The Botswana National Front (BNF) has long called for the Declaration and Registration of Personal Assets while the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) vehemently opposed it for years now.
His Excellency, President Mokgweetsi Masisi should therefore ensure that this declaration of assets and liabilities promise he made during his inauguration is done within his first 100 days, that is, by July 2018.
The BNF constitution has long stated clearly that when in “power it shall design and introduce a register of assets which shall be completed by President, Cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliament, Councillors, Senior Civil Servants and other senior officials holding position of power in Local Authorities and Parastatal organisations.
It shall be made compulsory for such people to declare their personal financial and business interests at the time of appointment. Such a register shall be updated bi-annually (every two years) to monitor the rate of wealth acquisition by each public office holder indicating nature and value of assets acquired. The register shall be accessible and available to the public for scrutiny on demand”,
(BNF constitution, 2005 edition, pg 43). Emphasising the importance of the declaration of assets and liabilities law, the BNF Social Democratic Program (SDP) also states that this
The SDP further states that “to ensure greater transparency and accountability the BNF government shall pass law on the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill. Only when political parties, institutions of civil society and the media are given access to information can they play their role as watchdogs of democracy”, (BNF SDP 2009, paragraph 46 (b). The Declaration of Assets and FOI laws are Siamese twins when it comes to fighting corruption.
The BDP has been tried and tested since independence, and has unfortunately failed the governance test, especially in fighting corruption. Had Masisi and his party long acceded to the BNF call for these laws, current numerous corruption cases could have long been nipped in the bud. An urgent and transparent lifestyle audit for cabinet, top government and parastatal organisations is long overdue.
*Justin Hunyepa is BNF secretary for information and publicity