Backbench Members of Parliament (MPs) from both the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and Opposition parties have up until the end of December to have vacated their institutional houses provided by Parliament, The Patriot on Sunday has established.
A letter seen by this publication written on 4th December 2023 titled “VACATION OF PARLIAMENT FLATS FOR RENOVATION” stated that at the General Assembly held on 28th November 2023, MPs were informed of the granted approval for members to vacate the flats by 31st December 2023. The letter said the MPs will be paid a monthly allowance amounting to P11 250.00.
“Members of Parliament (the back bench) will be given an initial amount of P22 500.00 which compromise security deposit and rental for the month of January 2024. The security deposit is payable upon dissolution of Parliament,’’ reads the letter.
The letter further noted that MPs will be loaned furniture that they are currently using returnable upon dissolution of Parliament. Further, a monitored security alarm will be installed for each MPs rented house.
The BDP Chief Whip Liakat Kablay confirmed this development in an interview, saying there has been correspondence to that effect. He stated that government wants to do maintenance on the flats to address the drainage system and ceiling leakages.
Kablay further outlined that preparations are being done for MPs who will occupy the houses in 2024. According to the Letlhakeng-Lephephe MP, the last time government used a lot of money when MPs stayed in Avani Gaborone Resort & Casino upon renovation of the flats.
In 2020, Government was accused of blowing P6.2 million for MPs accommodation whilst their flats were being refurbished.
“So today, government will help with money for every MP to go and rent a house for eight months before Parliament is dissolved,” he said.
However, according to some MPs, this decision was imposed on them without prior consultation. Information gathered by this publication is that a complaint has been previously raised against MPs refusal to vacate houses once Parliament sessions end. Sources said government complained of incurring more costs to maintain MPs.
“Ideally, it is assumed that when Parliament is dissolved in August we should automatically vacate and come in for the November session. The assumption is that when Parliament is not sitting MPs should not benefit from it,” said a source within Parliament.
According to sources, MPs seem to be punished for the previous parliamentarians’ transgressions. MPs stated that MPs who are also cabinet ministers will not be affected because they have green books. Further, some back benchers expressed worry on why they had to be pushed out when their term of office is almost over.
“We are being facilitated to get out of the flats by hook or crook,” the source added.
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