Elections date hot topic in Parly

Botswana Parliament. PIC MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Botswana Parliament. PIC MORERI SEJAKGOMO

Parliament is in turmoil over the Constitution Amendment Bill No 4 after Member of Parliament (MP) for Maun East Goretse Kekgonegile tabled a clause that a date be set for the general elections.

Opposition MPs complained that it is quite concerning and unfortunate that to date, people do not have the actual date as to when they will head to the polls. Following that, Kekgonegile tabled a clause suggesting that may the date be gazetted that elections will be held after every five years on October without it solely be left to the President to decide when the elections will be held. “We would like clause 21 to be amended so that section 90 (4) can read as; for the purposes of subsection (3), the President may subject to the provisions of any Act of Parliament and after consultation with the secretary to the electoral commission appoint the date for the general election in October following dissolution of Parliament,” Kekgonegile pointed out. He argued that it is really imperative to implement a plan i which the elections can be free and fair which equates with what democracy stands for as a whole. “It is really important as it helps in balancing the playing field, so that everyone can know when exactly the elections will be held instead of depending on the President and electoral commission,” he argued.

Other MPs rallied behind Kekgonegile’s move for the date to be set from the opposition while MPs from the ruling party expressed different sentiments. Leader of Opposition (LoO) Dithapelo Keorapetse seconded Kekgonegile citing that the suggestion is of great importance as it has been thoroughly explained by the mover. “I agree with this and we can benchmark in countries like the United States of America (USA) how they run elections. America has clear indication that elections will always be the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. This is what Kekgonegile speaks for,” Keorapetse said. Wynter Mmolotsi also rallied behind Kekgonegile’s motion and even suggested that the date maybe set for the last Saturday of October after every five years. BCP president Dumelang Saleshando was also in agreement with what other legislators from the opposition side.

However, Saleshando suggested that may the date be moved from Saturday to Monday in the last week of October. But MPs from the ruling party made a bold claim that the opposition Mps were just waiting their time over something they will never agree to. “We will never agree to this agree to this amendment clause and may we please save the house some time because this is something that we will agree to,” Kabo Morwaeng said. Morwaeng argued that it is a common practice in Botswana, elections are always held in October after every five years. Upon hearing what Morwaeng had said, Saleshando highlighted that they are not surprised by Morwaeng. “We are used to the ruling party saying no to everything coming from opposition, so I will not respond to what he said,” Saleshando said.

Editor's Comment
Women in Politics caucus NGO, a welcome development

In the 2014 General Election, women who stood for parliamentary elections were a mere 17 out of a total of 192 aspirants, and sadly the number dropped to 11 out of 210 parliamentary aspirants in the 2019 General Election. Hopefully, registration of the Women in Politics Caucus will give women the necessary support to join politics. While things were slowly improving, women for a long time were at the receiving end as compared to their male...

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