Parliament was forced to adjourn earlier than scheduled on Friday after legislators failed to form a quorum, apparently in protest at the rejection of debate on a motion to probe the Botswana National Youth Council (BNYC) for corruption.
Business at the National Assembly was forced to end at 11am, two hours ahead of schedule, after MPs left in a huff and failed to return.
Matters came to a head when Francistown West legislator, Ignatius Moswaane attempted to table a motion to probe the BNYC for corruption and irregular labour practices in the retrenchment of workers at the organisation. Deputy Speaker, Kagiso Molatlhegi said the motion could not be tabled, as it had not complied with the Standing Orders.
However, some MPs disagreed, with Moswaane alleging that “sabotage” was behind the failed bid to table the motion. The Francistown West legislator said he had followed the same procedure followed by other MPs in previous motions.
“I don’t know why my motion cannot be allowed to be presented to Parliament as an urgent matter. Jaanong golo kwano re dirwa gore e kare re rapela medimo ya disetwa. Ke tsile go buelelela batho eseng nna (It appears we are being asked to pray to idols. I’m here to represent people, not myself),” charged the MP who is known for his violent confrontations with council colleagues in Francistown where he was once a councilllor.
However, Molatlhegi stuck to his guns, saying the motion would not see the light of day unless proper procedures were followed.
“We advised you to follow the procedure of this house honourable member,” Molatlhegi said. Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi called on Moswaane to withdraw his comments and apologise to the Deputy Speaker.
“I want my colleague to withdraw his words because there are no idols here. Moswaane is out of order and I want him to be instructed to withdraw his words.
“I thought this issue was resolved when we met Moswaane in your office, but I am shocked that he has decided to bring it here again,” Masisi said.
Gaborone Central MP, Phenyo Butale asked the Deputy Speaker to explain exactly where Moswaane had gone wrong in bringing his motion to Parliament.
The issue was debated for 45 minutes with MPs demanding that Molatlhegi explain what transpired during the meeting in his office, as Moswaane appeared unsatisfied.
However, Molatlhegi said he was moving forward with the agenda of the day, resulting in some MPs leaving the National Assembly.