- BPF chair says no one is forced to attend kgotla meetings
- One MP says he was not invited, another said that his invitation came late
The Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) has defended the failure of its Serowe MPs to attend a kgotla meeting addressed by President Mokgweetsi Masisi in the principal town of the Central District and heartland of the BPF yesterday.
This is despite a savingram circulating on social media indicating that the three MPs, Tshekedi Khama, Leepetswe Lesedi and Baratiwa Mathoothe, were invited to the meeting.
The Chairperson of BPF, Caroline Lesang, says there is a need to ascertain whether the MPs were invited to the meeting because ordinarily they would have no reason not to attend it.
“We do not have any influence as the BPF to restrict our Members of Parliament from attending national meetings,” Lesang said. “Perhaps they were not invited.”
She added that MPs of the BPF had also failed to attend a meeting of the party’s National Executive Committee yesterday and had apologized. “I do not recall anyone being reprimanded for not attending a kgotla meeting,” she said.
“That is why people get invited; they are not forced to attend. It is the norm that whoever calls a kgotla meeting invites people who matter well in time so that when they do not show up, we can question why.”
For his part, the MP for Serowe South, Leepetswe Lesedi, says he was not invited to the meeting and that he only saw a savingram about it on social media. “The only invitation I saw at my constituency office is that of a meeting I was invited to by the Ministry of Health and Wellness that was supposed to have taken place on Monday this week,” Lesedi told The Gazette. “If I had received an invitation, I would have attended it or delegated someone from my office to go on my behalf.”
He noted that he has attended President Masisi’s meetings in the past and would have had no reason to snub the latest one in Serowe. “You should also remember that initially this meeting was not meant for the kgotla but was to be a consultative meeting.”
But the MP for Serowe North, Baratiwa Mathoothe, says he did received an invitation to the meeting but it came late on Monday. “I did receive my invitation from the District Commissioner but it was late and I was already out addressing my constituents” Mathoothe said. “I asked the District Commissioner why the invitation was sent out because it appeared as though they did not want us to attend.”
He added that had his invitation arrived on time, he would have attended and taken the opportunity to plead with the President for major projects in his constituency.
“Of course some would think that we did not attend the meeting because we wanted to sabotage it,” Mathoothe said. “There is no way I would do that because I have attended several meetings called by the President and his ministers.”
Efforts to speak to the MP for Serowe West, Tshekedi Khama, proved futile as his phone was not answered.