coat of arms 600x400  Parliament of Botswana 

 

 THE DRAFT BOTSWANA LANGUAGES POLICY FOR EDUCATION

Mister Speaker, I take this time to appreciate the opportunity accorded to me to address this House on the development of a Languages Policy for Education, which my Ministry will be consulting key stakeholders on as per Cabinet approval.  This follows preliminary work undertaken by the Ministry in collaboration with the University of Botswana (UB) Language experts.  

Mister Speaker, the Government of Botswana recognises the importance of introducing local languages in schools for purposes of inclusivity and equity. The introduction of these languages is to be realised through the creation of an enabling framework by way of developing the Botswana Languages Policy in Education. My Ministry has therefore developed a Draft Botswana Languages Policy in Education, which seeks to reform education towards the fulfilment of social and economic aspirations identified in the National Development Plans (NDPs), Vision 2036 as well as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Mister Speaker, the main intent of the Botswana Languages Policy in Education is to promote language development and quality education that is accessible, equitable and relevant to all learners. It will also serve as a democratic and unifying factor for a proud and self-respecting nation.  It aims to promote languages development and facilitate access to relevant quality education by all learners.  The Draft Policy is expected to facilitate systematic transition from home to school using mother tongue for instruction. It will furthermore provide a framework to guide the development and use of different languages not only as medium of instruction but also as subjects in the long term.  This will contribute significantly to the realization of the Vision 2036 ideals of a moral, tolerant, and inclusive society that provides opportunities for all.   

Mister Speaker, research has demonstrated that teaching children in their mother tongue or local language, during their formative years, creates a crucial foundation for their conceptual, cognitive, and affective development. The term “mother tongue” should be held to mean the language that a person learned as a child usually from their parents or has been used to refer to the language which the child has acquired and mastered at home before school. 

The Draft Botswana Languages Policy in Education is premised on the five national principles of: Democracy, Development, Self-reliance, Unity and Botho. These national principles represent the value system upon which the nation of Botswana is built and thus, naturally form the core values for Education. The Draft Policy: 

  1. Specifies the status and role of each Language in the curriculum;
  2. Guides which Languages may be used as a medium of instruction and which ones may be used as subjects;
  3. Identifies Languages to be used as means of instruction, in transit platform, literacy, proficiency development and communication skills at each level of education;
  4. Guides on the training of Language teachers and on the kind of pedagogy to be used in their specialisation and teaching skills;
  5. Determines the nature of materials to be prepared in terms of cultural, political, social and economic content in the curriculum.

Mister Speaker, the key recommendations from the Draft Policy, which will inform the consultations include:

  1. The introduction of mother tongue from pre-primary level until Standard 2 to allow for smooth transition.  While there are ongoing investigations on local languages development, so far, eleven (11) languages have been identified, with the possibility of additional languages. These 11 languages are proposed for Phase 1 implementation from January 2022, on grounds that they are highly developed in terms of description, codification, orthography as well as reading materials.  These languages are well spoken, and there are already teachers who speak them.  These are mostly cross-border languages, also taught in neighbouring countries such as South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia, which means it would be easy to get readily available instructional materials for adaptation. These are: Sheyeyi, ThiMbukushu, Ikalanga, Shakgalagari, Chikuhane (Sesubiya), IsiNdebele, Afrikaans, Naro (Sesarwa), Shona, Otjiherero and, Sign Language. 
  2. The use of Setswana as a national Language should be introduced in Standard 1 as a medium of instruction in a systematic and progressive transition from mother tongue up to Standard 3. Thereafter, it shall be taught as a subject.
  3. Setswana as a compulsory subject for all citizens to foster national unity and cultural identity.
  4. The gradual introduction of local languages as subjects in the curriculum, as determined by availability of orthography and other resources.
  5. The development of a standardised Botswana Sign Language.
  6. The gradual introduction of foreign languages in the curriculum.

Mister Speaker, nation-wide stakeholder consultations will commence in August 2021 and be completed by end of October 2021.  It is critical to consult with Batswana prior to implementation for purposes of support and advocacy. The consultations will target all Ministries, Ntlo Ya Dikgosi, Trade Unions, District Councils, the Media, the Business Community, civic and non-governmental organisations and, Batswana at large.

In conclusion, Mister Speaker, I appeal to members of this Honourable House, to support this consultative process towards the development of the Botswana Languages Policy in Education. This is because the Languages Policy in Education shall:

  • enhance pedagogy by creating a conducive environment for the learners in the country, as they will access education through familiar languages and culture; hence, allowing the passage from the known (mother tongue) to the unknown (Setswana & English or any other foreign Language). This will enhance their learning and development of skills.
  • Ensure that all languages in the country are used in education according to their prevalence, function, level of motivation and demographic distribution. Such a democratic and inclusive approach shall be equitable putting all Batswana on board ensuring their participation in national affairs, access to education and, nation building. 
  • encourage Batswana to appreciate their languages and cultures, as true resources which are recognised, valued and used in various domains (Vision 2036), including education. This in turn will enhance their self-esteem, pride, self-respect, unity and participation as true citizens of Botswana.
  • foster not only equal access but also motivation in school attendance and performance. It shall enhance democratisation of education and unpack the Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) to link up and contribute to the envisaged knowledge economy. 

Mister Speaker, the success of the Botswana Languages Policy in Education requires buy-in and full participation from all stakeholders including the national leadership, community, non-governmental and faith-based organisations, private sector and parents, teachers and learners.

Mister Speaker, as per our 2019 Elections Manifesto titled “Advancing Together Towards A More Inclusive Economy”, the BDP Government promised Batswana that we will “introduce the teaching of various indigenous languages in our classrooms and Universities to ensure that learners’ cultures and languages are developed and promoted”.  The journey has started.  The Draft Botswana Languages Policy in Education is a critical step in ensuring that languages will not be used to separate the people of this country but rather to unite them.  The time is ripe for us to ensure that we embrace our diversity and build a more inclusive economy that promotes identity and culture whilst ensuring that no citizen is left behind in achieving their full potential.

I thank you, Mister Speaker.

------------------THE END------------------

 

HONOURABLE DUMELANG SALESHANDO

Statement to Parliament by Leader of Opposition in terms of Standing Order 9.3.2

15 July 2021

Mr Speaker, 

Two days ago, His Excellency President Mokgweetsi Masisi addressed the nation on what was expected to be an update on the Covid 19 situation in the country. The President in the main reported the following;

  1. Covid cases have rapidly increased in the last five months.
  2. Deaths due to Covid have increased with 1,253 deaths recorded to date, compared to 300 deaths 5 months ago
  3. The vaccine rollout continues at a snail pace and some may only get their vaccine in late 2022
  4. We should expect the Covid 19 situation to get worse before it gets better
  5. In the absence of a plan to flatten the curve, the nation has been called upon to pray for divine intervention.

It has become clear that the address by the President left many questions unanswered.  He simply stated what the country already knew.  The dire situation in our hospitals was ignored by the address.  Botswana only has 115 intensive care beds that are all fully occupied as reported by Assistant Minister of Health.  There are no additional beds for admission of the critically ill and Emergency Sections in hospitals are turning patients away as they are over stretched.  Mortuaries in hospitals are also not coping with the numbers coming through.  Isolation centres contracted by government for Covid positive patients lie empty due to governments inability to pay the contracted service providers at the time when we have 8,970 active cases.  Some of the active cases reside in high density residential areas and are being sent back to fuel the spread of the virus instead of being isolated.

There is no doubt that the leadership has no plan to guide the nation through the biggest threat to our existence since independence.  To this end, I choose not to focus on the glaring and multiple deficiencies of the speech.  I have chosen to provide counsel to the ruling party on behalf of the opposition and hope that for once, they will listen and not opt to demonise us as if our membership of the National Assembly is less inferior to theirs.

What needs to be done?

  1. Admit Mistakes and Avoid Repeating them

Let’s admit our shortcomings and agree to join hands as we now start the difficult journey of defeating Covid, lest we all perish across the political divide.  A number of monumental mistakes were committed which we should pledge to never repeat.  We subjected the country to a hard lockdown and lengthy State of Public Emergency.  No country in the world has resorted to such extreme measures like a lengthy State of Emergency as a response to Covid 19.  A hard lockdown is a temporary measure to slow down the virus while the health sector is capacitated and prepared for the worst-case scenario.  In the case of Botswana, huge amounts of funds were deployed for the fight against Covid19 but the health sector remains as weak as it was before the advent of Covid 19. 

Only now is the Ministry of Health and Wellness frantically trying to convert wards at Masunga, Serowe and Mmadinare hospitals into high care units. Only now, the same Ministry is talking of floating a tender for oxygen supply in public hospitals.  These tasks should have been done and completed more than a year ago when Covid donations were pouring in from the private sector?

Let us make a commitment today that we will do all that is possible to make sure that there is full accountability for the funds that were disbursed for Covid related procurements. How did such huge amounts not transform our health sector.

  1. Ramp up Vaccination

The vaccine roll-out has to be the top most priority of our priorities.  The President has to personally lead in securing the vaccines for the nation in the same way former President Mogae championed access to ARV to curb the HIV AIDS related deaths.  For our population size and the cordial relations we have with leading countries that manufacture vaccines, we can definitely do better than we are currently performing.  Botswana needs to vaccinate all those that need to be vaccinated before the end of 2021 and not 2022 as proposed by the President.  If we all put our minds to it, we can fully vaccinate the nation by end of 2021, Its Possible.  

The President needs to slow down on foreign trips aimed at securing the SADC job for the Ambassador at Large and focus on securing vaccines.  How does a country like Zimbabwe that is under sanctions manage to secure vaccines and are currently vaccinating 40,000 people daily when we have only managed to fully vaccinate 108,000 since vaccinations started in March 2021.

There is evidence to show that our vaccination plan is in shambles. The President in his address stated at paragraph 12 that we are expecting total of 550.000 vaccines by December 2021.  On the other hand, the Assistant Minister of Health and Wellness reported to Parliament less 24 hours after the address by the President that they are expecting over a million vaccines before the end of the year.

Furthermore, the President expects us to attain herd immunity by end of 2022.  The Minister on the other hand expects 80% of the nation to be vaccinated by March 2022. Clearly the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing and this will lead to unnecessary deaths. 

  1. Local Manufacture of Vaccines

Botswana needs to urgently undertake to explore the manufacture of vaccines.  Viruses such as Covid 19 will forever remain part of our reality and pose threats to human beings.  If Botswana can successfully operate Botswana Vaccine Institute that manufactures and exports cattle vaccines to other countries, why should Botswana not position itself as the main SADC manufacturer of vaccines such as the ones used for Covid?  What is the value of our exceptionally cordial relations with more developed countries if we cannot leverage on their experience and technology to manufacture critical vaccines and drugs for Africa?

  1. Vaccination of Teachers and other front liners

We support the decision to close schools.  It is a pity that the President only yielded to the pressure for schools to be closed after more than 60 deaths of teachers and threat of court action.  There was clear evidence that our schools had become super spreaders and the advent of winter exacerbated the spread of the virus in schools.  Government needs to now act with haste and vaccinate all teachers as well as non-teaching staff in schools irrespective of age before schools reopen.  Failure to do this will only result in a possible crisis for the education sector.  We need to assure the teachers that they will be vaccinated before schools reopen.  Other front liners like the Police and Immigration workers at points of entry also need to be vaccinated within the shortest possible time.

  1.   Ivermectin Deployment

Since the outbreak of Covid 19, there has been debate on the medical use of Ivermectin for Covid patients.  Experts in countries like the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain and Japan have published reports that show how the drug significantly reduces mortality.  An increasing number of countries are approving the use of the drug for Covid patients, including South Africa and Zimbabwe.  Why is Botswana not considering the use of the drug given the uncontrollable increase in infection? 

  1. Saving Businesses

Business confidence is possibly at its all-time lowest level.  Industries are not able to plan for the future given the uncertainties that are occasioned by the virus.  It is important that government should avoid escalating the uncertainties that we all face.  The ban on sale of alcoholic beverages should be time bound and not indefinite.  This will allow the industry to plan better and possibly avoid unnecessary loss of jobs.  The State of Public Emergency should now be terminated.  Countries like the USA that we depend on for the inflow of tourists are discouraging their citizens from travelling to Botswana on account of the unending State of Public Emergency.  President Masisi should terminate the State of Emergency forthwith as it has no impact in curbing the transmission of the virus.  The only industry that benefits from the State of Emergency is corruption.

  1. Stability in Public Service

Since the outbreak of Covid 19, the Ministry of Health and Wellness has experienced unending staff movements at the top level.  Ministers have changed, permanent secretaries have changed at least 3 times and so has the Director of Public Health.  This is not the way to fight a health pandemic.

There is also a need to avoid creating new positions at the drop of a hat.  We recently created a position that adds no value to the interests of the country called Ambassador at Large.  Do we really need this post?  We have increased the number of Assistant Ministers at the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to 3 so as to reward Hon. Pono Moatlhodi for defecting to the BDP.  Is this prudent utilization of dwindling national resources?

The decision to create a position of Chief of Staff should be reconsidered.  What has necessitated the creation of this post?  The Office of the President has a Permanent Secretary to the President, and other permanent secretaries with deputies.  

  1. National Covid Pitso

There is need for the President to reach out to all stake holders and consult on coming up with a workable plan to avoid the route to increasing Covid deaths.  The address confirmed that there is no plan in place.  The President needs to appreciate that the nation is in a pensive and uneasy mood.  Relatives are queuing up to collect lifeless bodies from mortuaries, others are in ques for admission to non-available hospital beds.   We need to come together as a nation to protect ourselves against a common enemy.  There is need for the nation to be reassured that politicians from across the political divide, trade unionists, the business community, community-based organizations as well as the clergy are holding hands to save the nation.

When the nation comes together to pray, it should not be praying for a miracle, but for the success of a plan that has benefitted from the wisdom of all the leaders.

Conclusion

Botswana can defeat Covid-19, all it takes is leadership. Countries with weak financial background like Greece have done exceptionally well in combating the virus, while a super power like America performed badly. It is about leadership, not financial power. Repressive regimes like Vietnam are also turning the tide successfully, it is not about being the envy of the world, it is about leadership that is focused.

Mr. Speaker, I wish to call upon all Batswana to remember that we all need to play our part in defeating Covid.  Let us all reflect deeply each time we decide to travel out of our homes.  Stay home if the trip you had wanted to undertake is not critical.  Let us wash our hands frequently, wear masks in all public places and follow appropriate social distancing rules.  Together we can defeat Covid 19.

By Moses Magadza

A regional symposium organized by the SADC Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) for SADC parliaments last week has revealed pitfalls on the road towards full realization of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and galvanized parliamentary action as the region angles for rich pickings from the colossal trade agreement.

The AfCFTA Agreement was signed in 2018 but came into force in January this year. Its newly-appointed Secretary General, South African Wamkele Mene, said with a membership of 55 countries, the AfCFTA is poised to be “the largest Free Trade Area (FTA) in the world in terms of membership, covering a market of 1.3 billion people with a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of US$3.4 trillion” according to projections made in 2020.

“The overall objective of the AfCFTA is to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments, paving the way for accelerating the establishment of the Continent’s first ever Customs Union,” Mene explained.

At the start of its virtual 49th Plenary Assembly Session which drew the participation of 13 national parliaments from the SADC Region on June 25, 2021, the SADC PF convened the symposium under the theme: “Leveraging the AfCFTA for Post-Covid Economic Recovery in Southern Africa: The Role of SADC Parliamentary Forum and National Parliaments”.

Botswana’s Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Mmusi Kgafela moderated the symposium. Mene; Dr Khutula Sibanda, Director Industrial Development and Trade at SADC (who represented SADC Executive Secretary Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax); Mr Phazha Butale, Chief Negotiator in Botswana’s Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry; and Ms Paulina Mbala Elago, Executive Secretary for the Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU) made presentations.

In opening remarks, Kgafela hailed the AfCFTA.

“The AfCFTA is anticipated to be a vehicle for Africa’s economic transformation through facilitation of movement of goods and services, competition, investment and intellectual property,” he said.

He added: “The immediate benefits of the AfCFTA are expected to come from a reduction in tariffs/duties, elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) and cutting red tape by simplifying customs procedures.”

However, he warned that the AfCFTA would not work for the continent by default and called for active involvement of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) including SADC and the region’s parliamentarians.

“The impact of the AfCFTA will depend not only on what is agreed in the negotiations, but also on whether African countries domesticate, implement, and comply with the provisions of the AfCFTA Agreement,” he said. 

On the role of SADC PF, Kgafela said it would include “advocating for inclusion of the AfCFTA implementation in national laws, National Development Plans and all other legislation existing in the country…  awareness raising and amplifying citizen’s voices in the AfCFTA processes”.

While acknowledging that the AfCFTA presents wonderful potential benefits that include a possible industrial boom and more jobs, Sibanda flagged challenges that he said could make or break the FTA.

These include Intra Africa Trade which is deemed low at about 19 percent; low levels of export diversification, itself a symptom of weak value chains; poor connectivity infrastructure; low macroeconomic integration convergence; weak participation of Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs); and low gender parity. 

“The success of the Continental Free Trade will, therefore, largely depend on the extent to which the above challenges are going to be addressed,” Sibanda warned but said industrialization would likely stand the continent in good stead.

To that end, he urged SADC parliamentarians to familiarize themselves with and support the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap of 2015-2063, “which seeks to achieve economic and technological transformation in the region, through among others, promotion of investments, and partnership with the private sector”.

On infrastructure, Sibanda said the SADC Regional Infrastructure Investment Master Plan was being implemented to facilitate the design and construction of critical infrastructure projects within the SADC region covering the transport sector, energy, Information Communication Technology (ICT) and water, among others. 

On his part, Butale described the AfCFTA as the “fastest ratified agreement in the history of African Union”. Although Botswana had not ratified the Agreement, she had submitted an initial offer on trade and services covering five priority areas: communications, transport, tourism, financial services and professional services. 

He urged SADC and other RECs to create a conducive environment for the AfCFTA to succeed.

 “You need the correct infrastructure, a developed industrial base to manufacture finished products and an integrated market,” he said.

Butale said developing industry and creating value chains on the continent would reduce unemployment which has afflicted mostly women and the youth.

He suggested simplifying and agreeing to customs procedures which are predictable, transparent and harmonized across borders to make it easier for traders to move cargo from one part of the continent to the other. 

Turning to the pharmaceutical industry, he said COVID-19 had exposed gaps within Africa and exhorted MPs to join the fight against the “monopolistic and protectionist patent laws” to facilitate production of generic medicines.

SACU’s Elago also welcomed the AfCFTA and said it could significantly alter the African status quo of low intra-trade.

 “The AfCFTA is a timely policy imperative and although it is not a panacea, it can be a serious game-changer,” said Elago, adding that it was aligned with the objective of SACU of deepening regional integration and industrialization. She said the FTA also offered opportunities for enhanced trade.

Although the SACU Agreement did not include trade in services, Elago called for investment in the sector. She explained that SACU had adopted industrialization as an over-arching objective with focus on regional value chains, export promotion and investment, trade facilitation and logistics. 

She expounded that SACU had identified priority sectors that include agro processing with focus on leather and leather products, fruits and vegetables, meat and meat products, textile and clothing, pharmaceuticals and chemicals. 

With COVID-19 still raging, Elago said it was imperative that Africa becomes “self-sufficient” in the pharmaceutical sector and welcomed the African Development Bank’s decision to support Africa’s pharmaceutical industry. 

She encouraged SADC parliaments under the SADC PF to among others expedite ratification and domestication of the AfCFTA Agreement, address skills development while ensuring a conducive environment for cross-border trade support towards Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs), women and the youth.

An MP from Mozambique, Carlos Moreira Vasco, said some COVID-19 related measures imposed by some countries to contain the pandemic were posing “severe obstacles towards the full operationalization of the goal of a single portal of circulation of goods and services and investments on the continent”. 

He said Mozambique had initiated a study on the impact of ratifying and implementing the AfCFTA on its economy before ratifying.

“We need to combine our efforts and exchange good legislative practices at national level and at the level of SADC PF to make the Free Trade Area a success,” he said.

While pledging Mozambique’s commitment to the AfCFTA, he called for laws that would “facilitate a successful implementation of the AfCFTA as well as policies that will allow innovation and digitalization”.

The Speaker of the Parliament of Zimbabwe, Advocate Jacob Mudenda said his country had ratified the AfCFTA Agreement but said COVID-19 had to be defeated if its implementation was to be successful.

 “We cannot implement the AfCFTA if Africa is sick and suffering from COVID-19,” he said and challenged the Center for Disease Control in Africa to expedite research on COVID-19 and “come up with our own brand of vaccine rather than crying for patents from other countries”.

Mudenda called, also, for development of Africa’s indigenous medicines “that are being used quietly but are not being investigated for their efficacy”.

He continued: “That research must be buttressed by our universities which are currently sleeping and yet we have so much intellectual power in Africa. Our universities must wake up and come up with research to fight not only COVID-19 but other diseases.” 

Mudenda called for legal reforms and harmonization and argued that the AfCFTA could not succeed in an environment fraught with “disjointed” laws.

“Our customs and immigration laws need to be harmonized so that there is free movement of goods and services within the continent,” he said. 

He said roads and railway systems should be developed and harmonized while ports are modernized to cope with increased movement of goods and services. 

He was particularly scathing about the continent’s air services which he said needed to be improved in terms of connectivity.

 “Currently to visit some African countries, you have to go via Europe. This is a shame!” he said.

 Mudenda urged Africa to embrace the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” and suggested the continent’s universities conduct research on improved technologies especially on the digital aspect. 

On enabling resources, he advocated for “an African martial plan” so that countries pool resources together instead of relying on external funding.

“The African Development Bank needs to wake up and lead accordingly,” he said.

He ended by calling for “thought leadership that is innovative and courageous to take decisions” that can sometimes appear painful but produce beneficial results in the long-term. 

Botswana lawmaker Dumelang Saleshando encouraged all African member states to ratify and domesticate the AfCFTA Agreement.

He said: “It’s critical for us to move together. If we are going to break down trade barriers, it serves no purpose if one member of the chain shows less enthusiasm than the others,” he said. 

Saleshando stressed the importance of monitoring and evaluation and advised the SADC PF to promote a culture of regularly discussing trade statistics.

“Figures don’t lie,” he said.

A representative of the East Africa Legislative Assembly underscored the importance of peace and security in making the AfCFTA a success.

“Without peace and security, there is no chance of trading. Peace is paramount for any development however rich you are,” she said.

Zimbabwean MP Anele Ndebele said the symposium had been an eye-opener.

“It became very clear today that the implementation of the AfCFTA has a significant potential to serve as a catalyst for Africa’s post pandemic recovery,” Ndebele said.

He added: “AfCFTA is an important vehicle for realizing the Pan-African vision of regional and economic integration and structural transformation for Africa’s economy.”

Ends/.

 

 
The National Assembly of Botswana has elected Hon. Pono Moatlhodi MP for Tonota Constituency as the new Deputy Speaker. This comes after the former Deputy Speaker Hon. Mabuse Pule MP, for Mochudi East Constituency , was appointed as the Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development. Moatlhodi was also the Deputy Speaker during the 10th Parliament which was from (2009 - 2014)
Former Deputy Speakers of the National Assembly:
Hon. G. G. Sebeso, MP
1965 - 1989
Hon. E. S. Masisi PH, PMS, MP
1989 - 1993
1994 - 1999
Hon. L. Makgekgenene, MP
1993 - 1994
Hon. B. K. Temane, MP
1999 - 2004
Hon. G. K. T. Kokorwe, MP
2004 - 2008
Hon. T. D. Mogami, MP
2008 - 2009
Hon. P. P. P. Moatlhodi, MP
2009 - 2014
Hon. K. P. Molatlhegi, MP
2014 - 2019
Hon. M. Pule, MP
2019 - 2021
The National Assembly shall be presided over by the Deputy Speaker in the absence of the Speaker; or in the absence of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker, such Member of the
1. Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen, Members of the 4th Estate, the Clerk and staff of the National Assembly, and let me take this opportunity to welcome you to this virtual media briefing.
2. The purpose of this media briefing is to share with you the business forecast for the 3rd Meeting of the 2nd Session of the 12th Parliament, also known as the Winter or General meeting. The meeting is expected to commence on Monday 5th July 2021 and it will end on or around the 13th August 2021.
3. Today’s briefing will also highlight matters discussed during the just ended 49th SADC-PF Plenary Assembly Virtual Session.
4. Parliament as one of the three Arms of Government, has a mandate or is regulated to carry out its business despite the hardships that the country is faced with at the moment. Our country is experiencing a high number of COVID’ 19 cases and deaths, and is currently hit by the third wave which is said to be more dangerous than the other waves.
5. As you may be aware, Parliament holds three meetings in a Session and each meeting has its own focus or agenda.
6. The 1st Meeting held in November to December focuses on the State of the Nation Address presented by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Botswana, the second meeting which is held in February to April discusses the National Budget and is presented by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. The third meeting, also known as the General meeting, is held in July to August, the focus of the meeting is on Law Making. This is the core mandate of Parliament as espoused in Section 86 of the Constitution of the Republic of Botswana. The third meeting concludes a Session of Parliament.
7. As we are about to commence the third meeting, we have since received a number of Bills and other Business from the Executive which will be considered by Parliament. To date I have received 14 Bills, 343 Questions and 5 Policies for consideration. We expect more Bills to be tabled during the course of the meeting.
8. In an effort to curb the spread of COVID 19 pandemic, the meeting will once again be held virtually and the proceedings will be broadcast live on Botswana Television and Radio Botswana and live streamed on social media platforms (BW Parliament Facebook page).
9. I trust that you have also observed that Parliamentary Oversight Committees have followed the set tradition of the virtually meetings.
“Ke dumela gore ke diphetogo tse disha tse eleng gore di le itsa go tla gore bona ka matlho, ntse le re botsa dipotso ka bongwe ka bongwe, mme ke dumela kere fa re ka fenya segajaja se, re ka boela ko botshelong jo nne re bo itse”
9. Other expected business to be considered is the usual Questions and Motions tabled by Members of Parliament, part of which are carried over from the Budget meeting.
10. You may also be aware that Parliament of Botswana has successfully hosted the just ended 49th SADC Parliamentary Forum Virtual Plenary Assembly from the 25th to 27th June 2021. The theme for the Plenary Assembly was
“Leveraging the AFCTA for post COVID Economic Recovery in Southern Africa: The role of SADC-PF and National Parliaments”.
As would be the tradition, the Assembly received Statements of solidarity from other Sister Parliaments in East Africa, West Africa, Pan African Parliament and the Regional Women’s Parliamentary Caucus. The focus of the statements provided different perspectives on theme, and served as referral documents for discussions which ensued thereafter.
The Assembly also received Reports from the Standing Committees and deliberated on Motions from Members.
Resolutions of the Plenary will be communicated in writing by the Secretariat to all the Member Parliaments.
It is expected that the resolutions of the Plenary once received will be domesticated and implemented by all Member Parliaments to improve the livelihoods and economies of the SADC Region.
11. Lastly, let me thank you all for gracing this event and encourage you to follow COVID 19 protocols. Stay home and stay safe.
I wish you a blessed day!
PULA!

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