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Increase constituencies- Kekgonegile

Daniel Chida
MAUN EAST MP: Goretetse Kekgonegile

There is a national outcry of none parliamentary representation of women, people with disabilities, gays and lesbians in parliament.

Outspoken Member of Parliament for Maun East, Goretetse Kekgonegile’s maiden parliamentary contribution this week has not been without controversy.

The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) member’s view to have the number of constituencies increased, left fellow legislators and the public gallery with dropped jaws and social media awash with mixed opinions.

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The Voice Staffer, DANIEL CHIDA caught up with the former trade unionist who also called for an inclusive representation that caters for marginalized groups including gays and lesbians.

You have been in parliament for more than four months now, what is your impression?

Being an MP is a tough job with huge responsibilities, long hours and massive expectations from the nation.

I am of the view that the 12th parliament is vibrant and has hit the ground running.

The working relationship is positive, especially with Ministers hence my belief that there will be a significant paradigm shift at the end of 5 years if extreme party partisan politics does not emerge during the course of our term.

You recently responded to the SONA and Budget speeches, what were your talking points?

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The SONA didn’t give much indications to where the country will be in the next five years.

No timelines were set on specific issues such as constitutional review, no job targets, no education crisis fixing mechanisms, independence of parliament and others. It was more of ongoing projects progress report.

The budget speech was quite inspirational on a number of sectors and far lacking on others with continuation of BDP fixation on unnecessary excessive military spending at the expense of growing sectors which could add value to the livelihoods of a common person.

Expectation of a transformational and diversification development budget is to spend more on manufacturing, agriculture, tourism, sports and arts, not military assets.

This week you raised a point in Parliament on the need to increase constituencies, explain it further.

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The fact remains the load of work of parliamentarians in the North West, Kgalagadi, Ghanzi, Southern, Kweneng and Central is overwhelming.

Given that Batswana may keep direct representation through first past the post electoral system, the delimitation exercise must add at least 15 to the current 57 to make 72 constituencies.

There is a national outcry of non-parliamentary representation of women, people with disabilities, gays and lesbians, which the constitutional and electoral reviews must address through proportional representation of at least 20%, resulting in a hybrid electoral system.

That will add 15 to the 72 and end up with 87 constituencies in the country and that is my view of addressing excessive load of work of some parliamentarians and the out cry of the marginalized groups.

What’s you view on the call to downsize the number of Ministries?

Currently Cabinet makes 40% of the total parliament and 60% of BDP parliamentarians, hence all Cabinet decisions are rubber stamped in BDP caucuses and in parliament.

The arrangement will never be beneficial to any democratic dispensation as it benefits the President in getting his decisions through the structures rather than the country.

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Secondly, we are a small economy with a very small population of which our emphasis should be on strong policies and protocols rather than number of people overseeing these protocols and policies. Cabinet must be reduced to at least 18.

The UDC filed a petition against vote rigging and BCP as coalition partners was a bit quiet, why?

It was a UDC petition and handled at UDC level through UDC structures supported by all members.

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We are not yet a merger hence structures are led by deployees from individual parties and depending on the project at hand, it may happen that cadres handling one UDC project are deployees from one party as they are leading those structures.

Given the public scrutiny as per your question, maybe going forward we should be cautious that deployment in structures and projects is reflective of all of us.

Is it not because you (BCP) didn’t believe there was ever any rigging?

Even those who didn’t believe that 2019 elections were rigged must have been convinced by the attitude of the IEC by strongly blocking every effort to verify their facts.

I am of the view that we started the process late as pointers show that even the 2014 elections were rigged of which we should have requested for their verification.

At party level, which position are you intending to contest for?

I intend to contest for the Publicity Secretary post though consultations are ongoing.

What is the way forward for the UDC working model?

Political coalitions remain the future of modern day politics but we can’t be coalitions forever, there comes a time when we must talk beyond coalitions otherwise this five year political circle will be our destiny into eternity.

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What legacy do you intend to leave behind?

I would love to raise the representation bar high so that in my absence our representation remains good quality.

I also intend to build strong bonds among community institutions for checks and balances, and ensuring better livelihoods for our people.

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