The ruling Botswana Democratic Party is being suspected of building a slush fund from the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services unaccounted money to buy opposition politicians as part of its strategy to stem the tide of resignations.
This comes in the wake of complaints by the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Botswana National Front (BNF) leaders that the BDP has been trying to lure its MPs with promises of money and cabinet positions.
BMD spokesperson told Sunday Standard this week that the BDP has been trying to induce some of their MPs to cross to the BDP with promises of money and cabinet posts.
“Some of our MPs have been approached; they have been promised cabinet positions and money, but they turned down the offers. Our MPs have integrity and are not prostitutes. They are not for sale,” BMD spokesperson, Sydney Pilane, said.
It is understood that the BDP strategy committee has been turned into the party dirty tricks department, charged with buying opposition MPs.
“We have information that they are trying to recruit from us using some very unorthodox means,” revealed the BCP’s spokesperson, Taolo Lucas. Although he did not want to reveal the names of the MPs approached and what enticement was used, Lucas said that the BDP “is trying everything in the book to reclaim some measure of credibility”.
The BCP says that all its MPs who were approached turned down the BDP’s overtures. According to Lucas his party’s MPs are principled politicians who will not be tempt with money. In a separate interview, the BNF’s Moeti Mohwasa said that his party is aware that the BDP has been recruiting from its ranks.
“Unfortunately they have not been successful,” said Mohwasa. He also would not disclose who among BNF MPs were approached and what offers were made.
“Some of our MPs have told us that they were approached,” he said. “We have full confidence in our MPs and believe all our MPs are principled and we are not fearful that anyone might leave.”
Curiously, BDP treasurer, Satar Dada, told a recent party National Council that the BDP was scrapping the bottom of its financial barrel. He asked members to dip hands into their pocket and bail out the party. The BDP is facing crumbling levels of corporate support. Donors are melting away following last year’s media expose suggesting influence peddling against their hitherto biggest donor, De Beers.
Opposition leaders suspect that the BDP is using unaccounted Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) money as a slush fund to buy opponents.
BDP parliamentarians last week stopped investigations into possible abuse of public funds by the Office of the President and the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS).
The Majority BDP MPs forced parliament to suspend debate on the adoption of the Public Accounts Committee report which recommended an investigation into how P26 million, which was siphoned off the National Disaster Relief Fund to the Directorate of Intelligence Service, was used saying it has come to the conclusion that, “there must have been some element of abuse of funds”.
Pilane posed a rhetorical question: “Where is the money coming from? Is it the DIS money or is the money coming from the president’s pocket?”
The speculations are not helped by suspicions that in the past, Khama has used the DIS to investigate cases of BDP internal dissent.
Contacted for comment the DIS’s director general, Isaac Kgosi, used abusive language that cannot be printed in a family newspaper.
The line minister in charge of the DIS, Dikgakgamatso Seretse, dismissed the whole claim as false.
“If the allegations are true, why don’t they report the matter to the DCEC so that the issue is investigated?” questioned Seretse.
He accused the opposition parties of trying to score political points by spreading ‘lies’.
“It’s just people trying to stir trouble,” he said.
Education Minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi is masterminding the BDP spin.
“I find it unlikely and out of character for the BDP to lure people with money,” she said. “If we were recruiting, what is wrong with that? We are on a membership drive; politics is about numbers.”
Party Culture and Publicity Committee Chairperson, Shaw Kgath, on the other hand said, “That’s trivial; nothing of that sort ever happens in the BDP.”