Bots parly opposition seats swell
Gaborone – Botswana has registered the highest number of opposition Members of Parliament ever following the formation of a breakaway party, Botswana Movement for Democracy from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party. When the winter session of the 10th Parliament started this week, the number of opposition MPs shot from 12 to 16, the highest since independence in 1966. The highest number to be recorded was after the 1994 general elections when the Botswana National Front (BNF) won 13 parliamentary seats out of the then 40 contested constituencies. Statistics show that the BDP has 40 MPs, BNF six, Botswana Congress Party six, BMD four and an independent MP Nehemiah Modubule who has since revealed that he is ready to join an opposition party that will show interest in him. University of Botswana political scientist Dr Zibani Maundeni says the increase in the number of opposition MPs will result in robust parliamentary debates. “The expectation is that the increase in the number of opposition MPs will strengthen the voice of the opposition in Parliament.” Meanwhile, BMD Deputy Chairperson Botsalo Ntuane told the Southern Times that as the new kid in the block they have a lot of motions that they would table. “We have lined up a number of motions among them my motion on Constitutional Review and the Media Practitioners Act which we want repealed. We will be firing from all angles this time around,” said Ntuane who is the MP for Gaborone West South. He said they also expect some councillors and MPs to defect from the ruling party to join BMD. “We have also devised strategies as to how people who are interested in joining our party from the BDP would be done. The defections are going to be done in phases and our followers should be patient,” he said. But BDP Publicity Manager Segaetsho Garekwe was not shaken by reports of defections. “That is their propaganda. When they started forming the new party they were saying that they were expecting 25 MPs, and only four have defected. We have told our members to remain calm,” he said.