MP demands transparency with  donations

MP demands transparency with donations

MASERU-An MP wants politicians and politically connected people to declare the sources of the food they donate to the poor.
Linotlolo tsa Khauta (DPL) leader, Limpho Tau, made the suggestion in Parliament this week.

Tau said there should be a law compelling politicians to tell the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) “the source and origin of the funds they use to purchase food packages and other aid they donate to the public”.
Lesotho does not have a law forcing politicians to declare the source of either their campaign funding or donations they doll out to the poor.

It is common for businesspeople to bankroll political campaigns. They also give politicians food parcels and money to donate to the poor. Although the donations are done in good spirit the danger is that they might be used to buy favours from politicians. Others fear that politicians could be using their donations for vote buying.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic started several politicians, including ministers, have been dolling out aid to desperate people. They however never say where they get the money to buy the food.
It is possible that some might be using their own money. Yet given the size of some of the donations there is genuine fear that the money may be coming from deep-pocketed business people who might eventually want to be rewarded with tenders and contracts.

Tau believes those transactions should be regulated to ensure unscrupulous characters don’t buy influence and favours.
However, other politicians say Tau should be particular about what he wants regulated and the problem he thinks the law will address.
Democratic Congress (DC) deputy leader Motlalentoa Letsosa said Tau “could table this as a motion not a point of order so that it could be discussed in parliament”.

“This could help him share his standpoint regarding the donations made to the people,” Letsosa said.
“A mere statement from Tau is not enough to explain his stance regarding the donations made to the people out there. He should give more details.”
Letsosa, who is also the Minister of Home Affairs, said Tau “should be in a position to tell who those people he is referring to are, those he says are politically exposed”.

The Popular Front for Democracy (PFD) leader, Advocate Lekhetho Rakuoane, said he would only be worrying “if these donations could go to an extreme end of being regarded as vote buying”.
“The timing of these donations is important so that it could be looked into to see if it does not amount to the buying of votes,” he said.

Advocate Rakuoane said there are many politicians using their own money to assist people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Socialist Revolutionary (SR) leader, Teboho Mojapela, said he supports Tau’s suggestion because some people are helping politicians with donations because they want “something in return”.
“These people would in turn want to be given tenders,” Mojapela said.
He accused one senior politician of being “pampered with potatoes and beans by the people who will want to be rewarded”.

The ABC MP for Motimposo, Thabang Mafojane, said the notion that there are some people sponsoring their donations is wrong.
Mafojane, who is also a businessman, said he had to negotiate with his family so that he could assist the people in his constituency.

He has donated to more than 1 000 people in the constituency since the Covid-19 pandemic started.
“All these are done with the money accrued from my businesses and my salary,” Mafojane said.
“We also bury the deceased in the constituencies,” he said.

Majara Molupe

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