Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Both Masisi and Khama have become hostages in the hands of their handlers

A lot of energy has been expended on trying to establish the true cause(s) of the dispute between former president Ian Khama and his successor Mokgweetsi Masisi.

For Many Batswana the dispute has with time become a Gordian knot around the national conscience.

The nation is unable to break free, much less go anywhere. An attempt to untie the knot comes across many, more difficult knots underneath.

This is because the dispute has become a source of employment and career progression for some of the people surrounding the two men.

Each side claims a moral high ground.

The dispute keeps some people relevant and seemingly indispensable to both Khama and Masisi.

Making both Masisi and Khama to feel insecure has become a professional pastime for too many of our people closest to the two men.

For Khama’s side, using Masisi as a bogeyman has on its own become self-fulfilling.

The same is true of the Masisi side.

These people know Masisi’s fears. There are those who too know Khama’s fears. They play on those and capitalize on them.

And with time they have astute in honing their skills of weaponising those fears.

These are the people who have no interests to see the dispute end.

These are the people putting petrol on fire.

The blame of course is with the leaders.

This is not a functional environment for either of the two leaders.

They have become helpless hostages even as they advertise themselves as independent and in charge.

Of course an admission to the contrary would spell weakness.

Each camp is goading its man to fight fire with fire, never to capitulate, to always remain strong, never to make any deal and never to show signs of caving in.

All the above, far from showing strength are actually signs of weakness on the leadership.

Rigidity has never been a sign of strength.

Neither camp of cheerleaders preaches restraint and magnanimity to their man.

Either feels emboldened, not because they are doing the correct thing but because there are rewards for staying the course.

We need to shine the light on these self-seeking advisors.

Exactly what are their motives?

Their goal, other than to stay relevant is self-aggrandizement.

For them the political ledger side is nothing if not control-oriented.

The court jesters’ subtle intention is to manipulate their hostage.

These groups have developed into a warped special interest group, with some of the most devilish objectives around.

It does not matter to them that in the process they are inflicting insurmountable harm to the country or injecting irreparable reputational damage to both Masisi and Khama.

There is now irrefutable body of evidence pointing to the fact that these groups do not regard society’s problems as theirs too.

For them the longer the dispute runs, the merrier.

This madness should now come to an end any time soon.

What should we do next?

The first thing to happen has to be both Masisi and Khama looking beyond their personal short-term interests.

Whoever does not would be rendering themselves expendable.

The country is faced with too many issues that need our full and undivided attention as a nation, to be participating in a circus.

The dispute has moved from eliciting excitement to creating nation-wide anxiety. Now it invokes both anger and resentment.

The two men have to accept that their current strategies against each other are not working, are causing untold harm to the country and causing hurt to both their reputations.

Put bluntly, the dispute no longer has anything to do with the people – if it ever did.

It is a class warfare, based entirely on who controls the levers of power. It is about greed, not governance.

Those behind Masisi want him to do their bidding and their urging.

Those behind Khama remember his days in power with nostalgia when they were chief beneficiaries of his apparatus and want those days back, even if their saint patron would not be the man at the front.

An upshot of it is that too many of our people have definitely had enough with the theatrics.

They are pissed off.

They look around and they see a whole industry being created around this dispute. The dispute provides jobs, careers and all kinds of largesse – to its key players, but also to acolytes, their lackeys and hangers-on.

We now have a whole class of people on either side who wake up every morning trying to find new ways to further stoke the dispute.

They do not want the dispute resolved. They worry non-stop of what will become of them were the dispute to come to an end.

They are like arms-dealers. They finance the war so that belligerents could continue buying their products.

Botswana is now at a critical juncture. 

Batswana have had their faith stretch-tested to the limit. There are serious existential issues our country is facing. We cannot be seen to be abetting or playing jokes.

Any wise member of the elite should today be fearful of the backlash that would be brought by the revolution coming our way.

For now the outcomes of such a revolution – if it happens – are immensely unknown – but they could prove terribly damaging.

If the elite is going to survive as a unit, however divergent their interests, there are issues they will have to agree to resolve.

There is no doubt that the youth have lost faith in the system.

They laugh off the long playing Masisi/Khama soap opera as childish, petty and self-serving. For them there is an easily discernible measure of hubris on either side.

The longer the dispute plays on, the further it excludes and leaves people behind.

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