- The party leadership calls an emergency meeting to seek clarity
- BDP MPs rejected the motion during debates but failed to vote against it
The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) top brass is demanding answers on how the opposition’s motion on unemployment benefit stipend was successfully adopted in their presence, The Botswana Gazette has established.
Last week Parliament adopted the motion that was tabled by the Leader of Opposition (LOO) Dithapelo Keorapetse. Through the motion, Keorapetse wanted the government to consider unemployment benefit stipend for the unemployed Batswana. The adoption of the motion means that in future the government will have to pay unemployed Batswana an allowance in an effort to among others keep the unemployed out of abject poverty and assist them to cover basic costs of living.
While all BDP Member of Parliament (MPs) who debated the motion rejected it, the same could not happen when the Speaker of the National Assembly Phandu Skelemani asked on how many are in support. Interestingly, only the opposition voices were in support leaving Skelemani to give the motion the greenlight to be adopted. Although the BDP MPs led by the Leader of the House Slumber Tsogwane raised objection over the decision, the Speaker of the National Assembly could not entertain that. Reasons raised by Skelemani was that the protestors raised the protest late.
This week while he was not in a position to comment on what led to the adoption of the motion, the BDP Chief Whip Liakat confirmed to this publication that the party leadership has raised concer over what happened. “For now, I want to reserve my comment on the adoption of the motion because the BDP leadership has called a meeting to find out what really happened. So, I can only comment after our discussion,” Kablay told The Botswana Gazette in an interview.
Tabling the motion, Keorapetse revealed that a stipend would be in a form of compensation paid to individuals to help them cover basic costs of living while they seek employment or receive career training. “There is no doubt that this would come at a cost to the taxpayers. Government must therefore hasten to grow and broaden sources of revenue as we have contended over the years. Apart from the efficient and effective collection of taxes, curbing profit shifting and capital fight, there has to be accelerated beneficiation of minerals at least 50 percent to grow the economy and to create jobs. Money can come from curbing leakages in tourism by making high value to tourists to pay locally rather than abroad,” Keorapetse stated prior to the adoption of the motion.