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Ntlo Ya Dikgosi remains relevant - Morwaeng

05 Jun 2024

Legislators have rejected a proposal to reconfigure and rename Ntlo Ya Dikgosi to the House of Representatives.

During a debate on the Constitution Amendment Bill of 2024 Tuesday, MPs submitted differing views that naming Ntlo Ya Dikgosi the House of Representatives was a derailment of the intended purpose of institution.

Opposition MPs advocated for renaming it the House of Representatives, suggesting it would promote diverse representation and ideas from different groups. However, members from the ruling aisle opposed the idea.

Minister for State President, Mr Kabo Morwaeng reasoned that Ntlo Ya Dikgosi should be respected and protected. He said its composition should include people who already perform functions of Bogosi, hence it should not be diluted with diverse members.

He said Batswana understand the role of the institution of Bogosi and would not want confusion by blending so many representatives into the institution.

Supporting Mr Morwaeng, MP for Shashe West, Mr Fidelis Molao said the establishment and composition of the House of Representative was something completely different from Ntlo Ya Dikgosi.

Mr Molao stated that Ntlo Ya Dikgosi should not be diluted by including individuals who were not closely aligned with the institution and its purpose.

MP for Ngami, Mr Caterpillar Hikuama had noticed an amendment that called for amendment of section 77 of the constitution by establishing House of Representatives.

He proposed that the House of Representatives should comprise representatives from all recognised Dikgosi in the country, faith-based organisations, labour movements and civil society. Such representatives, he observed, should be empowered to initiate legislation and policies concerning culture, family values, human rights and the ethical conduct of society.

Mr Hikuama remarked that such a provision would be progressive as it would elevate Ntlo Ya Dikgosi by granting it powers to initiate laws for consideration by the National Assembly.

“This is very important as it will give the House of Representatives powers to present to Parliament what they wish. We want Dikgosi to serve as an important link between government and the people in the democratisation process,” he said.

Specially elected MP, Dr Unity Dow said establishment of the House of Representatives was a new concept meant to empower traditional leaders. She said the House of Representatives was required to deal with cultural issues as they were custodians of culture.

Maun West legislator, Mr Dumelang Saleshando said he wondered why Ntlo Ya Dikgosi was to be maintained while the Bill was determined to dilute it with elected members.

He said the fact that there would be nominees to form part of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi, it meant that Bogosi was not a recognised institution.

The draft bill has provision that membership into Ntlo ya Dikgosi will be made up of two persons from each administrative district who for the time being perform functions of the office of Kgosi in respect of any area within such administrative district.

The proposed provision according to Minister Morwaeng, allows for tribal neutrality by removing the requirement to have some members of Ntlo ya Dikgosi selected through an electoral college. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Mmoniemang Motsamai

Location : GABORONE

Event : Parliament

Date : 05 Jun 2024