Botswana MPs want live transmission of debates

By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana

Botswana Members of Parliament (MPs) have made repeated call for the parliamentary debates to be beamed live each time they are in session. A recent parliamentary seating witnessed a cacophony of MPs reiterating the calls for their debates to get to people in real-time.  

MPs, who were debating the Parliament budget estimates for the 2015/16 financial year, asked the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Eric Molale to hasten the process of live broadcasts of Parliamentary debates.

The first to move the motion was Major General Pius Mokgware the Gabane-Mmankgodi MP, who asked for Parliament to be independent from the affairs of the Office of the President and be made an independent entity, said live broadcasting of debates, would enable the public to see how their MPs represented them.

Another MP who called for live television broadcasting of Parliament was Kostantinos Markus of Maun East.  He said, “It is important for Parliament proceedings to be broadcast live to the public because MPs are representatives of the people. People must see what is happening in Parliament.”

The newly elected and one of the most involving young MPs, Dithapelo Keorapetse, MP of Selebi Phikwe West, added his voice in favour of live broadcasts of the debates on Btv and Radio Botswana. “People want to see Members of Parliament speaking in Parliament,” said Keorapetse.

However, minister responsible for government information Eric Molale said broadcasting Parliament proceedings live on television required lot of resources.  “Government was still struggling to make those resources available,” Molale added.

“When the resources are available live broadcasting of Parliament will definitely be done,” he said. 

A number of people among the general public also welcomed the idea of a live broadcast. One Kesego said “We need to see them in action and get a taste of what we have voted for this way, we know if they are capable or not.”

Another one, Tshepo Mothoeng also pointed out that “The broadcasting will create transparency to be able to see how active the MPs we elect are or are they just wasting our votes.” However, others were of the view that a dedicated channel specifically for debates should be created.

“I propose that a dedicated parliament channel be created besides Botswana Television,” Tshepo Mothoeng weighed in again. 

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