Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) President Duma Boko has said as a way of curbing a culture where a party in power uses state resources for personal and political campaigns, Botswana needs to benchmark from India.
Boko said in India there is a process in the law that regulates electoral expenditure. He was responding to The Telegraph questions during a Press briefing to welcome former BDP councillor, Lazarus Ncube last Friday.
This publication sought to establish what can be done to curb the abuse of public resources by the government in power which the opposition parties always complain about every time there is an election.
“The law on electoral expenditure in India explains that everyone who is campaigning for any political office must not exceed certain set limits in terms of resources and money. The law further allows for an audit on any contesting candidate. If the audit reveals that one contesting candidate has exceeded the set electoral expenditure limit that candidate is automatically disqualified,” he said.
He said in situations where contesting candidates invite Presidents or Vice Presidents to their rallies or launches, then the President or the Vice President must use their own resources.
If they decide to use government resources that expenditure is added to the contesting candidate and if it surpasses the required limit the contesting candidate is automatically disqualified.
Boko said unfortunately these processes are not found in the laws of Botswana and this should be amended.
“We should take this matter to Parliament than challenging it before the courts of laws. I believe if we take this matter to Parliament some in the ruling BDP who were recently affected by this situation might support us,” he said.
Boko said the abuse of the state resources by the current government has worsened over the years.
“This is a disturbing issue and it is even disturbing the members of the ruling BDP. This was evident during the BDP electoral congress in Mmadinare where some members of the BDP complained that some in the leadership were using government resource to advance their mileage over those who they contested with. They were crying that the current Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi was using government resources to advance his campaigns,” said Boko.
UDC president further said the BDP leadership works in a certain way that when the law does not prohibit or when the law is silent to them it means it is allowed.
“If you go to courts of law to say they are abusing government resources they will tell you that a minister or deputy Minister was scheduled for Kgotla meeting then after Kgotla meeting he addressed a political rally and at the time resources were under their watch or control.”
“For them there is no difference between doing official government duties and doing party duties,” he said concluding that it is very important to challenge situations like this.
At a recent by-election in Goodhope/Mabule, Boko had to hire a private helicopter from his pocket while President of the ruling party and Chairman used state helicopters which they enjoy as part of benefits for State President and Vice President respectively.