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Defiance could land Moatlhodi in hot soup

TSAONE BASIMANEBOTLHE
Moatlhodi PIC: PHATSIMO KAPENG
The Member of Parliament for Tonota Constituency Pono Moatlhodi might find himself in hot soup if he continues to go against his party, the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) caucuses.

This is not the first time the legislator has openly attacked his party in the public. 

 Last week, the legislator made it clear that he will not be part of his party’s decision not to participate in the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) Committee.

 “It’s [an] unfortunate situation that the party finds itself in. It has to be clear to all members that the party caucuses are binding and if one keeps on doing this that, serious measures might be taken against him or her. I will not comment on this issue because it is an internal matter and is being handled by the party leadership. Rre Moatlhodi is an elder in the party. He knows better and the procedure he must take or do if he feels aggrieved by something,” Botswana National Front (BNF) spokesperson Justin Hunyepa said.

However, Mmegi has learnt that the party leadership has met Moatlhodi together with his constituents in order to iron out some issues and also to ask him to stop attacking the party in public.

According to a source, failure by Moatlhodi to obey caucus resolutions might lead him to be suspended from the party. 

 Recently Moatlhodi attacked the Leader of the Opposition, Dumelang Saleshando through different local newspaper reports for suspending him as the opposition chief whip for allegedly beating up a boy for stealing a mango.

His party wants him to clear his name first at court and he will still be a chief whip once the matter is over.

Since his suspension on the position of chief whip in Parliament, Moatlhodi seems to have developed aversion to any decision his party makes.

Moatlhodi’s contention is failure by his party to invite him to a caucus when they want to make crucial decisions or to inform him first before a final decision is made.    

However, the political analyst Keaoleboga Dipogiso said the first thing to reckon is that the UDC is attempting to manoeuvre the terrains of political power for quick convenience, hence the decision to boycott the DIS Committee.

“One needs to understand

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that the new relationship between former president Ian Khama and UDC has serious implications for UDC as an alternative government. Remember, former president Khama formed the DIS 12 years ago amidst inter-party resistance and nation-wide anxiety,” Dipogiso said.

He added that a good portion of the fears became realities that traumatised Khama political opponents, within and outside BDP. Such controversies and notorieties are well recorded. 

“Additionally, the public domain has been awash with stories of financial transactions that bordered on personal aggrandisement and abuse of power by Khama’s personal circle of allies. The opposition cursed the DIS and accused it of reversing the gains of democracy. There is scholarly work on this as well about human rights abuses that occurred under the pretext of intelligence and national security.”

He said the nation lived in fear but due to the nature of secrecy of its covert and other operations, the DIS remains gravid with an assortment of controversies even today.

“Its image is battered beyond redemption and no one is certain if there are attempts to rehabilitate it.” 

Dipogiso said he public expects the UDC MPs with their institutional power to represent an alternative voice in the various government statecraft and for example, the UDC to particularly call for an intensive audit of the DIS, particularly to arraign culprits of maladministration and human rights abuses and to call them to account. He said one of the oversight roles of that committee is to ensure the DIS operational roles are audited for propriety, corrective action and relevance.  

Still on the matter, the political analyst said boycotting the committee is another way of protecting Khama, veiled in frivolous excuses and rhetoric.

“The voice of the UDC on principles of governance should never be stunted by the pursuit for political power. Neither should opposition abdicate a sacrosanct responsibility to call for accountability on account that it will compromise their new relationship with ringleaders of maladministration and abuse of power.”

He said UDC seriously hampered the focus and reduced itself to an organisation without direction.



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