Politically speaking is democracy under siege?

Daniel Chida

Speaker of parliament in cahoots with the BDP- Keorapetse

Leader of the Opposition, Dumelang Saleshando was on Tuesday afternoon suspended from participating in parliament proceedings for a week after he refused to withdraw the corruption claims that he made during the Special Parliament Sitting in April that the State of Public Emergency was being put in place for corruption practices.

He alleged that President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s sister was already a beneficiary of a P13million tender awarded in a corrupt manner.

He was then asked to support his statement with evidence but the Speaker, Phandu Skelemani dismissed the evidence as insufficient and asked him to withdraw, a thing he refused to do.

The Voice Staffer, DANIEL CHIDA engaged some Members of Parliament to get their views on how the proceedings were run.

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Politically speaking is democracy under siege?
Molebatsi Molebatsi – MP for Mmadinare (BDP)

Technically, it’s extremely difficult to prove corruption in this case!

I started doubting if indeed LOO had access to any evidence that linked HE to the tender process at the Ministry of Health or if he could prove that HE influenced the award of the tender.

Unless you say by virtue of Phadi Mmutle being the President’s sister, she is conflicted in participating in any tender in Botswana.

The LOO should at least say its inferred corruption, for lack of a better word, than say its corruption that he could prove with evidence!

My decision for an “Aye” vote was based on the fact that the LOO had failed to give “convincing” evidence proving beyond reasonable doubt that Phadi’s brother HE influenced the award of the tender that Phadi won.

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Obviously, the speakers ruling that the LOO should withdraw his statement was based on the LOO’s failure to provide convincing evidence proving act of corruption in this case.

And I totally agreed with the Speaker.

I don’t think Saleshando prepared adequately for this and strongly believe it’s unfair to accuse someone of corruption because he is related to HE.

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I am a politician and wouldn’t want my relatives to be denied to earn a living because they are related to me.

Unless if corruption is proven beyond reasonable doubt.

Politically speaking is democracy under siege?
Dithapelo Keorapetse- MP for Selibi- Phikwe West (UDC)

Democracy is clearly under siege.

The Speaker has abandoned key tenets of the parliamentary speakership, especially impartiality as he’s in cahoots with the BDP.

We know he has been effectively appointed to the office by President Masisi and we aren’t shocked at his bias.

It is not the responsibility of Saleshando or any MP to produce evidence of corruption in parliament; it is their responsibility to raise issues on the basis of reasonable suspicion.

If a Mayor wins a tender in a Council or a sister of the President wins a tender in her brother’s government, it’s obscenely unethical and corrupt, in our view.

The responsibility of investigating and producing evidence lies with DCEC and other law enforcement or investigating authorities, not even DIS is required by law to give evidence; theirs is to do preliminary collection of intelligence upon which the DCEC and Botswana Police can investigate.

So, Ministers in the Presidency, being the ministers under which the DCEC falls, can tell Parliament how far the investigation is, with regard to issues raised by Saleshando.

Sufficiency of evidence can only be determined in an independent court of law with corroborating evidence, cross-examinations and or oral presentations of account of activities.

Even then a competent judge, not the Speaker of Parliament, after careful consideration of various issues, determines it.

Parliament cannot delve into the matter and decide in single Parliamentary evidence with the Speaker assuming the role of a judge.

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The evidence brought by Saleshando is sufficient because the requirement and the standard of proof in parliament cannot be like that of a court of law unless Parliament appoints a sect Committee to conduct an investigation.

Politically speaking is democracy under siege?
Baratiwa Mathoothe- MP for Serowe North (BPF)

First of all President Masisi in numerous occasions announced that he will fight corruption.

Mme kana Setswana sare mo laya kgosi o abo a itaela meaning that the law of corruption is not selective it’s for everybody including the president.

Saleshando brought enough evidence.

What the speaker should have done is to take the matter to DEC for further investigation.

Secondly the voting process should be secret for independent voting.

The ruling of the speaker is going to make people not to report corruption because they will be scared of intimidation.

In conclusion they must be a process in which you bring evidence not the way they did to ambush the leader of opposition because this matter was not in the agenda so it was planned.

Politically speaking is democracy under siege?
Goretetse Kekgonegile- MP for Maun East (UDC)

This is a clear sign of a democracy under siege under an outdated constitution.

The public must be prepared for a significant number of suspensions to follow, given BDP last kicks in power.

In this era, it doesn’t give logic for a Speaker of Parliament to ask for the endorsement of parliamentarians of another party to discipline their opponent.

The likely outcome is obvious. We must review the constitution and usher in the independence of parliament immediately.

Otherwise corruption will be rampant and democracy will regress under the current Speaker and his BDP.

The suspension of Saleshando resulted from a witch-hunt.

Tumiso Rakgare sought the evidence and it was BDP that must have verified the evidence not the speaker.

Secondly the clauses used 60.3 and 60.4 do not relate to the offense at hand.

The offense is far from gross misconduct of which 60.2 of the Standing Order should have been used.

The process was fraudulent and should have collapsed immediately when opposition Whip, Pono Moathodi declined the Speaker’s request.

The voting process lacked integrity.

We believe the secret ballot would have changed the outcome.

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