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Botswana MPs adopt political party funding motion

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The Botswana Parliament on Friday adopted a motion that will lead to all parties across the political divide benefitting from state funding. The motion was tabled by opposition Botswana Congress Party (BCP) Member of Parliament Bagalatia Aarone and was supported by MPS across the political divide including MPs from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) who had rejected it in the past.

Presenting the motion, Aarone said political party funding is an old debate in Botswana with past and present politicians joining in the argument for or against it.

He said his motion is not offering a formula for party funding but is aimed at persuading MPs to agree on the principle while the model and formula was left to experts and administrators to thrash out.

Aarone who believes that political parties are some of the most important ingredients of a proper well functioning democracy declared: “Political parties shape visions for how the country can best move forward, act as checks and balances on the ruling party, promote public political education on citizenry and promote public debate on national and international issues,”.

Aarone said the funding of political parties should be seen in two respects, which is funding for the party organisation to maintain itself and funding for election campaigns.

He warned that the unequal access of political parties to financial resources has the potential to undermine the very competition for power leading to lack of a level playing field.

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