Wednesday, September 23, 2020

A BDP split will save Botswana from becoming a criminal state

The biggest reason why Robert Mugabe will not leave office despite his age and, of course, losing many elections, is that he and his cronies surrounding him are worried by what will become of them once they are out of power.

You see, these people have committed all sorts of crimes.

Not only has Mugabe and his clique looted Zimbabwe, they also have killed people, literally.

Under Mugabe, the looting, killing and maiming have been going on for 30 years now.

That is scary in itself because it means the clique has had a very long time to commit plunder.

But the bigger tragedy is that Mugabe’s long reign has become a vicious cycle unto itself. The longer he remains in power, the more he and his accomplices and hangers on commit many of these crimes, and by extension the riskier it gets for them to leave office.

Their only insurance against facing the wrath of law is to remain in power, until Christ comes back, if that will happen.

Botswana is faithfully following the path as set by Robert Mugabe and his Zimbabwe.

Nobody derives any pleasure from saying it, but today’s Botswana is in many ways different from that left behind by Festus Mogae hardly two years ago.
It is a sad reality we have to confront.
The sooner the better!

Today’s Botswana is a largely privatized entity, managed, manipulated and controlled by a small clique that has direct access to the State President.

Public institutions have become largely ceremonial.

More like a hangover we cannot shed; relics, remnants and symbols from our democratic past, if you want.
The experiment started at a party level.

And once the BDP was well and completely emasculated, the experiment went national.

You know there is something wrong when serious business leaders believe that for them to continue winning big contracts they have to literally have to render themselves unthinking morons that cannot complain against the excesses of the executive.

You know there is something when ministers are not embarrassed by clear cases of conflict of interest.
In every way, we are walking into a noose with our eyes wide open.

The uncomfortable question that we do not want to ask ourselves, but which we ultimately will have to confront, is just how has it been possible that people who only two years ago were in every sense beggars, have been able, overnight to mutate into multi-millionaires?

Is it just coincidence that these oligarchs happen to be closer to the BDP seat of power?

May be we are reading too much into it.
But if all these riches have been criminally begotten then we have every reason to be worried.

BDP will never voluntarily leave power if the stakes go beyond just the loss of power.

As things stand, there is a growing body of people inside the BDP whose motivation goes far beyond just political power.

They are amassing wealth ÔÇô at very fast pace and, I am worried, possibly criminal maneuvers.

A political system that is recklessly interwoven to materially enriching those that are at its centre is irredeemably dangerous.

Inevitably, in its efforts to sustain and reinvent itself, such a system soon develops all the criminal hallmarks from which it cannot extricate itself.

What’s more, this clique has been shameless and callous in its exhibitionism of its newly acquired wealth.

Which is why I welcome and rejoice at the ramblings that President Ian Khama is about to suspend, discipline and ultimately expel leading party functionaries like Botsalo Ntuane, Sidney Pilane and Kabo Morwaeng.
Many people will find this hard to take.
There is absolutely no reason to be moralist about it.

In fact, personally, I don’t care whether such an action is just, fair or even handed.

I don’t even care what the reasons could be.

It is the bigger picture – le grand tableau, as the French would say, that I have in mind.

And the bigger picture is that for all its strong handedness, Khama’s action will truly sow the seeds of BDP self destruction.

There is no questioning that for some time a split has been working itself inside the BDP ranks.

But history shows that it is never easy for a ruling party to split.
Something really extraordinary has to happen first.

And Khama is about to achieve just that.
All citizens of goodwill should welcome a BDP split.

It is in our national interest.
Not only will such a split loosen the BDP’s grip on power, it will also help bring to end the looting that is currently flourishing.

More crucially, such a split will save Botswana from descending into a gangster state like Zimbabwe where people remain in power because they are worried justice will catch up with them.

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The Telegraph September 23

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 23, 2020.