Specially Elected MP and former cabinet minister, Dr Unity Dow, has responded with fire to summons issued by Botswana Democratic Party Chief Whip Liakat Kablay for disciplinary hearing.
Dr Dow has advised Kablay to appreciate that in a democracy there are differences of opinion, culture of debate, and that he should never try to censor anybody in Parliamentary debates.
The summons emanates from a saga surrounding the removal of Kgosi Mosadi Seboko from the Pan African Parliament on March 14th, more than 12 months before end of her term next year.
Dow was offered to replace Kgosi Seboko but declined after she learned that the Balete Paramount Chief has not resigned from the PAP and that there was conflicting information coming from the party.
Dr Dow; “For avoidance of doubt, I must state, categorically that there was never a party caucus vote or decision at which it was decided to claim that Kgosi Mosadi had resigned from PAP”.
She further stated that the President should be engaged in debates if anybody, including with BDP MPs who hold a different view from his.
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“The suggestion that no one is allowed to differ with the president is a dangerous proposition and is totally at odds with what one expects in a democracy. I deny that my actions were in contravention of any rule or regulation,” she said in her written response.
Dow explained that her response to Minister of Justice Ronald Shamukuni’s presentation on his ministry’s budget was misunderstood to be a response to the President’s comments on the Balete Court of Appeal victory on land case against government.
At the Press Conference on March 8th, the President said Attorney General appealed the Balete case against the wishes of the Government. In Parliament, Dr Dow said the relationship between AG and Government is that of attorney and client and that the former takes instructions from the latter.
However, Dr Dow says a video that circulated on social media juxtaposing her debates with the President’s media address seems to have caused more confusion for Kablay.
“I did not participate in the production of the video. Hon Kablay must expect that every word that the President utters is open to examination, re-examination and analysis and fact-checking. That is the nature of politics,” Dr Dow explained further.
On the other hand Kablay complains that she brought the party name into disrepute by issuing a press statement on her position on the Kgosi Seboko matter, something that she denies.
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“We habitually congratulate ourselves for being the beacon of democracy in Africa precisely because we cherish the right to think and the freedom to express ourselves, both of which are enshrined in the nation’s Constitution,” she added.
Meanwhile, there are indications that Minister of Minerals and Energy Resources who is also MP for Ramotswa Lefoko Moagi will be next on Kablay’s radar after he voted with opposition parties against the removal of his Kgosi.