Following the publication of qualifications for Members of Parliament, there has been a public debate on whether there should be a minimum qualification entry or not for Mps.
The debate tarted after it had emerged that some MPs only had Junior Cambridge certificate, Cambridge certificate, Mechanical engineering and various workshop attendence certificates.
The Voice Staffer, DANIEL CHIDA interviewed on the issue with different politicians to get their view on the matter.
Former National Assembly Speaker, Dr Margret Nasha:
I can confirm that this debate has been on since the 8th or 9th Parliament.
The bottom line is that there is indeed a large body of the populace who support the move.
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But those who were vigorously opposed to the idea were probably much more forceful in pushing their ideas, fears and beliefs, even suspicions of sabotage, to the extent of forcing the other camp into submission.
One of their points of view was that some of those of their colleagues who went only as far as primary or early secondary school level were effective foot soldiers.
They pulled crowds and were excellent at recruiting members to their fold.
Like the late Rre Merafe used to say ” if it ain’t broke, why fix it?”. The truth of the matter though is that, if the time is not ripe yet, I don’t know if it will ever be.
Our laws are written in the usual difficult convoluted English of yesteryear.
There is always the risk of passing laws and approving policies without in-depth interrogation.
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Mind you, making and passing laws is one of the core responsibilities of an MP.
When Members attend meetings of the Commonwealth, African Parliament etc, they are expected to be active participants with deep understanding of the issues under discussion.
So, what am I saying? We cannot and should not continue to pretend that it is ok not to prescribe minimum qualifications for Members of Parliament in this day and age.
The trouble is that Batswana still do not attend Parliament to watch the performance of their elected representatives in the House.
If they did, this debate would have been concluded several years ago.
UDC SPOKESPERSON: MOETI MOHWASA
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The minimum should be ability to read and write.
Being a representative requires one who is able to carry the aspirations of his constituents.
One who is able to represent his people better?
One might be academically astute but a poor leader and representative.
So it takes a set of qualities to be a leader.
This is not however meant to say we should not acknowledge academic qualifications.
SECRETARY GENERAL FOR ALLIANCE FOR PROGRESSIVES: PHENYO BUTALE
Minimum qualification is needed because if you are not educated, how will you keep up with 20th Century demand and understanding the 4th industrial revolution.
People have many challenges facing their constituencies and need leaders who can articulate issues better.
FORMER CABINET MEMBER AND MP FOR NGAMI: JACOB NKATE
We absolutely need some form of qualifications for our legislators because some are voted based on how they have been assisting in funerals in villages.
We need people who can read and understand the laws of the country.
They must be able to read documents and some of the documents are written in a complex manner.
We do have different levels of dealing with issues but when one cannot deliberate an issue then he/she is handicapped and must not be in parliament.
During my time in parliament we had such people but I don’t want to go deeper because I may end up being vinctimised.
POLITICAL ANALYST: LEONARD SESA
Qualification matters, at least there should be a minimum qualification because all are aspiring to be nominated for ministerial posts.
Level of understanding issues is vital.
Remember we have entered the fourth industrial revolution.