Open Letter To Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi
Dear Honourable Mr Mokgweetsi Masisi, MP,
I write to you this open letter as a fellow citizen and, like you, a political leader. When I took the decision to enter the terrain of active politics a few years ago I had high hopes. I thought I would be able to contribute, even if modestly, to the shaping of a value-based leadership in the exercise of politics in Botswana. I have worked as a clergyman, a community activist, educationist and a theologian and believed that these experiences would add value to our politics. I saw this as a patriotic decision. However, most people around me chided me for this decision arguing that politics is too dirty and unalterable.
Over the years I have thought hard about this decision, especially as I see the conduct of fellow politicians who seem to act with recklessness and impunity. I have come to the conclusion that we have a leadership crisis as a country. Many of the people who occupy public leadership space are often implicated in all manner of corrupt dealings without any consequences whatsoever.
I am nostalgic about the days following the Kgabo Commission in 1992 how both Hon Peter Mmusi who was then Vice President of the country and Hon Daniel Kwelagobe who was Cabinet Minister and BDP chairperson resigned their positions in order to clear their names in the public. That kind of nobility and decency eludes us these days.
This is the reason I have taken the decision to write to you as a fellow Christian to ask of you to reflect on what is happening in our country at the moment. In the last few months social media and mainstream media have been awash with news of alleged corruption by the political leadership of this country. In my view the recent fissure was when revelations were made about the rot at BOPEU implicating many of our public figures.
It became apparent then that the poor and underprivileged are taken for granted by those of us in public leadership. We claim to represent the interests of the women, men and children who have trusted us by electing us into positions of leadership. What was painful about the BOPEU saga was that it doesn’t seem that we have regulatory bodies with teeth that can protect us against the laundering of money within the country.
This week the story of corruption around the National Petroleum Fund (NPF) reared its head again.
Consistently it is alleged that Mr Isaac Kgosi has used public funds to enrich himself. What is astounding is how the statutory institutions which are the Directorate on Corruption
We will be expecting you to ensure that we have functionally, ethically credible and accountable institutions, and not those that serve the interests of the elite and powerful only.
There are also allegations that the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and Members of Cabinet have siphoned money from the NPF. Some of those mentioned include outgoing President Ian Khama, Minister Prince Maele, Minister Sadique Kebonang and Minister Tshekedi Khama.
These are serious allegations that need to be investigated by independent agencies. We have to return to that time when we could trust our public institutions and you have a responsibility both as President-elect and chairperson of the BDP to urgently address these matters.
Further, there are allegations that you and other political actors have also benefitted from the corruption at the NPF. It is not enough to shrug off these accusations as merely false and imaginary because your credibility as President-Elect is dented in the eyes of many. I wish to challenge you to draw the line in the sand as you begin your presidency. I dare you to demonstrate to the nation that the era of corruption that was characteristic of President Khama’s leadership is over by declaring your assets before your inauguration.
To further demonstrate your seriousness about ending corruption I challenge you to insist that all those who will be appointed to your Cabinet should all declare their assets before assuming their roles. I also, without reservation, ask you to make sure that public servants like Isaac Kgosi are investigated and prosecuted, and if found guilty, the necessary steps are taken to recover stolen country resources. I believe that the change of guard should be an opportunity to clean up the filth and to inject some confidence in our people. By this letter I also challenge all, me included, who are in top positions in our different political parties to declare their assets at the High Court. Unless politicians began to demonstrate that they are credible, ethical and serious about ending corruption and looting then this country will go the direction of other failed states.
Meanwhile, I wish you well as you will be taking over the leadership baton as the fifth President of the Republic of Botswana.
*Rev Moiseraele Prince Dibeela, PhD