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Parliament against new substituting clause to Section 92 of the constitution bill

05 Jun 2024

Parliament has rejected a proposed amendment seeking to amend the Constitution Amendment Bill of 2024 by inserting a new clause to substituting Section 92 of the country’s supreme law.

Motivating the proposed amendment in Parliament on Tuesday, Specially Elected Member of Parliament, Dr Unity Dow said there was no Clause in the Constitution that dealt with motion of no confidence on the President hence the proposal.

 Dr Dow argued Section 92 of the Constitution only dealt with motion of no confidence on government, but not the President, adding that “it allows both sides of the isle, in the future, to decide that they have no confidence on the President of the day, by not forcing a resolution of parliament or a return to general elections.”

For that reason, she proposed that the Bill be amended by inserting a new clause, substituting Section 92 of the Constitution, with the following new Section “…if the National Assembly at any time passes a resolution supported by two thirds majority of all Members of the Assembly who are entitled to vote declaring that it has no confidence in the President of Botswana, the speaker shall immediately declare the office of president vacant and the party or parties in power shall elect a new president from amongst themselves.”

However, disagreeing with Dr Dow’s proposed amendment, Minister for State President, Mr Kabo Morwaeng said there was currently provision for a motion of no confidence to be declared on the ruling government.

“Let the current system of moving a motion of no confidence against government be kept as is. We want stability, peace and tranquillity to continue to prevail in this country,” he said.

 Currently, Mr Morwaeng said there was peace and tranquillity prevailing in the country, which should not be disturbed by coming up with such an amendment in the Bill.

He also stressed that the President, did not run the country alone, but with the Cabinet and could, therefore, not be held accountable alone. Gaborone Central MP, Mr Tumisang Mangwegape-Healey said expressing doubt or no confidence in the leadership was a welcome development, adding that was however already catered for in the country’s Constitution as it allowed for moving of motion of no confidence on government. Mr Molebatsi Molebatsi, who is Mmadinare MP, also did not support the proposed amendment, arguing that the amendment would deem render the President unfit to rule the country and in turn kill the confidence in the people voting out the President and investors.

 He said the move would also affect the country’s economy, diamond, tourism and investments. Supporting the amendment, Selebi-Phikwe West MP, and also Leader of Opposition, Mr Dithapelo Keorapetse said he agreed with the amendment as it would only deal with the President, whom alone was not wanted, and would, therefore, not disrupt the entire government. He said when an individual, like President, had committed crime or corruption, they should be able to be voted out and face the law, instead of calling off the whole government. Jwaneng/Mabutsane MP, Mr Mephato Reatile also supported Dr Dow’s proposed amendment, saying it was good as it would not disrupt the whole government, but only remove the President and a new one appointed immediately from the same party or parties.

Bobonong MP, Mr Taolo Lucas also supported with the proposal. Still on Tuesday, Parliament adopted a proposed amendment to Section 112 of the Bill, by replacing the words ‘Commissioner of Police’ with the words ‘National Commissioner of Police’.

Motivating the amendment, Minister Morwaeng said the intent was meant to follow best practices in the African region. Gabane/Mmankgodi MP, Mr Kagiso Mmusi also agreed with the proposed amendment, saying only Botswana and Mauritius, in the region, were still using the title of ‘Commissioner of Police.’

“This had previously denied the commissioners from the two countries to be accorded the same respect as their counterparts when attending high profile events abroad,” he said. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Lorato Gaofise

Location : GABORONE

Event : Parliament

Date : 05 Jun 2024