Koma calls for proportional representation

Published November 26th 2003 in Mmegi
Member of Parliament for Gaborone South, Dr Kenneth Koma yesterday renewed his call for proportional representation in Botswana politics. Speaking in Parliament in response to President Festus Mogae's State of the Nation address, the former leader of opposition argued that it was in Botswana's national interest to introduce the system as a way of broadening democracy.

He reasoned that the country could get even more international accolades for such a move, stating that it was a way of recognizing the strength of other political parties, even if they do not manage to win elections. He asserted that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) was not performing very well and that the question of voter apathy is being glossed over. He said voter apathy is not being investigated to establish its fundamental causes. However Mmegi can reveal that in March 2002, the IEC published a report on voter apathy. The report was done in conjunction with the Democracy Research project of the University of Botswana.

On other issues, Koma urged the ruling Botswana Democratic Party not to get to excited about the international praise the country is receiving because there are still a lot of challenges ahead. Poverty was one major challenge as a lot of Batswana were still staying in mud houses which were periodically swept away by rain, whilst water shortages are still unresolved. On the proposed second university, he lamented that a lot of MPs were concerned about its location and were campaigning for it to be built in their constituencies. He said the real question was what kind of university was contemplated and suggested that it must focus on science and technology, which are areas of scarce skills in the country. He called for building of more technical colleges to bridge the gap in the market. He advised the government to include Christian and moral education in the school curriculum as a way of stemming the tide against HIV/AIDS.