The Presidency needs to be strengthened with an Advisory Board

01 Jul 2019

There is a need to break an economic gridlock consuming our country.

Once the economy part is resolved, politics and all it represent will with ease fall into line.

To do that we need to empower the presidency; not by making any more powerful than it already is, but rather by staffing it with more skills that are so clearly lacking at the moment.

The Presidency is really the foundation on which the whole of Government is anchored.

High principle dictates that the vice president, cabinet, the civil service and parliament are the legitimate counsels of the president.

Added to those would be Attorney General on matters legal.

But the truth is that even these are not enough on several fronts.

We are living through extraordinary times.

And extraordinary times, call for extraordinary measures.

The economy is losing grip, there is an election to run, and other ministers like the rest of parliamentarians are too busy fighting political battles to come to parliament.

An election aside, it looks like even after it is all over, we are likely to see returned to parliament some of the most inexperienced team retuned, when it comes to running a government.

So the president has quite a handful of reasons to be worried.

An Advisory Board does not have to be a statutory organ.

And it can wholly be picked by the president himself.

Much more it needs to be very small in number – say six.

It will advise the president mainly on the economy, but also on infrastructure and the path that the country needs to adopt.

There are also serious reforms that the economy needs.

It cannot be business as usual.

There is a need to focus on strengthening the economy so that it works for everybody.

The key determinant will be to modernize that economy.

Such reforms need home grown expertise; neither your World Bank nor your International Monetary Fund.

Batswana are increasingly beginning to question democracy and the benefits that democracy begets.

That should not be so.

They are also beginning to lose faith in the institutions designed for them.

If not corrected, there are real risks that this could spiral out of control.

All those are a result of corruption and the glaring inequalities in our society.

Batswana’s faith and confidence in our democratic institutions have been badly shaken.

These sadly include the judiciary.

The immediate past administration played with the sanctity of the judiciary, with terrible results.

The suspension of half a dozen or so judges of the high Court was a particularly heavy hammer blow to the judiciary.

Suspensions aside, the judiciary too has too seldom failed to cover itself with glory.

The appointment of judges too has often left a bad taste.

All those need to be reversed.

Botswana needs to go back to its roots as a liberal democracy.

The Advisory Board would work at advising an otherwise busy and disturbed president to achieve that.

For an economy that for so long did so well, it should be a matter of shame that as a country we have failed to consolidate our economic earnings.

Vulnerable as our economy is multitudes of our people who have not been touched by that same economy when it was still doing well.

That can be corrected – by reforms, mordernisation at of course goodwill.