Modubule Scorns Window-Dressing For Women

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The MP for Lobatse, Nehemiah Modubule has rejected the motion by the MP for Mahalapye East, Botlogelo Tshireletso, which calls for increasing specially MPs from four to eight. According to the motion, half of the seats would be reserved for women.

Contributing to the motion on Friday, Modubule said special election that favours the ruling party is wrong.  He expressed concern about sentiments shared by some Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) MPs that they could only vote for their own members to become specially elected.

"We thought Tshireletso is concerned that women representation is lagging behind," he said, adding that it has always been tradition that specially elected MPs have been BDP members.

He said there has never been an opposition member who was made a specially elected MP. 

"We can't support a motion which is meant to cater for women who belong to a specific party.  It will be wrong to come up with such a motion," said the MP.

Modubule also spoke about the cost implications involved. 

"We want to create another financial burden for Batswana.  You could also be increasing BDP coffers since their MPs make a monthly contribution," he charged.

The Lobatse legislator does not see the need to amend the constitution so as to increase the number of specially elected MPs.  "In our view we should do away with the special election system.  We agree that women are politically disempowered but we are against the system she proposes," said Modubule, amid interjections from BDP MPs who jokingly asked about his party affiliation. 

Modubule was expelled from the Botswana National Front (BNF) but he insists that he is still a member.

Modubule prefers a long-term solution to cater for women. "I am concerned if we are going to amend the constitution to benefit temporarily but not looking at the long term.

We should change the electoral system since women could benefit more," he suggested.

"We should be asking ourselves why we need specially elected MPs.  We should consider the reasons and not only the numbers," argued Mpdubule.

Modubule said during the eighth session of Parliament, it was explained that specially elected MPs were needed for their skills.  He argued that this has never been the practice.

He said the BDP has always been suppressing women. Modubule believes that 'charity begins at home'.  He said political parties should start empowering women.  He noted that women are not able to contest for open elections. 

Modubule disputed that it was not true that male MPs do not champion the women's cause.  He said they have supported laws in parliament that protect women.

Earlier on, the MP for Molepolole North, Gaotlhaetse Matlhabaphiri, who is a veteran of the special election dispensation, made it clear that they would vote for BDP women to become specially elected.

"I will not support the appointment of an opposition member as specially elected," he vowed.

He likened voting for an opposition member to become specially elected MP, to putting a snake into your pocket.  "The snake will bite you," he chortled.

Vice President, Mompati Merafhe came out in support of Tshireletso's motion. "We have to do something to see that women are represented," he said.    

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