Following his suspension from Parliament, the Leader of Opposition (LOO), Dumelang Saleshando has instructed his attorney Martin Dingake to institute legal proceedings against the Attorney General, and the Speaker of the National Assembly, Phandu Skelemani through an urgent application.
According to court papers, Dingake wants his client’s matter to be heard urgently failing which the envisaged application for review would be rendered academic.
Dingake wants the court to issue an order restraining and interdicting the respondents from suspending Saleshando from sitting in the National Assembly pending the review proceedings intended to be launched against the respondent in respect to their decision to suspend him.
Dingake also wants an order restraining and interdicting anyone acting for and/or under their authority from executing the decision of the respondents from suspending Saleshando from sitting and participating in the National Assembly proceedings.
Saleshando, the Maun West legislator, has also instructed his lawyers to seek an order permitting and entitling him to sit and participate in the proceedings to be launched against the respondents. He also wants respondents to pay cost of suit.
Saleshando was on Tuesday last week suspended from participating in the National Assembly for a week, following a vote by Members of Parliament subsequent to a ruling by Skelemani. Skelemani had on Monday told the house that he was not satisfied with the evidence Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) vice president had presented before him to substantiate allegations of corrupt practice in the process of the awarding of government tenders and urged the LOO to withdraw the claims.
This issue started during the emergency meeting of Parliament in April, when Saleshando alleged
Saleshando refused to withdraw the corruption claims, and on Tuesday his attempts to provide more evidence were quashed by Skelemani who then invoked Section 60 of the Standing Orders of Parliament, which empowers the Speaker to name a member who has committed the offence of disregarding the Speaker’s authority, then calling upon chief whip Liakat Kablay to move for the suspension of the offending member from the National Assembly.
Saleshando argues that the Speaker tabled the motion to have him suspended without indicating what further proof was necessary. He states that this makes Skelemani’s move unconstitutional to the extent that it infringed on his freedom of expression and protection of the law.
Addressing the media on Wednesday alongside opposition legislators who had boycotted Parliament for the day in solidarity with him, Saleshando said freedom of speech and freedom of expression is critical for a legislator.
“The Speaker wants to escalate himself to a level of a judge by prescribing what evidence is to be brought to Parliament. He rejected the evidence I brought to him on Tuesday after he failed to state what kind of evidence he wanted,” Saleshando said.