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UDC MPs refused to contribute for Khama

Publishing Date : 10 April, 2018

Author : KETUMILE RAMATITI

The stern refusal by a majority of Members of Parliament to contribute for the outgoing President Lt Gen Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama’s farewell gift has compelled parliament to settle for purchasing him Botswana Telecommunications Limited (BTCL) ordinary shares, WeekendPost has established.


In the general assembly meetings chaired by the parliamentary speaker Gladys Kokorwe, the house had agreed in principle to buy the outgoing president a borehole engine as a gift, sources say. However after careful assessment MPs reversed the decision arguing that he already had one, and that they should consider getting him a different gift. It was at this point that it was proposed and agreed that each MP contributes P500 or more for the president’s gift.


According to information reaching this publication, the assembly then proposed that a vehicle that he could use in farming activities was the appropriate gift. A 15 tonne truck popularly known as Matshelonyana was then agreed upon as a token for appreciation for Khama.
This publication has further gathered that some MPs had however argued that the president already had enough vehicles that could assist in his farming life, but what frustrated efforts to purchase the Matshelonyana is the fact that some legislators downright refused to contribute their share.


According to the contribution sheet; from the opposition, only two members from the Alliance for Progressives (AP) Dr Phenyo Butale and Major General Pius Mokgware contributed the P500 each, for the said gift. Some legislators have not shied away from expressing discontent over the decision to have them contribute for the outgoing president, arguing that already, he (Khama) had been received a lot from Batswana in general. “This was just a farewell to the president and we had to set aside our political affiliation. Politics is just a contestation of ideas and we had to bid the president farewell as people not as politicians,” Butale said when defending his decision to tender his contribution.


It was not only MPs from the opposition who boycotted the idea as some of the cabinet ministers also rebuffed it. Assistant Minister of Youth Empowerment Sport and Culture Development, Kefentse Mzwinila and Minister of Transport and Communications, Kitso Mokaila are some of the cabinet ministers that never bothered to contribute a penny for the president. “They say they don’t have money and there is nothing you can do really when someone says that. Bare ba ntshitse thata ko cabinet for rraetsho, Jaanong ba chonne (they are saying they have contributed for president as cabinet now they are broke),” BDP chief whip Liakat Kablay said.


The BDP backbenchers were also not amused by the idea of contributing for a gift for Khama. Billy Buti, Ignatius Moswaane, Christian De Graff, Ngaka Ngaka and Polson Majaga didn’t contribute for the token of appreciation. Their reasons according to Kablay are different to those of ministers. “Ba lela ka dikgaolo rra, bare batho ba a sokola kwa yaanong ga ba kake ba ntsha madi batho ba bone ba sokola kwa. Jaanong go botoka ba thusa batlhophi go na le motho yoo humileng gale (They are saying they are busy with their constituencies and they would rather assist their poor constituents than enriching the already rich),” said Kablay. 


For his part Gaborone North MP Haskins Nkaigwa said, “During the Khama regime corruption sky-rocketed and he said nothing not even to reprimand his cabinet ministers, he did nothing about it. Now I should contribute for him while he failed to address corruption? No!” 
BDP backbencher Ngaka contested that he did contribute albeit late because, “I have not been around but I did contribute P500 on Monday”.


Those that did not contribute highlighted that the contribution was voluntary and not forced. This is the reason why many of them were not pressured to contribute. Efforts to contact most of the MPs who did not contribute were futile as some were said to be in back-to-back meetings while some’s phones went unanswered.

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