Member of Parliament for Francistown South Wynter Mmolotsi has expressed concern regarding decisions by Minister of Defence Justice and Security Shaw Kgathi to present to Parliament most of his Bills on urgency.
This is after Kgathi requested Parliament that Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Bill, 2018 (No. 20 of 2018) be proceeded with as Matter of Urgency. This did not sit well with Mmolotsi who accused the minister of not taking Parliament seriously.
“Kgathi is not taking his role as a Minister seriously. We are talking about the 2016 East and Southern Africa Anti Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) Report. Since 2016, Kgathi has been sitting on this report. He only comes here today to tell us that it is an urgent matter that needs to be discussed here and now. I wish to indicate that I am extremely unhappy about this because we need as MPs to be given ample time not only to read these Bills but also to consult our people.
“He talks about a Bill that was noticed when we were already here and therefore would not have the opportunity to even discuss with our constituents,” argued Mmolotsi. Most of the Bills tabled in the ongoing Parliament session come following assessment by ESAAMLG.
The report indicates that there are some deficiencies in some of Botswana’s laws.Mmolotsi, who is also Alliance for Progressives (AP) Vice President, stated that they have to come to Parliament and talk about something that they have not even consulted their constituents about. “In fact, this is what my people decry all the time, that we make laws here but we never get their views,” he said. Mmolotsi said he has noticed that minister Kgathi wants to enjoy this kind of trend where he just comes to Parliament and tells them that the Bills are urgent.
“I do not want to agree with Kgathi that this thing is urgent. I would rather say Kgathi has been very irresponsible. He sat on his job and now he wants us to assist him to get out of the mess. I do not agree that this Bill is urgent and therefore I would urge that Honourable Members of this House must teach Kgathi a lesson he will never forget because we cannot continue to condone this kind of irresponsibility,” Mmolotsi said.
Kgathi said the 2016 report of ESAAMLG was done and they felt Botswana was very compliant. He indicated that this is a completely new Bill, which following the report of a meeting which was held in South Africa last year, ESAAMLG then came up with an additional report.He said there is no way he could force the Bill on urgency if it was not urgent to deal with such amendment urgently so as to meet the set deadline for compliance which is next month.