A day after Gomolemo Motswaledi’s funeral, President Ian Khama sent an apology to Botswana Congress Party leader Dumelang Saleshando because, Khama said, Saleshando had not enjoyed the privilege to speak at the funeral.
The apology, we were told was delivered in Khama’s capacity as a paramount chief.
It was for many of us a warped moment of good heartedness especially coming from a commander in chief who when his officers were found guilty for killing John Kalafatis chose not to bother apologizing to the Kalafatis family but rather went on to pardon his officers and even in what passed for a thinly veiled reward thanked them for a job well done by giving them back their jobs at Botswana Defence Force.
Khama is yet to offer a public explanation behind his pardoning of the soldiers that the courts had determined had acted criminally.
The level of public support that Khama showed Saleshando would indeed have passed as genuine, heartfelt and indeed appropriate had Khama ever previously shown sympathy when it was expected of him such as was the case with the Kalafatis family.
Under the circumstances his public consorting with Saleshando was silly, ill advised and just falling short of being wicked in as far as it sought to use tragedy to score cheap political points.
In as far as the apologies were designed to spite the Umbrella for Democratic change and create an impression that they are a party of ill-disciplined hooligans, it cannot be said that they were also meant to soothe Saleshando and make him feel any better for not being a speaker at a funeral.
It is no wonder that Motswaledi’s Umbrella for Democratic Change chose to interpret Khama’s apology as public show of mutual empathy for two buddies that have always consorted with one another.
The trouble with Khama is that for him everything revolves around the self.
In all that he does he is always overly conscious in calculating that it enhances self-preservation.
He is instinctively divisive, ruthlessly cunning and loyal to no one outside of his traditional inner circle.
Before doing anything he calibrates his scales to determine what will ultimately be in it for himself.
This is troubling enough yet surprisingly when the apologies were offered they seemed to sit comfortably with Saleshando and his BCP who fell into Khama’s trap and took turns to remind us of UDC intolerance.
How gullible can one be?
To state it is of course to invite heaps of abuse from his followers, but Saleshando is na├»ve to imagine that just because the flack this time around happens to have been targeted at ridiculing the UDC then by extension it somehow puts him and his party on a higher pedestal.
Certainly that is not Khama’s intention.
Based on Khama’s current calculus, the bigger threat to his agenda happens to be UDC than is the BCP.
Thus it suits him to use the BCP and their leader to get even with the UDC.
It is a momentary state of dynamics that is bound to change with time.
It is called opportunism.
If for any reason the derivatives change and Khama perceives the BCP as a bigger threat to himself than is the UDC, he will change tact and start singing UDC praises.
Saleshando and his followers should not get carried away as they bask in the glory of being the paramount chief’s good lads.
It is a temporary lull, deception is more like it, premised on BCP’s perceived strength as a threat to the Khama hegemony.