De Beers denies funding Botswana’s ruling party
Gaborone – De Beers has moved swiftly to deny media reports that it is funding the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in this year’ General elections slated for October 24.
The Botswana Guardian newspaper recently quoted sources at the ruling party’s head office as saying that the diamond mining giant had literally poured millions of money into the BDP’s coffers.
In a statement, De Beers said “the allegations raised in the report are totally and completely false. For avoidance of any doubt, De Beers is not involved in the Botswana electoral process in anyway.”
“In fact, as matter of policy, De Beers does not engage in the political process. De Beers said such reports have also called in question the reputations of honest people who work in both De Beers and government, without evidence to support such claims,” said De Beers.
The company added that last November it completed the transfer of De Beers’ sales operations from London to Botswana ‑ resulting in billions of dollars in economic activity, new jobs and the creation of local business. In doing so, De Beers moved from corporate investor to corporate citizen. De Beers said Botswana was its centre operations and therefore kits business.
“After 45 years of partnership with the people of Botswana, we look forward to many more decades of investment. Perhaps focusing on the opportunities before Botswana, while letting our results speak for themselves, is the best way to handle those who would tear down our partnership,” said De Beers.
According to the Botswana Guardian, BDP is alleged to have engaged a team of intelligence consultants from De Beers to eavesdrop and subvert opposition campaign strategies, Botswana Guardian is reliably informed. Intelligence sources say the campaign is motivated by uncertainty over the BDP’s future as a ruling party. BDP Executive Secretary, Sechele Sechele, declined to comment on the issue, the paper said. The paper said a highly placed source within the intelligence community revealed that De Beers is determined to assist the BDP retain power and is using its resources to train intelligence officers on subverting opposition strategies. The source revealed that a handful people within the BDP and government are privy to the secret mission.
The paper said the BDP was analysing some report about the state of the ruling party following a major split that led to the establishment of Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). That was in 2011. The recommendations, according to the source included luring defectors back the BDP fold.
Recently opposition Botswana Congress Party and Umbrella for Democratic Change have been complaining that security operatives follow them. BCP Councillor for Naledi North is battling for his life at Princess Marina hospital after three assailants questioned him about his party’s campaign strategies.
De Beers Consolidated Mines Communications Manager, Public and Corporate Affairs, Tom Tweedy, said he is not aware of De Beers’ involvement in assisting BDP. It is not the first time De Beers has been accused of favouring the ruling party and its politicians.