President Ian Khama has spent almost P500,000 on transportation alone in the six months since April, Parliament has heard.
Speaking in Parliament on Friday, Assistant Minister at the Office of the President, Phillip Makgalemele said from April 2014 to date, P490,434.58 was spent on Khama’s transport and fuel.
He asserted that government is duty bound to ensure that the President’s engagements are taken care of using public resources including those at the Botswana Defence Force (BDF).
The money spent on Khama’s transport for the period includes election campaigns for the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). The President campaigned using a military aircraft in various constituencies. The aircraft carried the President and the ruling party campaign team. The public got to learn about the use of the aircraft from a post by an excited BDP member posted on social media.
Makgalemele told Parliament that the mode of transport chosen for the President is dependent on the security requirements at a particular time. He said an answer was presented in Parliament on July 2014 to a similar question from the same MP asking the current question, Wynter Mmolotsi.
However, Mmolotsi felt that the information provided was not enough. “As MPs, don’t we have the liberty to know all about the President because as leaders, we represent the electorate who have voted for us and they should know things through us? Who should ask on their behalf and whatever the President does (with public resources) is it a secret?” asked Mmolotsi.
The MP put
Mmolotsi had asked the minister how much money was spent from the government coffers by the President and his entourage while campaigning for the BDP. Further, he wanted to know whether it is proper for military aircraft to be used for partisan politics.
Regarding the presidential walkabouts which Makgalemele said was previously asked by the same MP, he said they are official and as such are arranged by the Office of the President in consultation and liaison with stakeholders, taking into account security and protocol.
Mmolotsi had wanted to know whether the presidential walkabouts are official or political. He cited a walkabout in his constituency where Khama was accompanied by ministers and BDP candidates.
He wanted to know if it was official or political. However, Makgalemele did not give an answer and advised the MP to state a specific time because there had been so many presidential walkabouts prior to the elections.