LEGISLATORS DEBATE CONSTITUTION AMENDMENT BILL

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LEGISLATORS DEBATE CONSTITUTION AMENDMENT BILL
LEGISLATORS DEBATE CONSTITUTION AMENDMENT BILL

Africa-Press – Botswana. Member of Parliament for Mochudi West has welcomed the proposed amendment of the Botswana Constitution as an important process that will further expand and include review of some policies and primary legislation.

Debating the Constitution Amendment Bill of 2024, which was presented before the National Assembly on Monday,

Mr Mmusi Kgafela said the review, upon approval, would address some of the non-discrimination as well as second generation rights.

“It should be taken into account that where there is a right, there should be a corresponding obligation to such right as rights to health, education and work,”

Mr Kgafela said, adding that the clause in the amendment speaking to persons with intersex would address some of the matters that were before the courts, which were not covered by the Constitution.

Some of the proposed amendments, he said, should however, be subjected to a referendum, citing the clause relating to the composition of Judicial Service Commission (JSC) positions that proposed provision for the President to submit three nominees for the position of Chief Justice and the President of the Court of Appeal to a Judicial Committee for assessment and interview.

Contributing to the debate, Tonota MP, Mr Pono Moatlhodi said he supported the Bill in its entirety, arguing that for the longest time, protection of intersex persons and persons with disabilities was not provided for in Constitution.

On the composition of the JSC, Mr Moatlhodi opined that retired judges and magistrates be considered because they had the requisite experience to form part of the judicial bench.

“There is nothing wrong with subjecting members of the JSC for an interview. This will be a move in the right direction because it would be a fair assessment,” he said.

The legislator further expressed support for the proposed voting for representatives to Ntlo Ya Dikgosi, saying such a move would present a fair and neutral representation of leaders.

MP for Ngami, Mr Caterpillar Hikuama said Batswana were promised a comprehensive constitutional review, whereas what was currently presented was however bits and pieces of the Constitution.

Mr Hikuama also reiterated that the clauses on the Bill that required a referendum should had been discussed by the public before Parliament resumed.

“In that regard, I feel that the Bill is being rushed. The Constitution is not meant for the ruling party members, but should be regarded as a delicate instrument that should be inclusive,” he said.

He added that the proposed Constitution amendments missed to include some of the recommendations or views by Batswana on the election of the President, but instead proposed increase of specially elected MPs.

“There is no need for provision of 10 specially elected MPs in the Constitution. Instead, those 10 positions should be created as vacancies that should be contested for,” he said.

The Constitution Amendment Bill of 2024, presented before Parliament for second reading by Minister for State President, Mr Kabo Morwaeng, followed a report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the Review of Constitution of Botswana which was presented to President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi in September 2022.

The report, Parliament heard, contained 93 recommendations of which 31 related to the Constitution, 39 to primary legislation and 23 to policy.

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