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Order, Order Honourable Members

This week I watched our own parliament on TV.

Some very kind individual has decided that citizens of this country had finally earned the right to watch parliament proceedings on TV. This guy must have one day said to the citizenry ‘I am going to give you a warm, unsolicited hug to sort out your anger regarding the delay to air parliament on TV ’.

The usual BTV bleeps that we are now accustomed to were in full attendance and were competing favourably with the debates in the August house. You know the usual naming catastrophe like Nijel Amos – CEO of BDC, Yandani Boko – Land Overseer, Mosolotshane.  BTV bleeps are legendary. BTV has beautiful footwork in that area.  It’s almost as if it was choreographed on Broadway.

I am not a great analyst of parliament proceedings. My toolkit is at best limited. I am talking one screwdriver, a tape measure and some old rusty screws. But I was determined to make sense of what seemed at times nonsense. I only had my determination and a large slice of free time.

One observation I made right at the beginning was the very colourful names of the MPs. Some of the names are Honest, Caterpillar, Slumber, Chilliboy, Grief, Healy. Names that were perilously close to describing their owners! And then there are also MPs in CBD-type suits. You know, the slender type. Whenever, this type stands up in parliament to speak he will always work on that single button on the jacket. I don’t know if this constitutes one of the standing orders they keep referring to. The rule is something like: stand up, button the jacket or stand up, unbutton the jacket. Many MPs’ skills at debating are at best remedial. It got very comical when an overzealous MP stood up, gave his sermon, got baptised by his antagonists and left the National Assembly a hashtag. The fact that some MPs had made it this far is a triumph of the human spirit. Some could do the planet a favour by cutting down on spoken emissions and also perhaps help shore up the fight against COVID-19 – remember talking is one of the easiest ways to transmit COVID-19.

Another interesting thing

about parliament is homogeneity of view. No matter how absurd and implausible an MP’s suggestions are, his side of the camp will pretty much support him and give reasons to buttress the suggestions. Let us say an MP from one side of the aisle decides that the government should declare that teenage-hood should start at the age of nine years.

‘I stand here to support the motion that teenage-hood should start at nine years. Other countries have already adopted this and Batswana at home are looking at us and wondering why we are delaying to adopt this progressive move’ is one of the tragic episodes that might follow. On the other side of the aisle, however, a progressive motion like this will be shot down and a counter-suggestion like teenage-hood should start right at birth will be made.

However, my wrath was kept at bay by the Speaker. The Speaker seems to be special in parliament. He had a special wig that made him look like a white man. He seemed to have been adorned with special powers to cut everyone to size. As MPs bludgeoned their way through the fence that separated ‘point of order’ and ‘point of procedure’ the poor man had his hands full trying to reel in the MPs.

I want to be a Speaker of the National Assembly one day. However, I would not want to go through the usual snooze-o-matic process of being an MP, losing elections and then the party taking pity on me and giving me the white wig to whip MPs in line. That for me is too difficult. I just want to go to Speaker University and enrol in a Diploma in Parliament Speakership. Ok, my mind could let me down during the training, but I believe my determination to one day say ‘Order, order honourable MPs’ could trump my mental shortfalls.

As I was warming up to the circus that was unfolding, and as the clock chimed 4 o’clock that 547 year-old BTV signature song Mma mmee and that was the end. My entertainment vanished like my pay cheque during tax season. Poof!

(For comments, feedback and insults email

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