- Says Domkrag was unprincipled to advance the same reason for passing one motion and rejecting another
- Morwaeng says the difference between the motions was that one was new while the other was old
Opposition MPs are dredging their brains for answers for the ruling Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) use of the country’s prospective constitutional review as an excuse to reject a motion for electoral reforms after it recently used its superior numbers to pass a bill to punish floor-crossing that could also have waited for the constitutional review if there is any merit in that reasoning.
Once assented to by the President, the BDP’s floor-crossing bill will punish elected MPs and councillors who resign from their parties to join other parties or to stay independent by declaring their seats vacant and by-elections to held. However, the BDP also used its numerical strength in Parliament to defeat a motion sponsored by the MP for Mahalapye East, Yandani Boko (UDC), that sought to effect electoral reforms by amending the Electoral Act in order to gain greater autonomy for the Independent Electoral Commission by removing it from the purview of the Office of the President and making the counting of ballots more transparent than it currently is.
The opposition collective in Parliament holds that the behaviour of the BDP amounted to double standards. “This was a very lame reason that the BDP used to reject my motion,” said Boko in an interview afterwards. “As legislators, we should listen and debate motions without partisanship. But that is not the case in our Parliament. I am disappointed by the level of debate because this is not what I expected.”
The MP for Francistown South, Wynter Mmolotsi (AP), similarly lashed out at the BDP for what he described as the ruling party’s lack of conscience and undermining Batswana. Mmolotsi said it beats logic to advance the same reason of a looming constitutional review to pass one motion and reject another. “The BDP thinks Batswana do not understand or see what is happening,” he asserted. “Anyone can see that the BDP does not want to agree with anything proposed by the opposition, no matter what.”
The MP for Serowe North, Baratiwa Mathoothe (BPF), echoed the Mmolotsi’s sentiments about the BDP’s lack of principle. The ruling party saw fit to link the Electoral Act to a prospective constitutional when the two are not in any way connected. “BDP MPs’ problem is that they are empty-headed and are programmed what to say,” Mathoothe said.
But for the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng (BDP), who is the MP for Molepolole South, the difference between the two motions is that the one for electoral reforms motion was new while the one against floor-crossing was old and undergoing a revival. “The difference was that floor-crossing motion was being re-tabled,’ Morwaeng said. “We were just finalising what was already on the table for implementation. The opposition brought this motion because they want to justify their alleged 2019 election vote rigging claims.”