Sunday, September 27, 2020

Saleshando denounces Matambo’s budget speech

Recent media revelations that the ruling Botswana Democratic Party and its leaders illicitly benefited from the mining corporate giants dealt the party a devastating blow this week as the incisive Botswana Congress Party legislator Dumelang Saleshando slammed the party which has ruled the country uninterrupted for more than forty years for lack of obsolete transparency and fair democratic credentials.

Contributing to the budget speech by Finance Minister Kenneth Matambo, Saleshando declared that the ruling BDP had eventually come out of the closet for the ordinary Batswana to plainly see its shoddy undemocratic behavior in the wake of the recent press revelations concerning the BDP and De Beers.

“I find the budget speech by the finance minister clumsy and cumbersome to shoulder, particularly that it lacked absolute transparency following reports the ruling party and those in control of the national purse benefited hugely from illicit deals with Debswana and De Beers. To allay mounting public fears, the Office of the President, as the controller of the national purse, must have responded to these allegations but instead they had the knack to respond to the Togolese saga signifying they (Togolese) are more important to the interest of the ordinary Batswana,” thundered Saleshando.

He added, “As a fair and transparent democracy, following the precedent set by advanced and more democratic countries, the budget speech must have included other stakeholders such as the workers union.”

However that was not done, defying the collective bargaining that is attributed to democratic ideals.

“It is now an open secret the reason why the ruling party objects to the enacting of the law that dictates the disclosure of assets and liabilities by our national leaders is (for them to be able) to hide their hideous deals,” he said.

Saleshando argued that it is a matter of public record that former president Masire was financially mortgaged but was rescued by De Beers because the national purse rested on his table.
“This creates problems because it also involved money laundering. It further opens up the reason the ruling party rebutted for quite some time suggestions of beneficiation at the expense of the public interest to satisfy individuals interest.

“Public revenues are reported to have been diverted to individuals pockets and it comes disturbingly worrisome that the finance minister remains mum about a serious matter such as this one,” Saleshando lamented, referring to the BDPÔÇôDe Beers relationship, which minister Matambo never alluded to in the speech.

“What is the minister signifying to the general public? What is he signifying to other parastatals with this deafening silence….that they should follow suit?”

Saleshando is now more convinced about the reason the ruling party refused to adopt a noble practice of party funding is “because of this corrupt relationship between the leaders and De Beers”.

“Chickens have final come home to roost. It is now an open secret the funds were not raised through dikhwaere as we were made to believe. Dikhwaere were sung at De Beers house to amass financial gains,” Saleshando said with sarcasm.

He rubbished the budget speech, which was delivered under the theme “Transforming our economy after the crisis: 2010 and beyond”, arguing there was nothing transformative and innovative about the document.

“All we hear in this transformation speech is Ipelegeng, prompting one to think about anything transformative about the slasher and the cutting of grass. Certainly this is a dry budget speech with direct signs that we are moving from global crisis to domestic crisis, where the public servants are not even catered for to possess more purchasing power,” Saleshando concluded.

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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.