On Tuesday the Portfolio Committee on Government Assurances sent officials from the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism packing.
This followed failure by the Permanent Secretary, Dr Oduetse Koboto to appear before the Committee. Parliament had subpoenaed him to appear and update the Committee on the implementation of government assurances to Parliament. Koboto is said to have taken an emergency leave.
He then asked a Deputy Permanent Secretary to represent him who in turn decided to take another assignment sending a less senior officer to represent the Ministry.
All this was done without official communication to Parliament, a move that irked the Committee. The Portfolio Committee on Government Assurances chairperson, Dr Kesitegile Gobotswang said they should issue a fresh subpoena for Koboto to appear in person at a date and time to be determined.
This Committee’s mandate is to follow implementation of promises and undertakings made in Parliament from questions and motions. Other members are MPs Leepetswe Lesedi, Sam Brooks, Christian Greef, Thapelo Letsholo, Pono
According to Parliament of Botswana website, Parliamentary Committees are composed of Members of Parliament who are named or appointed by the House through the Committee of Selection which comprises of the Speaker, Leader of Opposition, Party Whips and an additional member, not being a Cabinet Minister.
The Committees’ mandates are to consider, inquire into, or deal with particular matters or Bills in greater detail.
They are miniature Parliaments with the same powers, immunities and privileges as the House itself. They are also a means to provide the public, civil society organisations and other stakeholders with the opportunity to access and make representations to the Assembly on certain matters.
Standing Order 98 to 125 provides in greater detail the classification, appointment and functions of committees including other procedural matters such as convening of first meetings and election of chairpersons were applicable.