Opposition MPs eligible to accompany Masisi
The Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration ( MOPAPA) Nonofo Molefhi this week cleared confusion regarding who pays the bill for the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)Secretary General Mpho Balopi when he is accompanying President Mokgweetsi Masisi on official assignments.
Molefhi told Parliament that the costs of the trips that Balopi accompanied Masisi on were borne by the BDP and not government as some people believe. He said the Secretary General only accompanies the President as the guest of the President, and therefore the President has got liberty to invite any person of his choice when engaged in international working visits. He was answering a question from Francistown South MP Wynter Mmolotsi who had asked the Minister to state the role of BDP Secretary General in the entourage of the Head of State to official assignments. "In accordance with paragraph 48 (1) the Green Book (Functions, Pay and Privileges for the President, Vice President, Assistant Ministers and Leader of the Opposition), His Excellency the President is entitled to invite a guest when he travels," said Molefhi.
He further revealed that in this respect, Masisi has on few occasions invited not only the Secretary General of the BDP during his official assignments, but members of the opposition as well. During one of his travels he was accompanied by Dr Phenyo Butale of the Alliance for Progressives. He added that during Masisi's state visit to Zambia he invited in his trip legendary Botswana Congress Party (BCP) member Gilson Saleshando."I wish to state that the rationale for inviting the BDP Secretary General to accompany His Excellency the President during his trips was mainly geared towards strengthening relations between the Botswana Democratic Party led Government and other like-minded democratic governments," he added.
Mmolotsi had also wanted Molefi to furnish the house with the receipt detailing the all the costs of the bills paid to proof that indeed BDP is the one that pays for their Secretary General. Molefhi however said he was not in position to share the details but conceded that the bills receipts can be furnished to Mmolotsi who is suspicious that the government funds are spent on the BDP SG on what he considers to be unofficial trips.
Mmolotsi complained that it is a bad precedent for Molefhi to compare the ruling party Secretary General with a Member of Parliament noting these are two different positions whose holders work in different capacities and levels.