US politicians promote transparency

The American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) delegation has advised the media fraternity in Botswana to hold political and civic appointees accountable while in government positions.

The American delegation shared their thoughts during a media briefing held in Gaborone last week. They were representing various states and the US federal government.

ACYPL is a non-partisan non-profit organisation internationally recognised as the pre-eminent catalyst for promoting mutual understanding, friendship and shared knowledge among young political and policy leaders worldwide.

Erica Thomas, a democrat from Georgia House of Representatives, said the media is entitled to freedom of information hence it should ethically interrogate the credibility of government appointees.

“The rule should apply to all, whether you are loyal to the government of the day or not. Your appointment should not deter the media from interrogating your integrity in office. All political and civic appointees are eligible for exposure if there is lack of transparency or accountability in the public office,” Thomas said.

About funding of political parties, Thomas said it is not an easy decision to make, but it varies from country to country, saying it could be a good idea.  For his part, Steve Schale, also a Democrat said each state in the US is managing its election adding that there should be transparency in the source of funding for parties and individuals.

“Non-partisan representation in government departments can be a healthy environment as it can create an atmosphere that is economically sustainable with diverse ideas of formulating policies and effective implementation of government programmes,” said Frank Lahose, a Republican from Ohio Senate.

He said it is normal where members of the opposing party are appointed to diplomatic positions. “It underlines the integrity that an individual may possess to serve in the public office,” Lahose said.

Another delegate, Susan Closmore, said political education is key to women involvement and success in politics, adding that the women’s voice is important as it has proved in the US that women have electoral advantage than men.

“In the US women play a pivotal role in the success of elections and they hold a high percentage in votes,” Closmore said.

Meanwhile, Rebaone Mmereki of Organisation of Youth and Elections in Botswana (OYEBO) a non-profit organisation that hosted ACYPL said his organisation is in support of equal funding for political parties in Botswana.

He said they expect the arrangement to meet the essential needs of the respective parties during political education and campaigns, that would motivate key populations such as women and youth.

“Political parties in Botswana have no resources and this most often leads to an uneven political ground, especially where the youth and women in politics are fielding candidates that lack resources. This could be used as start up capital to fundraise more for each political party,” Mmereki said.

The young American political leaders were in Botswana to underscore their support for democracy and civil society in Botswana.

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