“I am dissapointed by president’s business deals but I am not surprised” Leader of opposition
Leader of Opposition (LOO) in parliament, Dumelang Saleshando says it is worrying for President Mokgweetsi Masisi to suddenly feature in numerous business dealings.
In an interview with The Voice on Tuesday, Saleshando who is also a Member of Parliament (MP) for Maun West said he is disappointed, but not surprised by Masisi’s sudden investments and business interests.
Saleshando made the comment after it emerged recently that the President has business interests in Arcee Holdings Limited where he holds 10 percent shareholding while the remaining 90 percent belongs to Ramachandran Ottapathu, Choppies Co-founder.
“The Presidential seat comes with influence, and you need to avoid using that influence for personal gain. What you need to try and do, is use that influence to change the state of economic affairs for everyone in the country for the better,” says Saleshando.
He posits that since Masisi became the president, his focus has been on wealth accumulation.
” He was never a businessman. There is no single business that you can name that he has run before he became the President. Why are big businesses now interested in Masisi’s shareholding? Is it because he has business acumen or ideas to run a business! The answer is no,” says Saleshando.
Instead, Saleshando argues that companies are interested in Masisi’s shareholding for leverage.
“When businesses apply for certain jobs or tenders, and the adjudicators see the president’s name appearing on the list of directors; it would affect how they would react to the application. It affects your appraisal; you don’t become as objective and independent because you are now talking of a head of state,” notes the opposition leader.
While some may say it is not legally wrong for a state president to get involved in private business deals, Saleshando says it is all about ethics and morality.
“The power of the office demand that the president stay away from other issues.” Saleshando points out.
Besides making inroads into the corporate sector, the president has also been showing fondness for farming by displaying his livestock on social media, and Saleshando has expressed surprise at Masisi’s sudden interest in farming, which he says has not always been Masisi’s hobby.
“That Sekoma farm he was parading recently full of cattle and farm managers, I doubt it was operational before he became Vice-president and he wasn’t a VP not too long ago. So, do you think it’s possible to establish a farm of that magnitude within that short space?” asks Saleshando who went on to explain that he knows many people who have been farmers for a very long time whose farms are not anywhere near to half of what Masisi was seen parading recently.
“If at all he acquired all that cattle and that farm during his presidency, we should all be worried,” says Saleshando, adding that the president has not been walking his corruption fight talk.
“He is not about Batswana or “Batswana ba sekei” as he purports. He is about self-interests. He is using the influence of his office to amass wealth,”Saleshando says.