Somebody has to stand up to the Khamas

27 Nov 2018

As a country we are engaged in a totally weird and wrongful conversation.

And more than anybody else, the media is to blame for it.

Batswana are hurting, economically.

They are interested in seeing their economy get back on track.

They are interested in seeing that same economy creating jobs for them.

They are interested in becoming key players of the multi-billion dollar tourism industry that is today under the merciless clutches of a racist expatriate cartel that has a section of political leadership beholden to them.

Batswana are interested in seeing the effects of high fuel and food prices alleviated.

They are waiting patiently to see their democratic institutions working again for them.

They want to see efforts to fight corruption yielding tangible fruits.

In short, they want to have hop in their lives.

Batswana are rightly and visibly frustrated to see that their ambitions and aspirations are being so forcefully and casually frustrated by people in whom they had invested so much trust.

It is thus shocking to see that in all these hardships that the nation is going through, the media, in a very bizarre twist and totally inexplicable circumstances is fixated and consumed by a thumb sucking phony war between President Mokgweetsi Masisi and his predecessor, Ian Khama.

Acres and acres of editorial space have been dedicated to this conflict.

Yet beside appeasing and placating the egos of the chief protagonists, it would be impossible for anybody to argue convincingly what the benefits to Batswana have been.

To make matters worse even many of the stories written on this media favorite subject have been factually wrong, divisive and harmful to nation building and long-term co-existence of our people, with elementary principles of journalism wantonly and even deliberately put aside.

Batswana have been let down by their political leadership. And the media, ever so elitist and shaky in its analytical discourse has not been of much assistance.

The media or at least a section of it is at best cynical and at worst outright criminal in its wrongheaded priorities.

Many Batswana are today either in poverty or existing somewhere near the borderline. Yet instead of seeing efforts to stem the tide, they are being treated to an endless circus of political innuendo and chicanery, with the media being a part of the chief protagonists.

Its ongoing disregard of so clear-cut developmental priorities, in favour of running after powerful dynastical egomaniacs who cannot stomach the loss of power should be a real source of shame for us all.

The phony war between Masisi and Khama might for now provide short-term sales for a media so weak and venal as to even sell its soul, but by the time the dust settles, and this story goes away as it will inevitably do, the reality of reviving credibility in the eyes of a disillusioned public will prove an impossible sell for the media.

The media should continue to interview Ian Khama.

In fact it is important for the media to provide Khama with the same platform that he denied us when he was in power.

But an obsession with Khama that we are seeing, which is designed to destabilise a legitimate government is unpardonable. It was only a matter of time that the public reached a conclusion that some media platforms and journalists are paid to keep this fight going.

Batswana have been pushed to the limit.

Khama’s behavior is wrong. And the media should point this out.

As we have always suspected the true reason for Khama’s insurgency was on behalf his younger brother, Tshekedi Khama.

Khama had wanted Masisi to appoint his younger brother a vice president.

In fighting Masisi, Khama is trying to cut deals for himself and his family. As has always been the case, it’s all about himself. These are the facts that the media should point out, rather than create a false impression that Khama is being systematically hounded and even humiliated by his successor.

By risking the stability and unity of the country in pursuit of cutting deals for himself and his family, what he is demanding from the nation amounts to saintly empathy, patience and endurance.

It is a risky undertaking.

Having served all his time in power the way he so chose, he is now itching to continue in power by some other clandestine and proxy means.

Khama’s life plans are today in tatters. Yet instead of him taking responsibility for the mess he made and the conundrum he finds himself, he decides to shift the blame.

The man must accept that in real life political deals and stage managed power successions have never worked anywhere.

If he is historically literate he would be aware of what happened in Zambia with Frederick Chiluba who had thought he had created a seamless and water-tight succession plan by installing his favorite protégé, Levy Mwanawasa.

Chilubal ended up in jail, wearing orange overalls, sent there by instructions of Mwanawasa.

Chiluba in the end died a broken man.

In Angola, after forty years of unrivalled stranglehold on power Jose dos Santos thought he had put his ducks in a row when he left office. How wrong he was!

A few months after his departure dos Santos watched helplessly as billions of his family’s ill-gotten wealth became subject of intense scrutiny by his successor. Some of his close family members are today in jail at the instruction of President Joao Lourenco, who dos Santos had wrongly imagined was going to be a docile and wimpish successor.

In Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe cannot today sleep at night because every time he closes his eyes he sees a false silhouette image resembling his erstwhile loyal mentee of over sixty, Emerson Mnangagwa looming large over his fragile 94 year old bones.

The examples are endless.

Khama is not above the law, at least not any more.

If he continues in the path he has so far selected for himself, he too could one day end up in jail, or at the very least suffering a kind of humiliation that as president he had meted on another royal of immense stature, Kgosi Kgafela II of Bakgatla.