For many years now the opposition, and to a certain extent the media has condemned the ruling Botswana Democratic Party for using state resources to campaign for political office.
It is common knowledge that the opposition parties have always vociferously spoken out against this abuse of resources by the ruling party.
The resources often include both the financial and the institutional resources. It is an open secret that during the campaigns, it is the ruling party that gets more coverage in the state media than the opposition parties.
It is a truism that during the campaigns, the state president and his lieutenants often use state resources to campaign for themselves and their party. The condemnation of this abuse of state resources by the executive has always fallen on deaf ears. At best, the executive has always denied that it abuses state resources.
Whenever the matter is debated, the government has always maintained that some members of the executive, particularly the president and his vice, are entitled to state resources in official and unofficial duties. This has been the government’s line of defence for many years now.
BDP members have celebrated the abuse of state resources by defending actions by their leaders. When he was vice president, President Ian Khama was ordered not to fly Botswana Defence Force helicopters by the Ombudsman.
But BDP members combatively defended their man with gusto. When cabinet ministers were accused of using state resources to attend political campaigns, BDP members also came to their defence.
It is hypocritical that a few years later some top BDP contestants in the race for the party chairmanship are now crying foul that the Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi is using state resources to campaign for the position. Yes, the tables have turned. Now, look who is wailing?
Ironically, some of these BDP chairmanship contestants were former cabinet ministers and were at one point accused of using state resources to campaign for their party. The now aggrieved contestants expected their political rivals to adopt the ‘see no evil, hear no evil’, approach whenever the matter was discussed in the public arena.
Now that these candidates are feeling the heat, they are now speaking out- in forked tongues or otherwise- against this anomaly.
But we say this is hypocrisy of the highest order. The bottom line is, there should be a clear line between the government and party to avoid abuse of state resources.
This line should be clearly defined. We posit that the best way to define this line is to enact statutes to ultimately eliminate abuse of state resources. In progressive polities these statutes should have long been passed. Abuse of state resources is a serious threat to democracy and economic success of any country.
We agree with those who suggest that in a country without state funding of political parties, the least the incumbent government should do is to level the playing field by making sure that state resources are not abused for political gain. This is not only a political or legal issue, it’s a moral issue as well.
“The only vice that cannot be forgiven is hypocrisy. The repentance of a hypocrite is