As funder withdraws offer; party looking for another Good Samaritan
The main opposition party Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) whose campaigning programme was already oiled and ready to roll out has been halted on its heels this week.
The UDC President Duma Boko was to launch their campaigning chopper next week which was to cover 20 constituencies in 10 days. This was going to culminate with massive campaign by the UDC with the launching of the party's 2019 manifesto as the epi-centre of their campaign.
Apart from the chopper, UDC was to be sponsored with campaigning buses just like in 2014. Highly placed sources in South Africa have revealed that the controversial South African businessman Zunaid Moti, who was one of UDC's major funders, has now developed cold feet following media exposure of his association with UDC.
Moti, who was recently exposed as the funder to the UDC President and owner of the current BMW sedan used by the UDC leader, has since suspended his funding to the UDC.
"Moti is trying to clean his image which is tainted and so when that story broke in Botswana he decided to pull out from the deal," revealed a highly placed source that is close to Moti.
Moti, who is chairman of the Moti Group - a diversified company with chrome mining being their biggest earner -,was allegedly promised a stake in the Botswana diamonds sector should UDC take power in 2019.
The group has footprints in the African Chrome Fields operation in Zimbabwe which consists of seven plants and produces 800,000t.
Moti is a close associate of Zimbabwean Deputy President Constantine Chiwenga and Zimbabwean media have revealed that he could have been ZANU PF funder during the elections last year.
Boko has not been well this week and was briefly hospitalised at Milpark Hospital in South Africa.
Though UDC Vice President Dumelang Saleshando has stated in a letter updating about the health situation of Boko that all activities will continue as planned, the tour of 20 constituencies in 10 days will not happen.
There have been allegations that after Boko failed to convince Moti not to pull out from funding their campaign, he approached Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane for possible funding. This has since been rubbished by DA who said Boko has never met any of their leaders.
The Manifesto Launch
The UDC is expected to launch their manifesto in May in Maun and it is planned to be a massive event with artists entertaining the crowd. The event will be held at Maun Sports Complex.
"The pull out by Moti could significantly affect the launch in terms of logistics because he was expected to fund most of the activities including the hotel accommodation and flight costs for the international guests," confided one of the UDC leaders.
But who is Moti?
The 44-year-old business man was born in South Africa and did his studies at St Alban College in Pretoria. He came into prominence as the manager of Future Fin which financed individuals and companies through the purchase of luxury vehicles, yachts and private jets.
He is also the brains behind Abalengani Group through which he was involved in the development of luxury golf estate Nondela.
A controversial figure, in 2012 he was arrested and appeared in court in connection with armed robbery and conspiracy to commit murder of a North West businessman. The case was later thrown out.
Five years later he made headlines this time as his name appeared on Interpol's red-notice list in relation to soured relations with a Russian businessman in Lebanon. Tied to this was the alleged theft of a rare pink diamond which was valued at P600 million.
In 2018 he was arrested and detained in Germany for two months as he was suspected to be on Red Notice or Diffusion Notice. His arrest followed a "wanted person" notice by Russian authorities. The Russians accused him of defrauding a Russian citizen, Alibek Issaev, out of R6.6-million in an alleged bogus mining deal. Same year his company moved into Zimbabwe where they are involved in Chrome mining.