Botswana: Parliament Prorogues Pending Dissolution

Gaborone — The 11th Parliament has been prorogued with the acting Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr Kagiso Molatlhegi, highlighting that the President is yet to announce Parliament dissolution.

Addressing the media in Gaborone this week, Mr Molatlhegi expressed the importance of clarifying the difference between Parliament prorogation and dissolution.

He said following the Friday prorogation, all legislators were still constitutionally recognised as MPs until the President officially dissolves Parliament and announces writ for the general election.

Mr Molatlhegi said "by its very nature, the end of any Parliament is a bittersweet moment, as it marks the end of the road for some legislators".

He, however, expressed delight over the just-ended session, which had passed 17 bills, among them, the Declaration of Assets and Liability Bill while Botswana Land Policy was the only policy adopted.

He said the motion on Supplementary Estimates and Expenditure from the consolidated and development funds contained in the Financial Paper No.1 of 2019/2020 was rejected.

Mr Molatlhegi, however, said there was a motion moved by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to rescind the decision and approve supplementary requests in respect of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development as well as Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security as recommended by the Finance and Estimates Committee.

"Parliament upheld its earlier decision to negate the supplementary request from Ministry of Land Management and Sanitation Services to fund a separate 100km potable water pipeline from Masama wellfields to Mmamashia Water Treatment Plant project at the tune of P900 million as recommended by the Finance and Estimates Committee".

With regard to private members motions, Mr Molatlhegi stated that two motions by Gaborone North MP and Nata/Gweta MP respectively were adopted while Gaborone Central MP's motion requesting government to expand the Bill of Rights in the Constitution to include socio-economic and cultural rights was rejected.

Mr Haskins Nkaigwa's motion was requesting government to facilitate residents of Gaborone North farms to have potable water and sewerage facilities.

Presenting the motion in Parliament, Mr Nkaigwa had said it was distressing that Gaborone North residents were deprived of the right to provision of such basic necessities as quality roads, potable water and sewerage facilities.

He indicated that despite being the city's growth area, Gaborone North lacked behind on developments whose land was unserviced as it was regarded as a freehold.

Another motion was that of Mr Polson Majaga, in which he requested government to consider designating Sowa Town as a Special Economic Zone.

Mr Majaga had said that Sowa was ideal to be transformed into a salt-producing hub due to its proximity to a 'huge' salt pan, where sodium carbonate was mined.

He said the main economic activity in Sowa was driven by Botswana Ash, which was the largest producer of natural sodium products in the region, producing soda ash and salt with the current production capacity of the mine production being estimated at around 300 000 tonnes of soda ash and 650 000 tonnes of salt per annum.

Source : BOPA

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