The Botswana National Front President, Duma Boko, says he is aware of the many financial difficulties that his councillors are in, which makes them vulnerable to predatory advances from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party.
He said he became aware of the indebtedness of his councilors after many of them failed to honour their financial obligations to the party.
“We have realized there is a problem. Councilors are not paying their dues. They are highly indebted,” he said.
Boko added that, as a result, they have become particularly vulnerable to BDP advances.
Over the last few months, a good number of councilors from opposition parties defected to the BDP after they had been promised financial benefits or, in some cases, promised that their debts would be settled.
Research reveals that many of the councillors are held hostage by corroding levels of debts, including to micro lenders.
“The BDP strategy is to approach creditors and prod them to foreclose. When a debtor is against the corner, the BDP offers a way out by way of promising to pay their debt if they join the ruling party. As a result, we have had councilors defecting to the BDP as a way of avoiding foreclosure.”
He said the only way out is to train party members on personal finance and, where they are already in trouble, to offer them legal assistance.
Boko said he has already intervened on a number of cases by way of negotiating flexible settlement terms for the beleaguered BNF members.
“But we can only intervene when members approach us with their problems. As a lawyer, I hold big secrets including of BDP members. Some of these secrets would cause the collapse of governments. But my ethics dictate that I should not disclose such secrets, including those that are of BDP members. I call on BNF members to come forward for assistance,” the BNF President said.