Tonota MP Thapelo Olopeng had this week faced a baptism of fire from some MPs led by Gaborone North MP Haskins Nkaigwa over his educational qualifications, with the MPs questioning his ability to lead the ministry of tertiary education.
Nkaigwa on Friday blasted the government and most particularly President Mokgweetsi Masisi for giving the ministerial portfolio of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology to Olopeng.
Nkaigwa made the remarks when responding to a question thrown to Olopeng by Gaborone Central MP Dr Phenyo Butale, who had wanted the minister to appraise parliament on plans to revise tertiary student’s allowances.
Sending the Parliament into a fit of laughter, he said Olopeng has never entered a university gate; hence he wondered what made Masisi give the tertiary education ministry to him, adding that at least his assistant minister Fidelis Molao was way better.
“I am worried because honourable minister on several occasions seems to be clueless on subject matters that he is brought to task on. It is not a mistake because he clearly never went to the university; that is why he is so dull in issues affecting the tertiary education students. I think honourable Molao should lead this ministry,” Nkaigwa said blasting Olopeng.
Nkaigwa said he has observed that in many instances, assistant minister Molao on many occasions comes to the rescue of Olopeng whenever there is any question asked on the floor with regards to tertiary education.
Olopeng, Nkaigwa exchange jabs
When responding to Nkaigwa, Olopeng said he was talking out of bitterness and noting that he (Nkaigwa) doesn’t know his background so he must stop uttering nonsense about him.
“Mr Speaker kopa o reye mosimanyana yo a lese go nkgakgaalela gake mo itse. Ga nkitse selo se sereng ke moruti mme ale maaka (tell this small boy to stop insulting me because I don’t know him. He claims to be a pastor but he is such a liar). He has serious scandals that of which I can say here he will be ashamed of himself,” charged Olopeng, losing his cool.
Nkaigwa, who also hit back, could not mince his words on challenging Olopeng’s education qualifications.
“Tona Olopeng kana nna my point is clear. Kare ga wa rutega ebile gao kitla o rutega. Motlotlegi dingwaga di kgabagantse motsadi go ile fela jalo ka wena (Minister Olopeng my point is just clear that you are not educated and you will never be educated. You have grown old and time is not on your side. So forget about being ever get educated one day,” Nkaigwa said.
Olopeng further grilled
Mogoditshane MP Sedirwa Kgoroba, who asked Olopeng to control his temper, said he should not be defensive when he is failing to address the problems facing the ministry he leads.
“Olopeng, if you have never gone to university is not a problem. You must admit that before you get tempted into faking qualifications. Yes, I can really also tell you haven’t gone to the university because of how dull you are when it comes to articulating issues that Parliament asks you pertaining to tertiary education, “said Kgoroba.
Kgoroba had also asked Olopeng not to think he is the only minister who is not educated within the BDP, saying that the majority of ministers and BDP legislators have never got to universities.
BDP’s Maun East MP Konstaninos Markus defended himself, saying that he did his university studies in Zimbabwe; saying some MPs such as Kgoroba maybe are the baboons who also not entered through the university gate, sending parliament into laughter as well.
Assistant Minister Molao said the ministry was not in a position to further increase the student living allowances from the recent increments, citing budgetary constraints at the moment.
He said the living allowances were last reviewed in 2018 and the current rates which effected on 1st July 2018 are as follows; off-campus students paid P1 620 per month while the on-campus students are being paid P1 308. 40 per month.