Why fighting happens in some parliaments

Richard Moleofe

Fighting in parliament has always been the most absurd of things to me. No one really entertains the idea of honourable men and women folding up their sleeves to fight each other. Well, this happens around the world when tempers flare up.
The word’s most notorious country which often experiences bouts on the floor of parliament is Italy. Second to that is Taiwan followed by South Korea. The trend of these boxing parliaments goes with the more liberal democracies where freedom of speech is allowed and often certain MPs would also want to make physical emphasis on their points of view.
But how liberal is our democracy in Botswana? The one point is; you would never get MPs fighting in an authoritarian country and the list of such is endless. The fact that Hon Sedirwa Kgoroba tried to assault the notorious Minister of Justice, Defence and Security with small plastic bottle of water may bring us into the league of liberal democracies.
And what really happened on the floors of parliament on that day is a question that many where asking all over the next day? This was because of the level of publicity that was given to this matter on our national television station. The matter was given high profile coverage and they made sure that it became the longest item on the news of the day.
According to Kgoroba, he lost his temper when Hon Kgathi started making fun on the death of the late Gomolemo Motswaledi who was the leader and founder of Botswana Movement for Democracy. That equally annoyed members of the public in the gallery.
A press conference was later called to address the issue and the Vice President of the country was roped in to speak at great lengths about the deplorable manners of Hon Kgoroba. However Kgoroba has gone on to defend his actions on different platforms particularly on Facebook and many people have mixed feelings about his actions.
Mr. Motlatsi Mbanga who is a property tycoon in Tati Siding has gone on to question the selective justice that the government has applied this time around on an opposition MP. Well, I didn’t look at it that way because our parliament exists to promote democracy for all. According to Mbanga, no press conference was called when the Hon Moswaane was bashed by his party’s regional chairman not so long ago.
Having been awakened to party politics, I am equally reminded of the bloodletting incident in Molepolole between a ruling party councillor and an opposition one. Hon Tona Selala was badly beaten by a BDP specially nominated councillor and the ruling party top brass did not see the need for a press conference aimed at condemning that behaviour.
Selective justice by those governing us is a clear example that we are slowly drifting away from being a liberal democracy that we wish to be. The public is feed through the government media conduit all sorts of unpalatable untruths without allowing the same media to balance the story.
There have been a lot of stories where ruling party MPs even went as far as beating up their spouses, and none of them were brought on Btv to explain. I am not justifying what Hon Kgoroba did even though he was provoked to arrive at that measure of anger and near madness. But we seek justice which is not based on the perpetrator’s party or any affiliation. We expect more balanced justice particularly when the Minister of Justice is in the matter between.