Out of the bully pulpit of a parliamentary oversight committee that he chairs, Gaborone West North MP, Robert Masitara, has constructed an anti-corruption platform to stand on for his re-election bid. One of the messages that he is already issuing from that platform is that if he is not re-elected this year, high-class criminals will have a field day. “I pledge to ensure that public property and funds are not spirited away to foreign lands by some leaders – including MPs,” reads a Setswana campaign brochure from the MP’s campaign in translation. Titled “Important Message from Gaborone North MP Robert Masitara,” the brochure alleges that some MPs would be happy to see the last of him when the current parliament is dissolved ahead of this year’s general election.
“I am certain that some MPs and senior government officials don’t want me to return to parliament in 2014 because they know that there is no one in parliament with neither my academic qualifications nor expertise in forensic audit. So, if I don’t return to parliament, criminals will continue to steal from state coffers,” says the brochure, rendering the last sentence as “jaanong fa ke sa boele palamenteng, disinyi di tla kgona go tswelela sentle ka tshenyetso sechaba.” In the telling of the brochure, the MP’s crusade against corruption is something of a Mandelasque ideal that he is prepared to die for. He is the chairperson of the Committee on Statutory Bodies and State Enterprises which exercises parliamentary oversight over the said entities.
Last year, Masitara alleged an assassination plot against him following the release of a report that exposed organised crime in some parastatal organisations. However, the police subsequently said that the assassination plot was not reported to them which led some to speculate that the MP was trying to avert a grim eventuality that all too often befalls Third World graft-busters. In the brochure, Masitara says that he is prepared to sacrifice his own life in order to ensure that public funds are not misappropriated as that its goods are not stolen and spirited away to foreign lands. As regards down-ticket candidates, the MP would prefer a collegial span of councillors who work well with him.
“It would be futile to elect someone who won’t cooperate with or even fight me. Doing that would only impede progress in your area,” the brochure cautions voters. Come Election Day, Masitara will be standing against Umbrella for Democratic Change and Botswana National Front president, Duma Boko and Annah Motlhagodi of the Botswana Congress Party in the renamed Bonnington North constituency.