A collective of Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary candidates for the October elections have ran out of patience and demanded that the party leadership release monies secured from investors to assist them with the campaigns ahead of highly anticipated elections, WeekendPost has established.
Records compiled at the last month’s closed meeting of the BDP in Mmokolodi depicted a party going into this election with doubts and has a deep-seated fear for the opposition. It is apparent from the evidence before this publication that the BDP is wary of the uncertainties they face in the upcoming elections. In a startling revelation, Masisi told the candidates that he has been approaching the business community for possible funding and was glad to tell them that he has received a lump sum of cash from investors.
“We have received pulas for campaign and we are going to test you. All who are here you will get something those who are not present won’t get anything. You must be disciplined. I don’t want to see the attitude for the past five years which has worsened now to an extent that you tell our rivals how we operate,” he said
Masisi also said he was happy that the likes of party treasure Satar Dada, Indians and Chinese investors assisted the party. “If they got all the money legally like we know our treasure is doing and whoever you know it could be Koreans or Africans if it is clean then there is nothing wrong.”
He further told the democrats that the BDP was broke. “This party was P50 million on the red. The banks are not willing to lend us money, we have to rely on being transparent. Dada gave us 60 cars, we would have not managed this if it was not Dada and use these cars wisely they are not yours they are for constituencies and for party.”
With President having promised the candidates what the investors has pumped in the party, candidates have started to demand to be given what they have been promised to start-off the campaigns. Compilations by the party members to the leadership show that the candidates are aware that indeed money can buy success. “The UDC is buying everything for anybody and everybody. Youth and the poor are the easy target. I don’t have the money to match them pound to pound,” one senior minister voiced out his frustrations. One rookie minister also added, “Le rona rraetsho re tlhasetswe (We are also under attack).
According to observers, this has been concealed for long and the party members who are feeling the pinch believes it is high time they tell the leadership about the precarious situation they are in. For some candidates who wanted the issue to remain closed they met resistance from some of their colleagues. “Money is the mother’s milk of politics honourable. You just have to follow American politics as a case study.” quipped one candidate who is seeking parliamentary seat in Gaborone. One MP who dismissed money power saying it is “poison in the mother’s milk,” was told point blank that, “If that was the case candidates here wouldn’t be crying for campaign materials.
One MP who spoke to this publication on condition of anonymity said this when asked about funding matter: “I have my own self sponsored branding material. The party is trying all the best it could however we have to remember members have to raise for the party. All political parties have issues with funding but then we all have to go through the elections somehow. It’s not easy but we do all we could to keep up with a well-funded opposition,” he said.
Masisi when closing the same retreat last month said: “I want to inform you what the party has done for you. We are expecting before Vice President’s launch another trench of t-shirts .Every constituency will have 10,000 t shirts don’t worry about our visibility. Every constituency will also have 3000 umbrellas, there will be more umbrellas in BDP than in umbrella, deliberately so. Bandana for the youth and caps will be 2500 as well as flags. There is a lot we are getting from the goodwill.” On the other hand members says they are yet to receive those as they only got the initial 5000 t-shirts when parliament was still on in March.
However fast forward to now the candidates are yet to receive such. It is pointed out that some of the donors condition was that the money be used to fight opposition-held constituencies; while others said the money be used on marginal constituencies while the other gave the money with no conditions. For his part Vice President Slumber Tsogwane who had no answers to the candidates but equally perturbed by their remarks entered the fray.
“Hard work pays not money. Caution our people about dirty money and educate them that it is only up to October such a faceless money will be no more. What is important is to look after our dedicated campaign teams get them trained and target registered voters. Thank you we must all adopt the same attitude don’t be scared and do things that ordinarily are less expected of you.” It seems the situation is so pathetic to an extent that some of the candidates especially those with a thin financial muscle are failing to match their rivals and no longer chicken out to face off with their leaders.
“Bagaetsho we are unable to have dedicated campaign teams because most of the people we use for the campaigns are not working and therefore they are not volunteering they want to be paid, so assist us,” one Gaborone contestant responded Tsogwane. The schedule of candidates launch released this week was also as a result of pressure from the candidates who wanted to know when they will be launched. Others even went to ask party Secretary General Mpho Balopi to avail billboards at their constituencies for visibility.
Masisi when addressing the candidates last month also revealed that he is expecting more money around September. “So everyone will be receiving something to give you a boost and a push. So share the money amongst yourselves. All who are here will get something those who are not ba jelwe,” he said.
The outgoing President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ian Kirby, shares his thoughts with us as he leaves the Bench at the end of this year.
WeekendPost: Why did you move between the Attorney General and the Bench?
Ian Kirby: I was a member of the Attorney General’s Chambers three times- first in 1969 as Assistant State Counsel, then in 1990 as Deputy Attorney General (Civil), and finally in 2004 as Attorney General. I was invited in 2000 by the late Chief Justice Julian Nganunu to join the Bench. I was persuaded by former President Festus Mogae to be his Attorney General in 2004 as, he said, it was my duty to do so to serve the nation. I returned to the Judiciary as soon as I could – in May 2006, when there was a vacancy on the High Court Bench.
Botswana’s civil society is one of the non-state actors that could save the country’s democracy from sliding into regression, a Germany based think tank has revealed. This is according to a discussion paper by researchers at the German Development Institute who analysed the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes In Botswana.
In the paper titled “E-government and democracy in Botswana: Observational and experimental evidence on the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes,” the researchers offer a strongly worded commentary on Botswana’s ‘flawed democracy.’ The authors noted that with Botswana’s Parliament structurally – and in practice – feeble, the potential for checks and balances on executive power rests with the judiciary.
Bangwato in Serowe — where Bamagwato Paramount Chief and former President Lt. Gen Ian Khama originates – disagree on whether they must send a delegation to dialogue with President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s family in Moshupa. Just last week, a meeting was called by the Regent of Bamagwato, Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane, at Serowe Kgotla to, among others, update the tribe on the whereabouts of their Kgosi (Khama).
Further, his state of health was also discussed, with Kgamane telling the attendees that all is well with Khama. The main reason for the meeting was to deliberate on the escalating tension between Khama and Masisi — a three-year bloodletting going unabated.