Leader of Opposition, Dumelang Saleshando had planned to sail in uncharted waters by addressing Kgotla meetings across the country to inform the nation about the mandate of his office and the role of the opposition in a democracy.
This was a terrain never tried by his predecessors and rightly raised eyebrows in some quarters. With just one meeting into his schedule a directive was apparently issued from the Office of the President to the Ramotswa District Commissioner to effectively stop a meeting that was scheduled to take place in that village on Wednesday. Saleshando was stopped on his tracks. However, there is now confusion if indeed instructions were issued from the OP. Government spokesperson Dr. Jeff Ramsay told Botswana Guardian that he was not aware of the directive and referred questions to parliament. Presidential Affairs minister Mokgweetsi Masisi denied that there was a directive issued to stop the Leader of Opposition’s Kgotla meetings.
“There is no word from us (instruction to stop the meetings),” he said before referring the matter to the Clerk of the National Assembly saying the administration of the office of Leader of Opposition is done from parliament. Parliament falls under the presidential affairs ministry. The clerk of the national assembly could not be reached for comment as well as the Speaker of the National Assembly Dr. Margret Nasha. The Ramotswa District Commissioner Moses Gaealafswe could not be drawn into discussing the issue.
“Talk to the Clerk of the National Assembly,” he said. According to Saleshando the Clerk of the National Assembly on Wednesday informed him that the OP has instructed that the meetings should not continue. But his efforts to get a formal communiqué hit a snag. Saleshando said he would engage the Clerk’s office on the issue. He said he consulted Nasha about addressing Kgotla meetings and the Speaker had no problems with it.