- Boko says gov’t is harassing his election campaign
- Claims he is being followed by spy agents
- Boko to meet US Ambassador today (Tuesday)
- Promises to bring more aircraft for campaign
Leader of Opposition and President of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Duma Boko is accusing state agencies Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) and the Directorate on Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) of harassing and frustrating his party’s national elections campaign and has revealed that he will be taking them to court for this.
Boko made the allegations in an interview with The Botswana Gazette yesterday (Monday), just days after the UDC launched their general elections manifesto in Maun. According to reports, which Boko has since confirmed, officials of BURS temporarily seized the party’s manifesto booklets upon arrival at the Maun International Airport last week Friday.
“It was the customs officials that delayed the arrival of our manifesto,” claimed Boko. “We know that they are being used by DIS. Their problem was that they said there was an article that stipulates that we should pay 12% (P2.4 million) of the mode of transport used to deliver campaign material. We then engaged our lawyers. They claimed that charge is for an import permit.”
The UDC leader holds that such laws only become applicable in their case and such imbalances need to be exposed through the courts of law. “We all know whose interest these services are serving. Did AP (Alliance for Progressives) pay the 12% for the buses they brought for their campaign? ” he questions.
“We are left with no option but to take these matters to court because we are being harassed by these agencies. We are being denied an opportunity to reach the people of the this country and campaign freely. I can tell you for a fact that on Sunday BURS and DISS were waiting for me to land at the SSKA and then seize my aircraft. They have certainly pushed us to a point where we feel that we need to challenge them through the law.”
“We have been quiet and never asked where the BDP and AP are getting their campaign money from. They (BDP) have refused political party funding and we have since went out and sought for donations from people internationally, why should it be an issue? There are many donors and our friends out there who are willing to support our cause,” adding that his donors do not have any business interests in Botswana.
He further told this publication that they have reported the BDP and the state agencies to the IEC, which he says is still mum on the matter.
“Tomorrow morning (Tuesday) I am meeting the US Ambassador and we are going to discuss these issues further and if need be, we will ask for a leeway to go and report the BDP’s so called democracy to Washington. We have also written to a number of Embassies in the country as well as the European Commission.”
Despite what he labelled as intimidation and harassment by the two state agencies, he has promised to bring even more aircraft to be used in his election campaign. DISS Director General Peter Magosi’s phone rang unanswered when contacted for comment on Monday afternoon.
In addition Boko also confirmed his letter to the office of the Ombudsman in which he accuses Magosi of abuse. Boko is of the view that Magosi “has overstepped his security functions and crossed into the political landscape. His overzealous bodyguard behaviour, seemingly to impress his political appointer has left many Batswana puzzled by the state of affairs.”
The Ombudsman Augustine Makgonatsotlhe would not be drawn into commenting on the matter only revealing that, “We only received his letter last week, and we are still investigating.”