Ramogapi describes current BDP as the weakest ever
BDP MPs are cowards & rubber stampers – MP Lesedi
Morwaeng refuse to comment on screening of motions
There is growing concern about the tendency by Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) MPs to reject motions from their opposition colleagues without putting reasonable debate but relying on numerical advantage.
Opposition MPs are saying they will not be taken down by the level of arrogance that has been shown by BDP in the current winter Parliament session, describing them as hypocrites. The legislators are also worried by a plan that motions be screened before reaching parliament.
In an interview, MP for Palapye Onneetse Ramogapi said the current crop of BDP legislators are very weak in debates. He said the conduct by Leader of the House and vice president Slumber Tsogwane and the minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Kabo Morwaeng is disappointing. “It is a disgrace for the two to be turning parliament into a circus. It is not a good development for the two to be recommending that motions and questions be screened before coming to the house. This shows how the BDP is weak and cannot withstand pressure from opposition,” he said.
According to Ramogapi, the BDP of today differs from that of former president Festus Mogae and Ian Khama pointing out that motions from opposition back then were given a consideration.
Ramogapi says that motions by former MPs Nehemiah Modubule and Robert Molefhabangwe were adopted by parliament with BDP MPs then understanding importance of parliament to the nation.
What is happening today, he said, that it is like the BDP thinks that it possesses the wisdom that is like of the biblical King Solomon by never giving them a chance but abuses its numerical strength.
“This week there was an important tobacco bill that became before a parliament and the BDP caucus resolved to rush to pass the bill when there was the loopholes identified connected to it. It was very wrong for the bill to be passed by parliament when the vital stakeholders being the tobacco industry was left out on promulgation of the law. This law just like others will backfire,’’ said Ramogapi, who is the chairman of parley committee on Finance, Trade and Economic Development.
For his part, MP for Serowe South Leepetswe Lesedi said that BDP weakens quality of legislations.
Lesedi said that it is very disturbing for BDP MPs to always quash out opposition ideas just for the sake of good motions or bills being coming from them stressing that this is worst BDP ever.
“It is becoming clear that our counterparts are not serving in the best interests of the voters but that of the party. What is surprising is that BDP cannot support the motion from our side but at later stage they will come up with the motion twisted and then own demanding us that we give it a support and we will do so taking into consideration the good that it bring to voters,” he said.
Furthermore, Leepetswe stated that it will be the end of the democracy if the alleged screening motions or order paper by command of minister representing Office of the President Morwaeng.
If this is anything to go by, Leepetswe said that it will be an attempt to frustrate the opposition.
“None of the BDP MPs can debate genuinely because they have turned themselves into being the rubber stampers of cabinet proposals whether they are carrying any significance or not towards the voters. If their intention is to frustrate us, they are directly affecting their own voters,” said Lesedi.
Contacted for comment late Friday, Morwaeng said declined to comment on allegations that he has been instructed to ensure that the motions are screened before reaching the parliament floor.
Declaration of Assets
Furthermore, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) MP for Palapye Ramogapi said that the declaration of assets and liabilities bill is another law that was passed with lot of confusion on it.
He said it is unreasonable for the government to bring forward the law meant for dealing with corruption but on the hand people who will whistleblowers will be sued for disclosing information.
“We advised for the amendments to be made on the clause anyone who will unlawfully disclose information on the declared assets and liabilities and found guilty will be sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of P500 000. How can the law guard against corruption when it is also instilling fear on people to report corruption with ridiculous penalties? Ramogapi asked rhetorically.
The law, he said, it will be only serving the interests of the corrupt elites in the echelons of power.
Parliament passed the declaration of assets and liabitilities bill proposed by minister Morwaeng.
The law first emerged in 2019 and was heavily supported by President Mokgweetsi Masisi who stated that it will be crucial in fighting corruption which he says it is one of key priorities for his government.