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Noose tightens around Kebonang’s neck

Noose tightens around Kebonang’s neck
February 19
11:15 2018

THABO BAGWASI

The Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Kagiso Molatlhegi has undertaken to report the Minister for Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Sadique Kebonang to Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi for his habitual absenteeism from Parliament.

Molatlhegi’s report to Masisi, who in his capacity as Vice President is also the Leader of the House, is expected to put Kebonang’s political career and future ministerial prospects in an untenable position.

The scandal-hit Kebonang is already reported to be among ministers facing the axe in Masisi’s Cabinet.

Chief among cabinet ministers who have reportedly fallen out of favour with Masisi is Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) women’s wing president, Dorcas Makgato, who is also the Minister of Health and Wellness.

Furthermore, making the list are Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Alfred Madigele, Assistant Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Biggie Butale, as well as Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Thapelo Olopeng.

Kebonang was supposed to be hearing the tabling of four motions for debate in Parliament.

It emerged that he had not notified the Speaker of his absence and neither had he delegated any of his cabinet colleagues to jot down notes for him from the debate.

When his cabinet colleagues were asked if one of them was willing to take notes for him, none of them was willing.

The motion that exposed Kebonang’s back came from the MP for Selebi-Phikwe West, Dithapelo Keorapetse.

The latter wanted Parliament to debate a motion requesting government to pay former BCL employees a retrenchment package.

Keorapetse then complained that Kebonang was never in Parliament to give responses to his questions or to hear the tabling of his motions.

He further argued that it was not the first time the minister bunked Parliament when he was supposed to answer questions or speak to his motions.

It was then that Molatlhegi promised members that he will report Kebonang to the Vice President.

“I can assure you that I will report this to the Leader of the House. This is not the first time. This kind of absenteeism worries me more so that I have long given the relevant minister the order paper,” said Molatlhegi.

Kebonang is currently consumed by the maelstrom of what is arguably the biggest financial scandal that ever occurred in the country.

His financial dealings with former Kgori Capital director Bakang Seretse have injured his standing. The opposition Botswana Congress Party last week called for Kebonang to be slapped with corruption charges in the same case.

Ironically, several MP’s who had also tabled motions were also absent.

Parliament ended up skipping an unprecedented seven motions in the order paper because of the absenteeism by the movers.

Among the absentees were Specially Elected MP Bogolo Kenewendo and MP for Gantsi North, Noah Salakae.

Molatlhegi however revealed that the duo of Kenewendo and Salakae had briefed him of their absence, noting that Salakae had left for the hospital Friday morning.

Another minister who caused the shelving of the debate of a motion is the Minister for Transport and Communications, Kitso Mokaila.

Mokaila came into the chamber late after apparently scheduling a meeting at the same time he was to hear the tabling of a motion concerning his ministry.

The absence of ministers in Parliament is nothing new. Cabinet ministers usually leave opposition MPs in a state of frustration through pulling no shows when they are supposed to present themselves during Fridays’ ministers’ questions and answers session.

The Fridays ministers questions and answers are notorious for the collapses of quorum in Parliament owing to the habitual absence of both ministers and ordinary MPs.

Like it happened Friday, a parliamentary session normally has to scrape by almost every day with the minimal number of MP’s such that if a single MP exits the chamber, the quorum in the house collapses.

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