Vol.23 No.82

Friday 2 June 2006    

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Moupo stranded in London?

RAMPHOLO MOLEFHE
Correspondent

6/2/2006 6:10:37 PM (GMT +2)

Reports that president of the Botswana National Front (BNF) Otsweletse Moupo was stranded at the weekend while on a private visit to Britain has raised eyebrows in political circles.


"It would be an embarrassment to the country for the Leader of the Opposition to be stranded while travelling abroad whether he was on national or private business," says an observer. Government foreign affairs spokesperson, Mustaq Moorad, confirmed Thursday that Moupo had, as alleged, visited Botswana's High Commission in London where he asked for money. He said that the High Commission, in accordance with 'regular' practice, advanced Moupo 350 British pounds, the equivalent of P3,842 calculated at Thursday's rates. "There is nothing unusual about this service," Moorad commented. "The High Commission has assisted private citizens in the past including lawyers. The applicant seeking an advance has to sign an affidavit promising reimbursement to the government, then he or she will be assisted," he added. Moeti Mohwasa, the BNF publicity secretary, says that Moupo could not have been stranded because he left the country with a return ticket. "He only needed the money to get a few things for which he had not budgeted when he left the country," he said. "In any case he was borrowing against his parliamentary salary," he added. Rumour was rife yesterday that the opposition leader had travelled to attend a meeting of the 'Socialist International'. "We are not aware that there was any meeting of the Socialist International," Mohwasa says. "As far as we are aware, Moupo's visit had nothing to do with party business. Karlmon Mogalakwe is the party's secretary for external affairs and would have been the person to go if there was official party business with the Socialist International," the Mohwasa said. Sources at the office of the Clerk of the National Assembly said over the telephone that it was proper protocol for MPs leaving the country to inform Parliament. The Clerk, Alpheus Matlhaku could not comment because he was in a meeting. The public relations office was also unavailable for comment. It is not certain whether Parliament would intervene in a case where a person of the stature of the Leader of the Opposition is stranded in another country even if he was on a private trip. Mohwasa believes that the ruling Botswana Democratic Party is responsible for spreading 'malicious rumours' about the alleged misfortunes of Moupo. He said he has been on the phone with Moupo and expects him back tomorrow before he proceeds to Mozambique. Meanwhile, Mohwasa said Moupo would on Saturday brief members of the press and the nation on what exactly happened. Although Mmegi has been unable to reach Moupo, the opposition leader has reportedly told other media that the reports that he was stranded is a malicious attempt to blemish his character. Send us your comments about Mmegi newspaper Search For Old Newspaper Editions To advertise contact us through email

 
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