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Once upon a time, a German town was invaded by infectious rats that caused panic and anxiety within the community. In the ensuing panic, a Good Samaritan in colourful attire or clown costume [pied in ancient lingo] offered to rid the town of these rats for a reasonable fee that was not specified.
The magical man then played his musical instrument (pipe) until the rats came out and followed him. Once the rats were out, he led them far away into the jungle and left them there for good. The result was the return of peace in the community. But the Good Samaritan couldn’t be given what he wanted as compensation and so he became vindictive and decided to hurt the community where it hurts most.
He again played his flute until children in the community came out to dance with him and unwittingly followed him to a cryptic place where they all disappeared forever. On both occasions, the pied piper used his magical flute to charm, lure and put rats and children under a spell so that they couldn’t resist as he led them to hell.
Whereas fairy tales are fictitious, they make us think hard about their meaning in real life. In many ways, the pied piper fiction is supposed to make us beware of the dangers of following someone blindly or acting thoughtlessly.
The fiction makes us appreciate the importance of acting independently or the need to avoid falling victim to group think because it usually makes followers and/or servants to behave and act irrationally and ultimately perish while championing people’s agendas that have not the smallest connection to our personal circumstances.
The pied piper fiction teaches us that it is a fundamental human virtue to weigh options, consider possible outcomes and take full responsibility for our own actions. Whereas we all make mistakes and at times lose sight of our purpose in life, human beings need to reduce the prospects of being hypnotized by leaders to the extent of being under their absolute control.
Human creatures need to commit themselves to the ideals of inherent dignity of every individual so that each one of us demonstrates their worth as complete human beings.
The pied piper fiction is a story that reminds us to be proud of our innate ability to think for ourselves and act in our own best interests; to watch our every step and action so that we do not fall victim to the powerful and unwittingly submit to the sweet melodies from their pipes.
Botswana’s very own pied pipers were in their element at the town of Serowe at the weekend stirring emotions and provoking a collective response that lured helpless tribesmen and followers from elsewhere into political oblivion.
Like the fictional pied piper whose flute wooed and bewitched multitude of children, our own living magical clowns managed to whip up their exceedingly loyal tribesmen and evidently trapped, submissive servants from minority tribes into a frenzy that culminated with people irrationally throwing away their BDP membership cards.
Looking demonically possessed like the rats in the fiction, the tribesmen and hangers-on followed the pipers who had no compunction and no shame in tapping into the ignorance of their followers in pursuance of their selfish agenda. Like seasoned crooks, the pied pipers had used their charm and delightful illusions without any limits whatsoever.
Interestingly, after the mentally captured beings had thrown away their BDP membership cards and perhaps ready to follow their magical clowns to their new rosy political home – an unparalleled paradise in a country they turned into half-hell- the leading local pied piper performed an expert somersault and pronounced that he was not joining any political party any time soon.
Like rats in the fictional pied piper, followers and tribesmen who were lured into throwing away their BDP membership cards were left in the lurch mainly because they failed to apply their minds to the piper’s possible real intentions and possible repercussions of their irrational actions.
Their decision to follow the smart pipers and terminate their membership of the BDP was certainly an easy, effortless and thoughtless but had far-reaching implications to their future political course of action. This meant that the tribesmen and followers needed to have carefully thought about the direction they were about to take before hurriedly throwing away their cards.
However, their tribal loyalty blindfolded them and caused them to aimlessly hop and plunge into a ditch like those rats and children in the fiction. By failing to use their heads before turning against their former party, the tribesmen and followers failed to realize that the actions of the pied piper, in particular, the lead pied piper - their Godfather - were motivated by greed and self-interest wherein he sought to exercise his will through their brainless efforts.
By acting like rats that followed melodious tunes of the clown in the fiction, the tribesmen and other followers failed to spot that what was being sold to them as a holy political outfit was in fact a vindictive association formed by a notorious cabal that merely intends to vent their anger at their former partners in crime, using loyal tribesmen as cheap fodder.
Whereas former president Dr Khama’s decision to quit the BDP and form or prod his proxies to form a new party is proper, if the main reason for its formation is to cause the BDP to lose elections, then he needs urgent deliverance and those committing themselves to his project need all-night prayers and forced fasting for 365 days uninterruptedly.
To be sure, the decision by former President Dr Khama to quit the BDP and back a new party that is crowded with his tribesmen and BDP dissidents is both unusual and symbolic. The decision is basically a mischievous attempt to manipulate tribesmen and followers and use them as fodder in his war against those he regard with disfavour.
His is a cunning community project management style that treacherously anointed tribesmen as prominent members of the axis of evil. Batswana need to be warned against associating themselves with a greedy, coldblooded, cunning group that has the full backing of an angry former president who has a reputation of being incorrigibly vindictive.
When a former state president and his henchmen with a cloud over their heads refuse to exit the stage, people need to be very worried. When a greedy group form a political party whose main objective is to regularize their being vindictive towards their former friends, Batswana need to be very much concerned and treat them like foul-tasting village brew that has to be spit out instantly.
By taking aim at everyone in the current administration, the former president is actually propagating the narrative that he and only he alone can secure the nation’s future. And for the very reason of being disingenuous and selfish, for him the ends will always justify the means in which case if the only way to save Botswana from imaginary aliens is to destroy it, former president Dr Khama is in fact more than ready to do so.
It is a truism that former president Dr Khama and his henchmen who are trying to hide behind a new political apparel bear a lot of responsibility for destroying what was once an African miracle. Thus, his decision to form or back a new political party whose sole aim is to frustrate his former party and ultimately have his stooges in control of the state seems like a tale of evil sponsored persecution of our erstwhile value system. His is a decision that embodies all that is selfish, vindictive and evil. The decisions in many ways propagate a discourse of a disgusting entitlement mentality.
The mischievous festival of card throwing and abusive choral music sang by inept followers to showcase their loyalty to men who are refusing to cede space for new bodies and ideas was a painful reminder that we are part of Africa where weird scenes are the order of the day.
In the end, Batswana should be looking to aligning themselves with and follow those who share our humanity and those who call out our hope for a society in which we can prosper together. To follow hard-nosed bandits who had for so long lived off state subsidies and still refuse to quit will reduce us to the level of the rats in the fictional pied piper.