Leader of Opposition (LOO), and Member of Parliament for Selebi West Dithapelo Keorapetse has accused the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) led government of bleeding the economy through corruption.
In his response to President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) this afternoon, Keorapetse said, his party believes that corruption, mismanagement resulting in wasteful expenditure, maladministration, unethical governance, secrecy and non-accountability are bleeding the economy.
In his main address as LOO, since the suspension of Dumelang Saleshando in July, Keorapetse said corruption has eroded trust in public institutions and consequently sullied the legitimacy of this government.
LOO further said that the suspended Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Director Tymon Katlholo estimated in June 2022 that P600 million was lost in corruption over the last 11 months in the cases he has investigated.
He said the Director further stated that corruption has grown in sophistry, complexity and value, thus mutating from petty to grand corruption.
“The disheartening fact to note is that high profile cases seldom result in conviction whilst some are never prosecuted,” said Keorapetse.
LOO, further warned against what he termed state capture by certain Chinese companies. He said there’s a group of predominantly Chinese companies and other foreign entities which are able to get public policy decisions and or executive decrees in a manner that has repurposed the state to suit their interests and those of their beneficiaries.
“The entire government tendering system is rigged. At the centre of the whole tendering system crisis is the DIS (Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services),” remarked Keorapetse.
This according to Keorapetse has ended with the public losing hundreds of millions as a result of projects stalling, with price escalations becoming another burden on the fiscus.
Keorapetse gave examples of a company that was placed third after evalution, and was P100 million up against the first and second placed companies but still won the Mmmashia-Palapye Water Pipeline contract.
“How did that happen? Won’t you agree with those who say the company has paid kickbacks upfront? I don’t see any plausible explanation. That is the reason why the PS Lands and Water resigned and ran away,” fired Keorapetse.
The Leader of Opposition dismissed SONA as not reflective of the current status of the country.
He said President Masisi failed to give citizens real progress with figures in comparison to how things were when he assumed office in 2018.
Keorapetse said he expected the President to state how much a security guard, a teller at Choppies or Spar was earning when he assumed office, and how much they’re earning now.
“The President is embarrassed to give us the true state of our nation, or he is simply a leader who doesn’t care,” Keorapetse observed.