Botswana: BDP Backbench Charms Opposition

President Mokgweetsi Masisi is said to have come out of an emnergency Parliamentary session last Wednesday a disappointed man after a poor display by some of his cabinet ministers who suffered a humiliation from Members of Parliament.

Consequently, due to pressure Masisi is likely to pronounce surprise alterations in his next anticipated cabinet reshuffle with some of the ministers set to lose their posts to backbenchers. The two consecutive live parliamentary proceedings in Botswana Televisions (BTV) according to political experts did more harm than good to cabinet ministers who failed to rise to the occasion.

After the debates a wide public criticism erupted with social media going abuzz with people casting aspersions on some of minister's ability including vice president Slumber Tsogwane. As the Leader of the House, Tsogwane has been at the fore front of crushing motions by opposition MPs without any valid substance in his pondering thus depending on BDP figures to quash amendments by opposition.

University of Botswana political analyst Mokaloba Mokaloba said although the performance of the ministers might have not impressed the public, especially their voters, to the ruling BDP they remain heroes. He indicated that some of the rising backbenchers who continue to win many people's hearts in their deliberations are posing a big threat to some of the current underperforming ministers. "There is potential in some of the BDP backbenchers such as Ignatius Moswaane who have been in the party for so long but never got cabinet post. This might be because of his loyalty to voters than praising the party. Loyalty is often rewarded by a cabinet appointment, for praising the president," he buttressed.

Moreover, he noted that backbenchers were notably impressive in their debates as compared to some ministers, therefore exposing weaknesses of the ministers. Some of the backbenchers who are confident that they have done well in articulating issues that affects their voters such as botched food basket will continue to push cabinet against the wall.

The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Eric Molale stood out as the man at the receiving end from MPs over delayed food basket distribution to the people. Francistown West MP Ignatius Moswaane has openly criticized Molale for having tendency of defending himself or government whenever his ministry is failing to live up to expectations. "Minister Molale this is not the time for you to be trying to be playing diplomacy when we tell him that people are starving because food is not reaching them. Get out of defensive mode and give our people food," aggrieved Moswaane said receiving showers of praise from opposition MPs.

Another BDP backbencher told this publication that they have collectively agreed to push ministers who fail on their portfolios to deliver or else they will be demoted from their posts. The MP emphasised that they represent the interests of their constituents, unlike cabinet ministers who serve at the pleasure of the President and in turn spend a lot of time praising their superior thus neglecting voters.

"Sometimes when we criticise ministers for failing to deliver, those who are close to them think we are exposing their incompetence so that we may be considered for cabinet nomination. It is not the motive because as an ordinary MP I serve the desires of people I represent," said one vocal BDP MP.

When reached for comment, one of the ministers downplayed claims that cabinet failed to live up to expectations by advocating for their people but instead focused on praising the president. The minister who pleaded not to be named hinted that BDP backbenchers have found a habit of joining forces with the opposition to attack instead of deliberating in a sincere manner at all.

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