The 3rd Meeting of the 1st Session of Parliament came to an end on Friday. Apart from the rough start on the first day of the sitting in July where some opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) were manhandled by parliament security and one literally thrown out, there has not been much happenings, both in terms of the depth and relevance of some questions as well as the seriousness of the answers given. In a nutshell, the just ended sitting was unimpressive and while some MPs engaged in the questions and debates, there were some who remained aloof and did not participate. Staff Writer QUEEN MOSARWE, assesses the MPs performance on a three point scale of; the vocal, the silent and trying but needs to improve.
The Firebrands (in no particular order)
A regular attendee at parliament, the Botswana Congress Party Selibe Phikwe West legislator is amongst the few well rounded MPs. His questions and comments are usually well researched and his consistent contribution to debates and questions keeps the name of his party alive.
The Botswana Democratic Party Francistown West MP speaks his mind and would not be bothered whether his contribution is in line with what his party caucus or not.
Like Keorapetse, the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) MP is well rounded, his questions portray thorough research. He asks the kind of questions that usually catch the responders off guard.
Major General Pius Mokgware
The Gabane-Mmankgodi UDC member and former Botswana Defence Force Commander of Ground Forces spends his time awake and attentive. Although at first he asked questions related to his former employer, it was only towards the end of this past short session that he asked questions directed to the needs of his constituency.
Give her any issue relating to women and she will gladly take off her BDP hat and put on that of a feminist. She is very vocal and a true advocate for women and people at grassroots level. Recently, when Leader of Opposition, Duma Boko debated on the National Gender and Development Policy, she put political allegiances aside and concurred with him saying; “Credit ought to be given where its due regardless of party affiliation.”
There are many in parliament and these are MPs who once in a while and on very few occasions would engage and make a contributions.
He is your typical “I am only here to represent my constituents” type of MP – The BDP Boteti East MP asks questions for his constituents and there are usually on education. Although the questions are the usual “ how many teachers are at this school etc?” his voice is still there. Hope is that when parliament resumes in November, he would have a variety in his line of questioning and perhaps from time to time ask on issues of national interest that will benefit all Batswana.
Seldom in parliament but on days that he attends and speaks, he commands audience and always has a flowery answer to any question posed to his statement. If he was to contribute more often, he would teach his colleagues across all parties a thing or two on the importance of being eloquent and being knowledgeable . However, Boko has been a disappointment to many who thought he would bring his vigour and shake things up when in parliament.
He has his days, but on days when he is off form, one can actually forget he is a member of the house. It would seem he needs an induction in being succinct when debating his points. Most of the time he gets all over and nowhere with his arguments and that makes it hard to understand the point he tries to get across. Like Lelatisitswe, the Nata-Gweta MP needs to ask questions with depth.
A regular too but quiet and on days when he stands up to speak, he commands so much attention and when he speaks other MPs would not have questions for him afterwards. His humility and depth of his statements can be likened to that of former BCP MP, Gilson Saleshando. The Gaborone Bonnington South MP is knowledgeable especially on issues of finance and economy.
She tries too hard not to be forgotten, but at times when she contributes its either to support what another BDP would have said , crushes those on the opposition bench or she is just irrelevant.
Other MPs in this category are Dr Phenyo Butale of Gaborone Central and Haskins Nkaigwa of Gaborone North.
These are the ones one wonders why they really are in parliament. Their silence is deafening. Ministers are here too because apart from reading out answers and making statements, they seldom contribute to debates especially in the instance where the motion debated is of a different ministry. As for ordinary MPs who are silent, they will not be missed when they leave. They are many and they include,
France van der Westhuizen – Kgalagadi South
Machana Shamukani- Chobe
Buti Billy- Francistown East
Patrick Ralotsia-Kanye North
Itumeleng Moipisi-Kgalagadi North
Vincent Seretse -Lentsweletau-Mmopane
Edwin Batshu – Nkange
Guma Moyo-Tati East
Kostantinos Markus-Maun East
Kefentse Mzwinila- Mmadinare
Tlamelo Mmatli-Molepolole South
Mohamed Khan- Molepolole North
Isaac Davids- Mochudi East
Abram Kesupile-Kanye South