More drama in Parliament


Just days after explosive events in Parliament when the Leader of Opposition Duma Boko and education minister Unity Dow clashed, the National Assembly session yesterday had to be adjourned again to let heads cool.

Following an address by the acting minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration Phillip Makgalemele on shoddy customer service in the public sector, the MP for Gaborone North, Haskins Nkaigwa accused some Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) members of corruption. He said ruling party members were the only ones getting government tenders.

Although he apologised after the assistant minister of Local Government and Rural Development Botlogile Tshireletso interjected and asked him to do so as he had no evidence to substantiate his allegations, Nkaigwa turned around and accused her of stealing river sand. It was at this point that exchanges were made, and Parliament was forced to adjourn as the MPs were called to general assembly where they took 30 minutes.

After a private meeting of select MPs, Parliament resumed and Nkaigwa apologised.

“I withdraw all the remarks that I made about the assistant minister Tshireletso and I asked this House that those remarks be removed from Hansard,” said the Umbrella of Democratic Change (UDC) legislature.

A teary Tshireletso accepted the apology. The drama comes just two days after a major blow-up between the main opposition, UDC and the ruling party ministers.

On Tuesday, Boko, who is also the UDC president and MP for Gaborone Bonnington North, stood on a point of order as Dow was addressing Parliament and demanded that he be given a chance to respond to her personal attack on him on Monday. As he was about to launch his promised missive, the Speaker of Parliament adjourned Parliament and called the general assembly with a select group of elders to reconcile the duo.

Before the drama yesterday, Makgalemele told the House that customer service remains a concern to the government.

“We continue to come up with ways of improving service delivery to our communities. Our processes and systems must be informed by what our customers require of us,” he said.

The acting minister stated that the ministry had come with the 10-point agenda as a way of building a new culture within the public service.  The 10-point agenda of government include being respectful to customers; treating complaints as useful feedback; maintaining professionalism at all times; providing a welcoming environment to customers; maintaining zero tolerance for corruption; and adhere to service standards that have been set for the different services among others.

Makgalemele pointed out that the effectiveness of this pledge would depend largely on the response they get from the public members.

“Overall, the uptake by ministries and independent departments is still very low. The success of the survey is dependent upon getting as many people as possible to provide feedback on their experiences.”

Editor's Comment
Botswana needs proper rehabilitation centres

Our sister publication The Monitor earlier this week carried a story on serious human rights abuses being meted on people who have gone for rehabilitation at a boot camp in Kgatleng. Allegations cite verbal and physical abuses, children being stripped of their dignity and shaved in front of others. While the abuse came to light after a suicide incident of a 23-year-old, Botswana Institute for Reintegration and Rehabilitation of Offenders’...

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