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MPs Snub Moswaane

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Francistown West Member of Parliament, Ignatious Moswaane, left parliament buildings a bitter man this morning after all the motions he tabled were rejected by fellow legislators.

An earlier urgent motion by Moswaane on the water crisis in the greater Gaborone and Tlokweng area received only three votes from the 26 MPs who sat in today’s proceedings.

On Wednesday Moswaane presented the motion amid emotionally charged scenes as he clashed with Deputy Speaker, Kagiso Molatlhegi, who had refused for the motion to be tabled as, he said, Moswaane had not notified him of his intention to table it.

In another motion that had a lukewarm reception from fellow MPs, Moswaane had wanted government to come up with a comprehensive policy to protect the interests of the informal sector.

The Francistown West legislator withdrew his two other motions where he had wanted government to increase value added tax (VAT) from 12% to 14% in order to cater for public servants’ salary increase and other government expenses.

He had also wanted government to amend Gender Affairs Empowerment Schemes by abolishing the system whereby women are forced to form groups in order to qualify for the schemes and allow women and individuals to apply for the scheme.

Moswaane said he was disappointed by his colleagues who had claimed to be supporting him. “Members of parliament acted like small boys. I’m disappointed in them especially with my party, the BDP, because it is us who are supposed to be bringing solutions the problems that Batswana are facing. The opposition have always told Batswana that they are an alternative government, but today they failed to demonstrate that. They are also part of the problem,” he said.

BDP Chief Whip, Liakat Kablay, who was among the three MPs that voted for Moswaane’s water crisis motion said he was equally disappointed by the way the MPs snubbed the motion. “Government is slow in addressing the water crisis and I believe as representatives of people, we should be seen to be pushing for the acceleration of such issues. We can’t let people suffer just because of our personal differences,” he said.

Dr Phenyo Butale of the Umbrella For Democratic Change (UDC) who was thrown out of parliament in the July sitting after battling to table the water and power crisis motion said Moswaane’s concerns were not genuine. “When I tried to move the motion in the July sitting he opposed it and said it had been passed by events. What makes it so relevant now? I had moved a motion that sought this house to come out with alternatives by way of short and long term solutions such as how to bring in independent power producers and water regulators. We needed to have a holistic approach but now he comes up with motions that are conceptually flawed. We are not going to support him just because he seems to be saying something that is against government. We are a serious government in waiting and we’re not going to support mediocrity,” he said.