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MPs refuse to vacate parley flats

Publishing Date : 12 August, 2019

Author : KETUMILE RAMATITI

Members of Parliament (MP) who are currently residing at Parliamentary Village flats have rejected an order to vacate the houses two weeks after the dissolution of parliament, arguing that their families will have nowhere to stay.


As President Masisi prepares to dissolve the parliament, government has taken a decision to refurbish the flats so that the incoming legislators find them in better state. Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) which has been given mandate, is set to re-paint and fix a number of structural damages. The flats’ windows, tables and other properties which were damaged during the 11th parliament will have to be replaced. WeekendPost however at time of going to press was yet to establish the total budget for the renovations.


A memo reminding the legislators to leave the flats has long been issued for them to see how they will rescue themselves but they decided not to respond until this week when they now approached President Mokgweetsi Masisi on the matter.  Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) legislators led the request at the party’s last caucus meeting on Tuesday citing schools as the main reason.


Three MPs who spoke to this publication said it is not possible for them to vacate the houses with two months before the general elections. “There is no way how it can happen, our contract elapse in October. As far as I am concerned, we can only leave in October because our contract runs for five years,” said Francistown South MP Wynter Mmolotsi. Mochudi East MP Moagi Molebatsi also said: “We have families and some of my colleagues have their kids schooling in Gaborone so to vacate these houses is not practical.”


“As MPs we have requested President to leave us and our families to remain in these houses until end of November because we do have school going kids and some of them will be writing national examinations later this year. So we have requested to be left until then. And I must tell you that President listened to us and we will be here until then. So the renovations will maybe commence in December when the 12th parliament goes for recess,” BDP Chief Whip Liakat Kablay said when asked about this matter.


Masisi is expected to dissolve parliament anytime and apart from vacating their houses, the legislators will also be given two weeks to have cleaned up their offices located at government enclave. Not only that, constituency offices will also be closed as current legislators will cease being MPs. “Our constituency officers’ contracts will automatically elapse after that two weeks and even us as MPs this month we are likely to be getting our monthly wages for the last time depending on when the President dissolves parliament,” Kablay who is a candidate  for Letlhakeng-Lephepe constituency said.


The Parliamentary Village is a residential complex in Gaborone where MPs are housed free of charge for their entire term of office to execute their duty with ease. Earlier this year, it was revealed that MPs are failing to pay electricity bill amounting to around P200, 000. It was said since 2015, the MPs defaulted and it appears that those who have already lost primary elections or could lose during this year’s general elections intend to leave Parliament without having settled their bills. It is not clear which mechanism the government would use to force the MPs to pay the bills before parliament is dissolved for the general elections.


Parliamentary sources on the other hand told this publication that MPs have received letters requesting them to pay the bills with July set as the deadline for all to have paid. The arrangement between MPs and the government is that the cost of electricity used by an individual member should be borne by the member in full. It is said they should foot the bills every month something which they did in the formative months in parliament before defaulting.  However, in some instances it is said some legislators claim not to be aware of such agreement despite almost five years residing at Parliamentary Village.

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