Perhaps as a first step towards distancing their business from the ruling party, businessmen Ram Ottapath and Mahommed Farouk have turned down overtures by the Botswana Democratic Party to have one of them serve in the Finance Sub-Committee of the BDP.
Farouk and Ram are the substantive owners of Choppies Group,┬á a Botswana Stock Exchange listed multi-billion pula supermarket chain with close to sixty stores across Botswana.
Employing over 6, 000 people, Choppies is among the biggest businesses in Botswana.
Much to the chagrin of opposition political parties, the Group is often touted as one of the biggest BDP bankrollers.
The company Chairman of the Board is former President Festus Mogae, while a number of well-known BDP sympathizers also sit on the company’s main board.
The BDP Secretary General, Mpho Balopi, said the party had not asked either Farouk or Ram to serve on the party’s Sub Committee, but a source close to Choppies said an offer had been given but was instantly rejected.
“Choppies is under pressure to distance itself from the BDP, not just as a business but also because it is a listed entity,” said the same person.
He added that the Choppies Board has since given an instruction that from now on, all political donations have to be made transparently and that the BDP should not be favoured over other political players.
“Should there be donations in future by Choppies all political parties will benefit and the money will be shared proportionally based on share of the vote as per the previous General Elections,” he added.