Opposition Members of Parliament (MP) have expressed dissatisfaction with Minister Eric Molale’s conduct in parliament, saying “He is arrogant and has no place in the house,” one said.
This came after Molale, the Minister of Presidential Affairs last week refused to fully answer parliament questions regarding the bias of Botswana Television (Btv) and Daily News.
Gabane-Mmakgodi MP Major General Pius Mokgware had asked Molale when he was going to take action to remedy bias at Mass Media and when he would give parliament feedback.
“We are interested in what he has done about the petition. If he has not done anything, he should say so, if he is still going to do something about it, he should also tell us,” Phikwe West’s Dithapelo Keorapetse added.
“I just wish to register my discontent, more especially with the contempt with which Ministers like Minister Molale treats the house. I think that we have to come to parliament duly elected by electorates to come and represent them and he (Molale) comes here, he behaves as if we are at his mercy. He chooses when to answer questions and how to answer them. What concerns me is that, he also has the habit of hiding his intellectual dwarfism behind this arrogance that he has and I think this has no place in the house,” said Dr. Phenyo Butale.
Another opposition MP Wynter Mmolotsi noted that Molale’s behavior at the house was offensive, saying in his response to parliament comments on the National Development Plan (NDP 11) budget, the Minister said opposition MP’s are like mad men. “Molale o dule mo tseleng ka tsela e e gakgamatsang. Ga a ka ke a tshwantshanya Mapalamente le ditsenwa. Ga ke itse gore bo brave jo bo kalokalo o bo tsaya kae a tsene ka fensetere batho ba mo ganne kwa kgaolong,” he said.
MP for Mochudi East Isaac Davids also expressed concern about the way Molale debates issues in parliament and said the way he responds to MPs comments, something he said shows he is a “cheap street politician.” “I think we have had enough from him, in all fairness. This is cheap street politics. It is not even worth listening to. I request that the Speaker should call him to order. He must respond to what we said, ka gore ke buile gore there is drug abuse in this country, what is he doing about that? Instead, he spoke about how he contributed on programs that took Boko to Havard. I do not want listen to that. He has been wasting our time by not responding to our comments and concerns regarding issues of social improvement,” said Davids.
Responding to opposition MP’s concerns Molale said “I know what I do in my Ministry and when I receive whatever that I receive from my clients, I do note it and act as and when that compels me to do. I have noted that petition and that is what I can say, whether anybody alleges that I am irresponsible, it is up to them, it is their own opinion but I have taken note of the contents of the petition,” he said on the matter of government media bias.
It has emerged that since June 2016 to November 2016, 40 Botswana Democratic Party items were aired in the BTV news bulletin, compared to only five Umbrella for Democratic Change items. Trends show that presidents for opposition parties and their MPs are never featured on the front page of the Daily News while BDP President Ian Khama normally receives front page coverage in the publication. Government has also discontinued BTV political magazine programme which gave coverage to all political parties.