FRANCISTOWN: Member of Parliament (MP) for Francistown West, Ignatius Moswaane has directly pleaded with President Mokgweetsi Masisi not take disciplinary action against him.
Moswaane’s plea contained in a letter dated August 28, came just a day after the Minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services, Kefentse Mzwinila formally appealed to the party leadership to sternly discipline the former.
Mzwinila said that Moswaane deserved to be disciplined in relation to his statements in various platforms with specific reference to the controversy-ridden P900 million Masama-Mmamashia Water tender.
The tender was turned down by Parliament citing irregularities. Some in the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) were accused of conniving with opposition members by voting against the implementation of the Masama-Mmamashia Water tender project awarded to Khato Civils.
Moswaane was very vocal against the awarding of the tender, an issue that reportedly irked some high ranking BDP members who wanted the project to be approved by Parliament.
As a result, there is a swelling opinion that the BDP intends to suspend Moswaane for his statements about the water project.
Should the development come to pass, it would mean that Moswaane would be replaced as BDP candidate for the 2019 general elections.
There are strong reports that Moswaane intends to go independent should he be suspended from the ruling party.
In his plea, Moswaane said that Masisi should turn down Mzwinila’s appeal for disciplinary action against him as the move might tarnish the image of the party.
He added: “Please be advised that according to the powers and privileges act, MPs are immune to prosecution (of any form) for statements uttered whilst in the National Assembly. Therefore, Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) as the ruling party has to abide by the rule of law by following the above mentioned act.”
He also “humbly” requested Masisi to “reject Hon Mzwinila’s appeal for disciplinary action against myself as it may bring the party name into disrepute and that it might open a can of worms”.
Moswaane emphasised that being a member of the Finance and Estimates Committee he is mandated to assess, examine witnesses and to recommend for approval or rejection of funds in relation to various government products.
He maintained that he did nothing wrong as he was only presenting the findings and resolutions of the committee in relation to the Masama-Mmamashia project as stated in the report. He said that it was up to Parliament to approve or reject the project based on the findings of the committee.
Moswaane added: “I have never brought the name of the party into disrepute (in relation to the Masama project)”. Through the letter, Moswaane accused Mzwinila of failing the nation by not ensuring the timely implementation of the Masama-MmaMashia water project, which he alleged was to cost the government P1.8 billion.
The P1.8 billion project is the alternative to the P900 million project and is the one preferred by legislators. The Francistown West MP said that the (P1.8 billion) project was the appropriate one that can effectively solve water shortages in the southern part of the country. In the two-page letter, Moswaane accused Mzwinila of misleading Masisi by saying that the P900 million Masama-Mmamashia project was not connected to North South Career Scheme 1(NSCI) water project. He said that during a site visit, it was discovered that indeed the Masama -Mmamashia project was linked to the NSCI.
In his complaint letter to the BDP secretary general,, Mzwinila had maintained that the P900 million Masama-Mmamashia water project was a matter of strategic national importance and symbolised the BDP’s commitment to national development. He said Moswaane was one of those who played a leading role in ensuring that Parliament voted against the project.
Mzwinila said by doing so the Francistown West legislator defied the guidance of the party, national leadership, Cabinet directive, and caucus resolutions.
The minister also accused Moswaane of insulting his integrity by insinuating that he might be involved in corruption, which is why he (Mzwinila) was hellbent on the implementation of the Masama-Mmamashia project.
Mzwinila said: “Moswaane cast aspersions about my provision of proper counsel to the President and vilifying me as deliberately misleading the party president, Cabinet, Caucus and the nation. He brought the reputation of the party into disrepute.” Mzwinila concluded his letter by stating that Moswaane denied the nation and the party a strategic and emergency resolution to the urgent and present water supply challenge.
BDP executive secretary, Ame Makoba said that “for confidentiality reasons” he could not discuss Moswaane’s letter. Moswaane declined to comment in relation to a letter he wrote to the President.