The President of Alliance for Progressives (AP) Ndaba Gaolathe has disclosed that he has declared his assets to the National Assembly in a move aimed at promoting transparency.
He did so soon after entering Parliament.
The latest revelation by Gaolathe comes after President Mokgweetsi Masisi stated recently in his inauguration speech that he would bring a law that would require everyone who holds public office to declare their assets.
“I will do my utmost best to continually grow confidence in governance through a combination of new legislation, ethical codes and demonstrable and efficacious behaviours. To this end, expect specific legislation on declaration of assets and liabilities soon,” Masisi said in his inauguration address.
Although it is not a constitutional requirement to make a public asset declaration, Gaolathe is of the view that legislators should lead by example.
“You know that in Botswana we don’t have a specific legislation that deals with declaration of assets. But if your work for an institution like Parliament, it is important that one declares their assets so that whatever they legislate on is not influenced by personal gain,” he said. Gaolathe said he felt that there was a need for him to declare his assets to the National Assembly so that where there “is conflict of interest it is clear and transparent.”
“I wrote to the Speaker of the National Assembly sometime in the first half of 2017 explaining what I have; my professional engagements, my involvement in family projects and shareholding here and there,” he said.
According to Gaolathe, the Clerk of the National Assembly explained to him that he did not have an obligation to declare his assets.
“But I told them that if they need to audit me when the need arise it would be easier to trace everything. I also informed them that I was trying to be exemplary because it is important for us to set example so that those who come after us can do the same,” he said.
Gaolathe further stated that ‘the more we do this as leaders, regardless of political parties we belong to; we can turn it into a culture. Others can emulate us and then we will have a better Botswana.”
He said he had disclosed his assets to a few legislators and he was hoping that they would follow suit.
“It is clear what one wants to do is to build a culture where things are done transparently even outside Parliament, in the corporate world. We should affirm these values of transparency and accountability to set a bar for those that come after us,” said Gaolathe.