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MPs peeved at constitutional review delay

The Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Kabo Morwaeng has assured parliament that government is committed to push for a comprehensive review of the country’s Constitution.

For a long time now, various quarters have called for the constitutional revision and the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) led government made a promise to the nation during 2019 general elections that once elected, it would review the Constitution.

But it is now 10 months since the general elections and nothing seems to have started regarding the constitutional review, prompting several questions from Members of Parliament (MPs) during last Friday’s Minister’s question time. 

The MPs wanted Morwaeng to explain to the House why it had taken long to start the review process if government was living up to its promise or has abandoned it?

 “Minister, prior to 2019 elections, Domkrag promised electorates in their  manifesto, a detailed comprehensive Constitutional review. But after elections, you have brought a Bill on Floor Crossing only. This law speaks to the Constitution. One would ask whether this is the comprehensive review that we were talking about or we want to do it piece-meal?” asked Gaborone Central MP Tumisang Healy.

Ngami MP Caterpillar Hikuama also wondered why it had taken government 10 months to set terms of reference for the review and to identify people for the process.

Baratiwa Mathoothe of Serowe North

asked why the minister chose

some sections of the Constitution whilst what they promised was a

comprehensive review.

The Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) legislator said government should move with speed to set up a Commission. He said the ruling party should not use COVID-19 as an excuse for not delivering on the promise.

In response, Morwaeng said the process to set up terms of reference and identify members of the Commission had already commenced. 

He stated that the process to review the Constitution would be determined by the outcome of the consultations with Batswana. He however, blamed the delay on a number of things such as the elections petitions and COVID-19 outbreak. 

“The Government envisages that such consultation will be undertaken through a Presidential Commission of Inquiry, which is been considered as we speak. The Government is committed to a review of the Constitution of Botswana,” Morwaeng said. 

MPs were not impressed by Morwaeng’s response that the COVID-19 has contributed to the delay in coming up with the process as they said some of the things such as setting up a Commission and terms of reference could have be done even while movement restrictions were still in force.


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