By Bakang Mhaladi
GABORONE-FAULTY air conditioners and high temperatures due to the heatwave forced Botswana’s parliament to cancel its Monday afternoon sitting.
The Botswana National Assembly deputy speaker, Kagiso Molatlhegi, was forced to halt proceedings just an hour into Monday’s afternoon session after MPs complained about sweaty conditions.
Unusually high temperatures swept across the region starting last week, but weather experts expect them to ease with rains now predicted.
Before Molatlhegi decided to adjourn parliament, Member of Parliament for Mogoditshane, Sedirwa Kgoroba, had requested that members be allowed to remove their jackets since it was “too hot”.
But the deputy speaker declined the request, arguing parliament should proceed as technicians were attending to the air conditioners.
After parliament’s question and answer session, the deputy speaker adjourned sitting for 10 minutes before deciding to call off the day’s proceedings.
“I’m told that the problem is bigger than what I thought and cannot be solved now, so we have to adjourn for the day,” Molatlhegi then told lawmakers.
But others were not amused at the decision to adjourn, arguing that precious time was lost.
“This is a timed session, whereby we only have 24 days to do parliament business. Although there is no choice, we are losing time,” said opposition whip, Wynter Mmolotsi.
Mmolotsi said he understood the decision to adjourn as parliament had no windows for ventilation and relied solely on air conditioners. “The problem is the building has no windows for ventilation, so you can imagine.”
President Ian Khama recently convened a special sitting to discuss the country’s National Development Plan (NDP) 11. The NDP is a socio-economic blueprint on which all national budgets are based.