Even at this very late hour Venson can still withdraw from her suicide mission

03 Feb 2019

Even at this very late hour, and more especially notwithstanding the kind of bad behavior he has had to contend with coming from New Jerusalem and its chief protagonist, it is important for President Mokgweetsi Masisi to show forbearance and offer Pelonomi Venson a path to withdraw from the self-destroying route she has chosen for herself.

Scotched earth attitude is never a good a policy, under any circumstances.

Venson has made immense contributions to this country – and for her past mistakes, she has atoned and fully paid back her dues.

From the current crusade, her biggest mistake has been to be virtuous enough to believe that it is now her time. But then that is the human frailty that all of might fall into.

The real truth though is that she is now being used by people who feel they have an axe to grind with the president. They are telling her that she is more qualified, more deserving than Masisi.

What they are not telling her is why to start with they overlooked her in favour of Masisi.

For her the timing could hardly be any worse.

She is certainly at the twilight of what has by any account been a sterling  and immensely successful career .

Many of us, except for Ian Khama had stood behind her when she tried in vain to become an international diplomat by campaigning for the chairmanship of the African Commission.

The swaths of voices now nudging her on were not by her side at her darkest hour when the then President Sir Ketumile Masire sacked her as Permanent Secretary in the early 1990s.

It took many years of hard work and courage for her to remake and reinvent herself.

And she successfully did because age was at that time on her side. Not anymore!

The same people making the loudest noises behind her today, are actually goading her into a disorderly end of her career. Only ambition can be responsible for clouding her judgment.

This is not what she worked hard to achieve.

Venson has a detailed knowledge of how Government works. She is actually one the best policy gurus this country has ever produced – in league with such greats like Festus Mogae, Baledzi Gaolathe and the fast fading cream of that era.

And she speaks policy with unrivalled discernment.

Sadly for her she seems to have put her faith and life into the hands of an erratic and capricious prince, who himself has been unable to accept that his days in power are over and that his ability to influence events is finished.

May be she has walked the summits and valleys of power for so long that she has herself also grown reckless. Which would be a tragedy if that is so.

To start with, her announcement to contest  the presidency a faux pas – planned, perceived and implemented poorly – in policy but also in public relations.

She wrote a letter to the President before she could personally meet the President .

That was suicidal and particularly demeaning even for a liberal President like Mokgweetsi Masisi.

Out of courtesy, because she was a cabinet minister at the time, the least Venson should have done was to seek face time with the president as a way of announcing her intentions to the only person who mattered.

Such a meeting would then have been followed by a letter as a formality.

But of course her handlers and masters, because they still do not want to accept that Masisi is a Head of State with full powers that come with that office prevailed on her to write a letter followed by a long monologue in the media effectively dismissing Masisi’s bonafides.

She left Masisi with no option but to sack her.

Anybody in Masisi’s position would have done the same under the circumstances.

As it is, Venson is on some kind of a suicide mission, what the Japanese call a Kamikaze.

Her decision to turn around and play victim after being sacked from cabinet is exactly in keeping in kind with those surrounding her who are blinded by a deep sense of entitlement.

The clock is fast ticking. And from the look of things Venson is sleep-walking into a point of return.

Given his vintage position, Masisi too has a job to do to assist Venson.

The weight of his office puts on his shoulders immense responsibility to be more generous and magnanimous, even in victory.

He should reach out to Venson and offer her a glorious path out of the mess she has put herself. That would not be a sign of weakness on Masisi. Quite to the contrary it would be a sign of strength and courage.

Up until this latest tragicomedy some of us had known Venson as slick but also quite reasonable person.

The hope is that she can still see the extent to which she is being used and being ruined by people whose interests are by no means in tandem with hers.

If there are any back to back deals she might have entered into with her handlers as it looks ever more so likely, she can still get out of those and emerge with her integrity intact.

What Masisi can do is to offer her a path with which to climb down – with her dignity and integrity guaranteed.

If Masisi does that history will judge him kindly as someone who is able to use his power with discreet and circumspect – including offering assistance to even his opponents who for any reason of human weakness stray into self –destruction.