- UDC launches two campaign aircraft
- “Canadian oil billionaire is also my mentor”
- “We will win over 30 seats” • “The BMD chapter is closed”
- “We do not hate Khama”
- “I have the cash to pay BURS”
LAWRENCE SERETSE & KEABETSWE NEWEL
For the first time ever Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) President Duma Boko has revealed names of international billionaires who have provided for aircrafts and financial resources for campaigns ahead of the general elections billed for October.
Recently UDC unveiled a chopper and a private jet meant for Boko to canvass political rallies in over ten constituencies in a period of ten days.
The UDC is said to have fundraised millions for the campaign. Allegations flying thick and thin are that controversial South African mining tycoon Zunaid Moti is the owner of the two aircrafts. Moti, was recently exposed as one of the financiers of the UDC President and owner of the current top class BMW 5 Series sedan used by the UDC leader.
Speaking to this publication on Monday, UDC president Boko referred to the coming elections as a high stakes game. He predicted winning more than 30 constituencies. I am giving this campaign my all. I am not playing games this year. ” he assertively said.
He said the aircraft and the campaign resources to meet that target have been provided by ‘friends’ of the UDC who support the movement. He said that Moti is his friend and they have known each other for a very long time.
Further, Boko stated that these friends helped the UDC to charter aircraft which will assist the party to access people as widely as possible in its campaigns. The opposition cannot rely on state media to send its message directly and efficiently, Boko said.
“Of course there are others who benefit from state media resources but we have relationships with billionaires as well. In life you need at least one friend who can help you, support your dreams and believe in you. These are the people that I have, who invest in me and are prepared to vouch for me,” Boko told this publication.
He stated that the ability of the UDC to mobilize resources and strength for its election campaigns is supported by investor businessmen who he claims have no ulterior motives.
Boko revealed Thomas Zimmer, an 80 year old Canadian billionaire as having been his mentor for years now. He said Zimmer has provided guidance and advice to him during his budding political career. Boko confirmed that he has a very close and personal relationship with Zimmer and states that, “he shares words of wisdom with me, he guides me and advises me, I am in good hands.”
He also mentioned as a personal friend, Russell Dixon who fundraised for United States (US) politician Mitt Romney during elections for Congress in the US. He said he has reached out to people who are close to him and are ready to support what he stands for. Dixon is a billionaire with investments in various hedge funds in the US.
Boko also mentioned Hollywood actor Rick Yune as a passionate friend who always supports him without requesting for anything in return.
Asked if his personal relationship with the controversial Moti does not complicate his position as party president and the politics of integrity, Boko said, “I will not deal with those but if anybody has committed a crime in a serious country like South Africa the law would have taken its course. All the allegations that he is a mafia are absolute crap coming from idle minds,” he responded.
He said that his investor friends are not seeking anything in return even if the UDC attains state power. “These people I associate with are billionaires what could I possibly give them,” Boko asked rhetorically, “ George Soros funds democracy and free press across the world is he asking for anything in return?”
NO POLITICAL CONNECTION WITH KHAMA
Boko has refuted allegations linking the UDC to former president Ian Khama, however he said his party will not ‘join the chorus of hatred against Khama’. He said that the UDC has never had any personal issues with Khama but the differences emanated from the positions he held in government and the ruling party, Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
“Our issues were and are still about the institutions which he was leading and particularly the BDP which we want to unseat from power. If Khama is no longer in power why should we waste our energy talking about him,” Boko explained, also adding that he has no idea how Khama came to endorse UDC candidate Kesitegile Gobotswang in Ramokgonami.
Boko distanced the UDC from the endorsement but also said that Gobotswang who is also vice president of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) under the UDC, has the freedom to rally support from influential people in his constituency to further his campaign.
“Those are issues for people in their localities because Khama is a philanthropist and we cannot stop him from doing his work if it does not interfere with us as the UDC. A couple of years ago Khama wanted to build a few houses in my constituency when he was still president, unfortunately our schedules never connected. That he still does philanthropy work shows that maybe he is genuine about it,” Boko added.
BMD IS A CLOSED CHAPTER
When asked about the possibilities of settling issues with the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) to avoid a protracted court battle during elections, Boko sternly stated that the BMD remains expelled from the UDC. He said that the coalition has taken a political decision not to engage with the BMD on the matter so as to let the legal process take its course.
“The BMD is a closed chapter as far as I’m concerned and it remains expelled, one person who for the longest of time has been patient with BMD has been me, we are moving on and we are not giving anyone a chance. I am not playing any games. This is the final lap and I am giving it my all for the UDC,” Boko remarked.
The UDC and BMD are locked in legal duel where the BMD is challenging to its bitter end its expulsion from the UDC. The BMD was expelled over accusation of acting against the interests of UDC.