The General’s Quotable Quotes [analysis]

| January 13, 2015

Those who use to frequent Parliament during the late former Vice President Lt Gen. Mompati Merafhe’s time say when in his element his comments were straightforward and sometime direct.

They say he was bold, strict and eloquent in his debate and would not be afraid to take any Member of Parliament head on. Some of his comments below in various parliamentary sessions would attest to that.

Debating during the first meeting of the second session of the sixth parliament in 1990, he said, “certainly, the thrust of our effort must be to ensure that integrity of the people who are members of these Crime Prevention Committees is completely beyond reproach even members of the police and Members of Parliament sometimes get into trouble with the police. Go na le story sa bo-Raymonds gone fa’ and I am not going to expand on that. So I do not think we should judge members of the Crime Prevention Committees by different standards.”

During the same sitting of the House when responding to MP Bahiti Temane on suggestion of salary review, he said, “Mr Speaker I think for the purpose of the record, I am entitled to make it categorically clear that with the current revolution of expectation within our work force both in government and the private sector, there is no way that a salary review can be appointed and then the next day people are told that their salaries have been reduced, it is just not possible.”

On the issue of attitude of public officers he once said, “in fact one day I was driving from Francistown on a Friday afternoon and I met the first civil servant beyond Palapye at 3.30 o’clock in the afternoon. By the time I got to Mahalapye, half of the civil servants who were destined to the North, were already around that area and I wondered who was at work.”

When he was Minister of Foreign Affairs during one of the debates General Merafhe said on of issues good neighbourliness, “as a small country we cannot, Mr Chairman, afford to be divided along party lines on matters which are of crucial importance to our survival as a nation. I also wish to express appreciation for Honourable Rantao’s comment on how we as a government have handled the Sedudu issues… ..there is really no substitute for peaceful co-existence between us and our neighbours.”

Responding to one Member of Parliament who interjected from the floor in 1999 that “Le wena o ne o le Ramasole” during a motion on investigation of allegations of personnel and management mal-practices at Botswana Meat Commission, he answered, “that is right. I was a policeman, a soldier and I am now a Member of Parliament. That is the kind of economy we have created. What is wrong with that? I am very proud to have done those jobs.

Mr speaker, the import of my statement is that the economy is such that these young people who are too impatient to wait are going to be moving from one job to another and if we are to appoint parliament enquiries to find out why Mr B has left the job, I can tell this parliament will have to set aside everything that it has to do but appoint enquires to follow people around and find out why they are leaving job.”

He continued to say “Fa e le gore BMC ga e tsamaye sentle, the chairman of that organisation is to blame. So to come here and start saying nyaa, I want to separate him from the rest of the people, he is a good man, and how can a good man run a bad organisation? Rre Koosaletse, how can that happen, through you, Mr Speaker? Do not come here and try to fool the rest of us because we know what public administration is all about. Therefore, if you want to condemn the BMC by all means, condemn it”

Debating appropriation Bill 20012002- February 2001 “Mr Speaker, the general rule as far as criticism is concerned is that every time you want to criticise, you should have alternative ideas. If you have no alternatives ideas you forfeit any right to criticise and consequently you should shut up. This is the golden rule. You cannot find fault with other people without offering alternative suggestion”

Debating draft privatization policy for Botswana -Resolution -2000 “Yaa! But it is like this Honourable Members of Parliament, of course with him he has got problem. He has been away from the barracks for a long time now, o na le mathata. He must go back to the barracks, Honorable Mzwinila. There are situations where our people have got to accept that this place is over staffed and we cannot carry these people. I want us to draw a distinction between social security and employment.” He continued to say “The two are mutually exclusive, if you want to pay people money because ke Batswana jaaka re duela batho old age pension, let us go ahead and do that. But you must not pretend that they are employed and they are not doing any work”

On globalisation he was once quoted as saying, ‘we have no choice, globalisation is a world phenomenon which we must all strive to become part of, there is very little we can do about it, whether you like it or not, you have to make sure that you become part of it, otherwise you run the risk of being marginalised.”

In most cases when in his element debating ‘The General’ would not accept any ‘point of clarification’ from colleagues because he would say they had debated their time and now would want to take his.

“Mr Speaker, I am not about to change my mind. I have made very clear that, I am going to debate. I am not going to allow myself to be heckled by people who have no ideas. The Honourable Member has debated and has not given us any ideas. What makes you think that I believe that you have suddenly become a little brighter than you were before when you held the floor. O kare o paletswe, wa bo o tsile gore ke bua ke gone o bo o re o ka bua, o ka bua eng? He was referring to Mr Michael Mzwinila.

Gen. Merafhe, died on January 7 and he will buried on Saturday in Serowe. General Merafhe is the third Vice President to have passed on since independence, others are Messrs Lenyeletse Seretse and Peter Mmusi.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Governance

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