Monday, July 4, 2022

BDP and BCP titans clash over Khama’s magazine publication

Botswana Democratic Party activists and Botswana Congress Party president are at each other’s throat over the Office of the President endorsement letter that’s feared might have been used to coerce the business community into advertising in a publication celebrating Khama’s five-year term in office.

While Saleshando accused the OP letter for  coercing  the business community to advertise in a publication to be published by the BDP, the BDP  activist who has publicly made donations to the party has also accused Saleshando of running businesses with BDP members and using the money accrued in such deals to sponsor his party.

 Gaborone Central MP Dumelang Saleshando informed parliament that some business community have expressed unease with a  letter from the OP which stated that they should advertise in a publication to  be published by  Leap Frog, a company owned by one of the BDP party activists.

Saleshando stated, when commenting on Draft Mid Term Review of NDP 10 presentation, that the letter had sparked fears on foreign nationals who own businesses in Botswana.

Saleshando wondered why the OP wrote a letter to companies to support a BDP activist publication that seeks to celebrate Khama’s five year term in office.

He indicated that foreign nationals who own businesses in Botswana fear that  if they fail to advertise in a publication they might be deported as has happened to others before since their deportations were secretly undertaken.

The Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Mokgweetsi Masisi, could not deny that there was  such a letter from the OP but asked Saleshando to provide evidence. He stated that Saleshando should avail evidence of such allegations.

Saleshando stated that he was not in a position to avail such evidence since he feared that it would be used to  subject them to possible deportation.

Saleshando had wondered how the OP was writing a letter to the business community to support a political activist.

┬áThe owner of Leap Frog, Fish Pabalinga, was fuming over┬áthe BCP president’s utterance that the OP had written a letter coercing the business community to support ┬áa political activist who has been publicly making donations to the party.

┬á Pabalinga stated in an interview that a letter from the OP was an endorsement letter that was affirming that he was going to publish a magazine on Khama’s five year term.

 He argued that the letter was not forcing anyone to advertise in the publication as Saleshando claims.

 Pabalinga pointed out that Saleshando should not criticise Leap Frog for publishing the magazine and making claims that he could possibly use that money accrued from the project to donate to the ruling party as he has done before.

┬á“We are not making noise about his business deals with some BDP members. We could as well conclude that he uses money that he gets from such deals to sponsor BCP. I have long respected him but…”

However, the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Pono Moathodi, summoned Saleshando and Masisi to appear before him at his chamber this week  where Saleshando was expected to produce evidence of the allegations.

 When Sunday Standard enquired on whether the two had met him, Moathodi said they had not yet done so.

He said that he was expecting Saleshando to avail evidence purporting that the OP wrote letters to companies coercing them to advertise in the magazine to be published by Leap Frog.  

Moathodi said that he is expecting an answer since the legislature was making serious allegations about the OP. He said that Saleshando had indicated that he would be outside the country.

“I am expecting him to avail the evidence next week,” added Moathodi.

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