Thursday, October 28, 2021

President’s Housing Appeal will suffer fate similar to Clinton Foundation’s

The President’s Housing Appeal for the Needy is by far the most lavishly funded charity in the country but in a matter of 381 days, donors will not be too concerned about putting a roof over the heads of the needy. The needy would still need such assistance but Ian Khama will no longer be president. The charity’s name suggests association with the presidency but even if former president Khama attempts to reincarnate the charity under a different name, donors will be focused on the new president – whoever he may be. It is quite easy to make such prediction because of what is happening in another part of the world. When it looked like former United States Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, would bag the presidency, huge sums of money were pouring into the foundation established in the family name ÔÇô the Clinton Foundation. Among the most generous donors was the government of Norway. When it became clear that Clinton would run for president, Norway boosted its contributions from US$15 million in 2014 to a record US$21 million in 2015. The money went to two of the Foundation’s programmes: the Clinton Health Access Initiative and the Clinton Climate Initiative. With Donald Trump as the Republican candidate and with polls saying the exact same thing, a Clinton presidency seemed a foregone conclusion. Then the unthinkable happened: Trump beat Clinton hands down to win the US presidency. Following Clinton’s loss, Norway has now scaled back its contributions by 87 percent for 2017 and its seems highly unlikely that the country will be making any donations in the future.
In much the same way that a Clinton outside the White House is useless to Norway and other donors, a Khama out of the State House will be useless to donors who have been generous to charities he is associated with. Next to the President’s Housing Appeal for the Needy is the Lady Khama Charitable Trust which is named after Khama’s deceased mother. With Khama out of office, donors will see no need to curry favour with someone who can’t make things happen for them and donations will definitely shrink. This is the reality of politics and money. There is no great mystery why the Sir Ketumile Masire Foundation doesn’t attract as much donor support as the Lady Khama Charitable Trust. With the likelihood of an opposition party take-over at the highest it has been in the nation’s history, a Duma Boko-initiated charity would draw more donor support than one supported by a retired Ian Khama. Charity foundations are actually part of an influence-peddling stock market that allows the rich and powerful to short-circuit the legal system with unwritten rules known by all the players. Typically, the stock is at record highs for incumbents and tumbles when he leaves office. While legal, these foundations are a source of grave concern around the world because of the manner in which they operate. If a businessman in Botswana was to deposit P10 million in the bank account of a minister, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime would be investigating the matter within a few days. On the other hand, if the minister’s wife establishes a foundation that, on paper, claims to be empowering youth and the businessman deposits the same amount of money in the foundation’s bank account, DCEC would not be involved when one can put two and two together to tell what is actually happening. While charitable giving by rich individuals draws media attention, anywhere in the world it is actually the poor who give more to charity than the rich.

 

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper