A joint caucus by opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) have decided to sue the Speaker of the National Assembly, Phandu Skelemani and the Attorney General over unlawful composition of Parliamentary Committees.
On Friday morning opposition MPs stormed out of Parliament in protest after acting Speaker, Pono Moatlhodi, convened a meeting to announce that Parliamentary committees have been constituted without the involvement of opposition legislators.
Acting Leader of the Opposition, David Tshere said they have instructed their lawyers to launch a lawsuit against Parliament and the Speaker to nullify the decision. He said upon adoption of a motion to dissolve Parliamentary Committees last year it was agreed that the committees will be constituted three days later. However, that was not to be until eight months later when Moatlhodi made the sudden announcement.
Tshere said they never expected Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) MPs would unilaterally constitute the committees without the participation of opposition MPs as granted in Parliament statutes. He said they were shocked to see Tumisang Healey-MP for Gaborone Central making a presentation in Parliament purporting to be the Chairman of The new Finance Committee.
MP for Francistown West, Ignatius Moswaane reiterated that the behaviour displayed by the ruling BDP on the floor of Parliament is that of sheer arrogance and disregard for pertinent issues. He said it was procedurally wrong for the BDP to want to dominate given that its backbench outnumbers the opposition caucus.
“Our expertise is supposed to be utilised in committees. They figured that our expertise was exposing them so they changed so as to hold a majority and even proceed in our absence,” said Tshere, adding that prior to the dissolution of committees, about 13/14 were chaired by opposition MPs.
According to opposition MPs, the deputy Speaker Pono Moatlhodi is completely irrational and out of order to allow BDP MPs to abuse Parliament processes for selfish interests.
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