Botswana Congress Party (BCP) has approached President Ian Khama calling for the early convening of Parliament to deal with the BCL crisis.
BCP President Dumelang Saleshando told Botswana Guardian in an interview that the Parliament session would allow for the tabling of findings by the task team of ministers, which looked into the future of BCL. At press time the letter according to Saleshando was to be written and handed to Khama before end of business yesterday (Thursday). He explained that there should be some dialogue about the issue. “We learnt that in all the meetings that are being addressed by some ministers led by the Vice President and some government officials nothing concrete has come out. As we speak we could be having investor flight out of Selibe Phikwe.
We know the President might not be comfortable dealing with opposition parties or trade unions- but what we are saying is the issue is bigger than political parties’ differences. Even when I was leader of Opposition in Parliament I had difficulty meeting the President. This time around we have to come together and save the country because this is not only about Selibe Phikwe”, stated Saleshando.He indicated that there is need to try and build a cross-partisan consensus around the future of BCL and Selibe Phikwe. “We will write to the President and request him to convene Parliament a week earlier than was scheduled”, said the former legislator.“This will allow for cabinet to table the detailed findings of the committee of ministers that was charged with the responsibility of looking into the future of BCL mine.
This report should also be shared with other key stakeholders such as the business community as well as the labour movement. It should not be assumed that only cabinet knows what is good for our nation. Key decisions on critical sectors of our economy should be subjected to the nation’s collective wisdom. The reality is that BCL and Selibe Phikwe can be economically considered to be Siamese twins. You kill one, the other one dies”, Saleshando explained. The BCP leader said there is need to take a long term view of how Selibe Phikwe can be prepared for the ultimate closure of BCL, not the kneejerk decision announced over the past weekend.
He feels that Parliament, the house of elected representatives, must be allowed to reflect on the options available and pronounce its view before the axe is brought down. Saleshando explained that the impact of the closure of the BCL mine would be severe and it would be great for the president and his cabinet to admit that they failed to achieve what they wanted and they should engage other stakeholders.