was to hold meetings. In a letter dated May 12, 2020 to Saleshando, Skelemani reminded the Maun West legislator to recall his request and their meeting on May 9, in the presence of the deputy clerk, Lesedi Gaolaolwe.
“After the meeting, I phoned to inform you that your request to use the official vehicle to go to your constituency was not approved,” Skelemani said.
He then tabulated issues that were put forward by the LoO.
Some of the issues submitted by Saleshando were that he had been allowed to use the vehicle during Parliament sessions and that all he had to do was to provide a schedule showing meetings he was going to address.
He also said Tonota MP, Pono Moatlhodi had said he used to use an official vehicle to go to his constituency meetings when he was a Deputy Speaker between 2009 and 2014 Parliament. Saleshando had also reasoned that he was paid the salary of the LoO when Parliament is adjourned sine die (with no appointed date for resumption) and wondered if it means
Giving reasons why he did not accede to Saleshando’s request, the Speaker indicated that the position of the LoO was a statutory matter laid down under Section 2 of the National Assembly (Salaries and Allowances) Act Cap 02:06.
“That same Act provides for payment of salary and allowances paid to the Leader of Opposition,” Skelemani said.
He added that the rest of the issues raised at the meeting did not appear to him to be germane to the question of the use of the official vehicle by the LoO at his constituency.
“The allowances given to ministers, assistant ministers, leader of opposition, Speaker and Deputy Speaker, which are not specified in the National Assembly (Salaries and Allowances) Act Cap 02:06 are determined by the President and published in the Green Book. The use of government vehicles is approved by the President and published at paragraph 30 of the Green Book. Such usage does not include the use of the official vehicle at your constituency. The usage is limited for all official duty (and family) in Gaborone.”