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Should the president get involved in private businesses?

Today was once again one of those days in parliament, as always and expected, the opposition was throwing tantrums and condemning some acts by the rulers. This time what caught the attention mostly was a debate on whether it is okay for the president to get involved in private businesses and consequently compete with ordinary citizens for opportunities.

While the opposition saw this act as unethical and a possibility for bringing conflict of interest which might ultimately be viewed as corruption, on the other side of the aisle the ruling party members of parliament believe that there is nothing wrong with that.

“We have been talking about the rule of law, that anyone, just like every Motswana has right as long as they are not breaking any law. Now this issue where people say there is something that the president may have interest in… Is there a problem if he has an interest, in addition is there a problem even if he can apply for allocation at the delta?” Vice president, Slumber Tsogwane asserted.

Another member of the cabinet, the minister of presidential affairs and public administration- Kabo Morwaeng also defended the president, describing him as the most transparent president ever, “All the things that the president possess were obtained legally. If the president was hiding something, me and others would not have supported the declaration of asserts and liabilities bill. See the man who believes there is nothing wrong with people knowing what he possess as the president! The president who is transparent with what he has, then you say he is corrupt. The truth is this man believes in transparency, that is why we came up with declaration of asserts and liabilities bill.

On the other side, the leader of opposition, Dumelang Saleshando says having business interests distracts the president from focusing on his roles as the head of the state.

“President Masisi takes the crown when it comes to accumulating wealth while still in power. He has no competition in that regard. Let us look at Former presidents Mogae and Khama, they never established companies as quick as Masisi is currently doing now. The reason why the vaccine is delaying to arrive is because when president arrives at the office, he starts by doing his private businesses.

Some time last year, the president bid for acquiring a piece of land at Borolong farms and won it. Since becoming president, according to the screenshots taken from Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA) website shared on Facebook by social commentators, Masisi established about five companies since ascending to Presidency seat. Now there are allergations that he is eyeing some piece of land at the delta for rice farming.

According to Botswana constitution, there is no law hindering the president from neither bidding with ordinary citizens nor being involved in private businesses. Now the question is, “Is it ethical for the president to be involved in such, is it not high time the constitution is reviewed?

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