Thursday, April 18, 2024

Botswana’s problem is not money. It is the brains

I mean, I just don’t get the logic behind applauding a guy who squashes the money that was earmarked for his children’s school fees on beer and girls and thereafter runs to the bank to collect his savings to fill up for his irresponsible spending. The guy should have duly paid the school fees and left his savings for a rainy day and that rainy day should not be brought about by his irresponsible spending. A rainy day should only happen due to circumstances beyond his control. I liken our government to that irresponsible guy. Right now people are ululating after President Khama announced that he has decided to tap on our reserves because the country has run out of money. Instead of asking what happened to the money that we had, Batswana, as always, are busy celebrating. For some, the excitement is borne from the now popular word ‘stimulus’ just because it carries some sexual connotations.  Batswana do not even stop to think whether the money that will come from the reserve coffers will not be misused just as it happened with what we already had. How sure are we, that the people we have entrusted with our national purse are now reformed looters?  How do we know if these spoilt brats who use our money on extravagant and unnecessary shopping sprees have all of a sudden learnt to prioritize national expenditure? This country has run out money because our President has been busy buying toys such as quad bikes for his adventurous outdoor life. The president has bought himself a close to 3million Pula caravan that we have never seen him utilize. The president has literally constructed a new State House with a fully fledged army barracks. The president has built himself an airstrip at his private residence in Mosu. How then can we be sure he is not withdrawing from our reserves to replace his fleet of quad bikes and upgrade his Mosu airstrip? Our government continues to spend millions of Pula on South African lawyers who are engaged week in, week out to defend our government’s ludicrous and sometimes very trivial cases against its citizens and labor organizations. In all these crazy spending of our money, Batswana just prefer to look away and whisper, “Kare a jewa tlhe madi a ga goromente”. How many times have you heard that expression from Batswana? I bet many times. The frequency at which this phrase is used bears testimony that indeed government revenue is misused and people are aware of this misuse. What pains me though is, even as they acknowledge this misuse, Batswana seem to think there is this big-bellied, untouchable guy named Government who has the right to spend our money as he wishes.  Batswana are celebrating when President Khama announces that he is going to tamper with our reserves to pay for his admiration’s inefficiency. 

It saddens me every time the President and his Cabinet Ministers go around telling this nation how broke the government is and how difficult it is to fulfill many of government’s socio-economic obligations because of lack of money. At times I wonder why we are so stupid to buy into these lame excuses when it is quite clear our government is not as broke as we are fooled to believe.

I mean, there are so many instances that can be cited to prove that our government is nowhere near pauperism. I ask Batswana, has this government rendered us stupid so much so as to accept and believe every lie thrown at us? Do we find it right that whenever government coffers are said to be dry, only the ordinary man has to feel the pinch while our leaders live in opulence through our money?It appears to me, many Batswana, shamefully the majority of who are the working class, are ignorant of the fact that government money is their money by virtue of their paying of tax. Even if you are not employed, the fact that you buy from shops makes you part of those who contribute to the government purse. Debswana mining company, which is the largest contributor towards the government purse, belongs to each and every Motswana. No Motswana holds more shares in Debswana than other Batswana. As such, government money is your money. As such when government money is misused, it is your money that is being misused. All Batswana contribute to the government revenue, but only a few people at the top of the government hierarchy enjoy and benefit more from the kitty. They do so with reckless abandon and arrogance. I don’t understand why we are so stupid not to seek answers on how our money is spent. This government has realized how cowardly we are and those that we have entrusted with our money are having a jolly time. They can even arrogantly tell us we are not entitled to know how they spend our money with the full knowledge we will gladly nod in agreement. Should they so wish, some day they will replace their toilet paper with 200 Pula notes and we will never know and that will be because we are never itching to know. They have devised a plan which they use to justify why they can’t account to us. They are quick to shout, “For security reasons we cannot divulge information on what we spend your money on”. They don’t even bother to elaborate how such divulgation poses security threat because they know we are such a docile, submissive and, as I see it, stupid nation that never probes its leaders. Americans know how much is spent on their security and even what is purchased for such security and it beats me how a small nation with no imminent security threats such as our country, can refuse to tell the nation simple information such as how many cars have been purchased for the security agents. I don’t understand why it should be kept a secret to the nation if the DIS purchases an aircraft.

It’s a pity that our money is spent to settle, out of court, cases that have been brought against government departments. Millions of Pula are spent to silence people who appear to have damning information that has the potential to expose the rot in our government. Even as such revelations unfold before their eyes and ears, Batswana prefer to fold their arms and keep quiet because to them, “Goromente o ja madi a gagwe”. We hear of many high ranking government officials who were kicked out of the system when Khama took over the presidency. Right now those people are millionaires because, for fear they will expose how the new regime unlawfully dismissed them from work, they had to be paid large sums of money, our money, to silence them. Yes, that’s what our money is used for. That is why there is no money to build a clinic or school in your village. And that is why there is no guarantee your village will get a clinic when the stimulus money finally arrives.


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