Outspoken Member of Parliament for Francistown South, Wynter Mmolotsi this week has sparked a heated debate on parliament floor by asking the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance, Public Administration, when government will consider political party funding in Botswana.
A University of Botswana political analyst Leonard Sesa says political party is long overdue for reasons being that, its absence opens door to corruption as well as leveling the playground.
Sesa indicated that allowing private individuals to fund political parties creates a breeding ground for corruption resulting in state capture in some instances in the form of favors by the government.
He therefore said Botswana should also adopt political party funding by the state for elections in order to capacitate all contesting parties equal opportunity in vying for state power at a time.
“Political party funding is very critical for a liberal democracy. It is good move to hear that the matter is being discussed at the All Party Conference. Elections is very expensive process and because we don’t want state capture, we’ve got to budget whatever is necessary to distribute among those that deserve to run for political office,” he said
He also said that the country intends to introduce political party funding it is very important to benchmark on countries that already practice it so as to implement it to a very successful level.
Mmolotsi’s argument has been that the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), for quite a long period of time has been disadvantaging the opposition parties in terms of financial strength.
This, he said is by using to its gain the tax payers money and government resources amongst others to bolster its campaigns.
Responding to Mmolotsi’s enquiries, Assistant Minister of Presidential Affairs Machana Shamukuni revealed that issue of political party funding in Botswana is being considered.
He said the All Party Conference (APC) adding that it is his expectation that the APC will, as soon as it has deliberated on the matter, submit is currently considering the issue its recommendations (s) for consideration by Government.
Furthermore, Mmolotsi went on to launch onslaught to the BDP over what he terms as illegal, evil or shameful means of funding by bleeding the state coffers during the elections campaigns.
He observed that BDP of recent has been using the state resources such as aircrafts, cars in official launching of its elections candidates hence this is wasteful.
AP MP who is also party vice president further pointed out that that President Mokgweetsi Masisi, his vice Slumber Tsogwane use the wealth to also campaigns in funerals country wide.
“BDP has been funding itself using our tax which is very unfair and this is corruption. We need a law that will envision party funding by the government as it is a necessary cost for democracy. We will not rest until that law comes into practice,” he added.
Gaborone North MP, Haskins Nkaigwa also misfired guns to BDP government for being reluctant to consider state funding of political parties in fear of opposition competition.
Nkaigwa also said BDP is currently on the process of selling out the P 100 million water projects by allocating it to certain international company which will use as return favour of getting election funds.
He concurred with Mmolotsi that political party funding is necessary as it will ensure unfair advantages especially for BDP as ruling party that benefits from companies or individuals that are in favour rewarded with government tenders illegally.
However, Shamukuni dismissed claims that BDP is currently broke and it intends to trading government tenders in exchange of getting funds from the East as it has been anticipated.
He indicated that BDP’ s ways of getting finances are clean therefore the party is not luring sponsors or financiers through alleged corruption practices, referring to fellow MPs claims being founded on jealous grounds.