Botswana Congress Party (BCP) Members of Parliament say they will oppose the proposed bill which seeks to increase the number of Specially-Elected Members of Parliament from four to six, Ministers from 8 to 10 and ministers from 16 to 18.
BCP spokesperson Dithapelo Keorapetse says they will oppose the bill, as they perceive the increase as a way for the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) to dispense patronage to its operatives and establish loyalists. “ The BCP is of the view that Batswana are faced with numerous problems which have got nothing to do with parliament or cabinet size,” he said. He argued that a lot of money will be used on the new positions which would have otherwise been put to good use. “Where is belt tightening?” he asked.
Keorapetse also said the move was undemocratic in that it dilutes the voice of opposition and the backbench in parliament since the executive dominated parliament, further proof that Botswana’s democracy was regressing. “More than 52 per cent of Batswana did not prefer the BDP at the 2014 polls and it’s wrong for it to have overly amplified presence in parliament against the will of the people.
Furthermore he said they will also oppose the Trade Dispute Bill which seeks to make almost all government workers essential services. “The Bill if passed , will circumvent the right to withdraw labour by the workers, ” he said.
Expected to be discussed also is the Whistle Blowing bill which Keorapetse feels will be inadequate to address corruption and economic crime. “The law must be enacted alongside a comprehensive anti-corruption policy, laws of Insider Trading, Freedom of Information and Declaration of Assets, Interest and Liabilities amongst others.”
According to Keorapetse, the BCP will during the session address the crisis in the mining industry, corruption, economic crime and mismanagement, and will continue to demand accountability and transparency.
Seven bills are expected to be discussed in parliament during the winter session and in their priority include the Trade Dispute, Companies (Amendment) Bill, Whistle Blowing, Societies (Amendment) Bill, Constitution (Amendment) Bill, Ministerial Officers (Max No) (Amendment) Bill and Rome Statute of International Criminal Court.