Botswana: Parliament Orientates

Kasane — Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr Phandu Skelemani has urged Members of Parliament (MPs) to be mindful of the promises they made to the voters during the general election campaign.

Speaking at an orientation for the new MPs, which was also attended by the President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi on November 8, Mr Skelemani said as they carried on with the parliamentary business, they should also work on improving the livelihoods of the people they represent.

He called on the MPs to ensure delivery by continuously engaging the electorate and ensuring that the policies and programmes were efficiently debated and implemented for their benefit.

Mr Skelemani said during the course of their work, the MPs should look at Botswana and beyond the borders to be able to better articulate the national interests.

He urged them to familiarise themselves with the NDP 11, Vision 2036, Africa Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

He said forums such as the SADC parliamentary forum and the Pan African parliament would require them to be familiar with issues of national interests to efficiently represent the country.

Mr Skelemani furthermore said with Botswana rated 34 out of 108 countries in the Transparency Index, it showed that the country had a problem of corruption which called for concerted efforts in fighting the abuse of entrusted power for private gain.

On other issues, the Speaker raised a concern about the number of women representatives in Parliament and local government saying the numbers were a challenge for a society that believed in equality.

He said as members of the 12th Parliament, they should tirelessly work towards changing the situation of women representation.

Earlier in his welcome remarks Plateau court president, Kgosi Nkaelang Lekgoa thanked Batswana for the free and fair elections and called on the MPs to diligently deliver on their mandate.

Kgosi Lekgoa noted that there was a concern of corruption in various departments, urging those who were appointed as ministers must fight it at the ministries they were responsible for.

The Leader of Opposition (LOO), Mr Dumelang Saleshando in his vote of thanks remarks indicated that the orientation would enhance the MPs' desire to serve their constituents and he thanked them for the large turn out.

Mr Saleshando however, indicated that he was concerned about the independence of Parliament.

On other issues, the LOO indicated that the presence of the MPs in Kasane could have better benefited the Chobe community if guest houses and local taxis were utilised instead of the five-star hotels and the government vehicles.

The orientation which runs from November 7-13 is held under the theme: Enhancing Capacity to promote Good Governance in the era of Knowledge-based Economy.

The aim of the orientation is to enhance MPs' understanding of legislatures to equip them, provide cross-learning opportunity between those who once served and the new ones and to provide the MPs with an opportunity to learn about their role in the country, region, continent and the world at large.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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