This essay has been motivated by newspaper reports that honourable Members of Parliament are demanding a 25% salary hike. The stories suggest that the MPs have however been given a 4% salary hike which is expected to be effected once Parliament passes the Bill during the winter session in July this year. It is further reported that instead of presenting their (MPs) Bill in the just ended session of Parliament, the Executive presented the President’s (Pensions and Retirement) Bill.
The Badge of Courage would like to put it on records that it has no qualms with the MPs demands. In fact even if they were to demand a 100% salary hike, this column would still be sympathetic to their demands in as much as it is sympathetic to the majority of workers whose salaries have become as negligible and irritating as the last drop of a pee. Many employees in Botswana are the embodiment of the working poor who often have to wear designer suits to conceal their poverty and cheat reality by acquiring some artificial dignity.
Yet, what amazes me with the MPs approach to their demands is their decision to allow themselves to be pimped out to the presidency. It is hard to imagine that the MPs, especially those belonging to a party that boasts of the numbers, would so passionately debate and defend the over-generous retirement package of presidents at the same time that their stomachs were making irritating gurgling noise ÔÇô that noise you sometimes get in your tummy when you are hungry).
Even on grounds of political expediency, it is unpardonable and unimaginable that mature and experienced parents would chose to herd someone’s livestock while theirs are abandoned unless the MPs belong to a unique species of political jerks or a brainless bunch of wonks who can be given the same book test several times and fail it repeatedly without any sense of shame. It is not the first time that MPs have had their demand rejected and then being asked or seduced to rubberstamp decisions of the Executive seeking to expand the president’s benefits.
At one point they were likened to vultures by the very person who is due to benefit from the very generous package they just approved. This was after they sought to be rewarded accordingly. Evidently, the recent encounter was the best opportunity for MPs to push through their demands and match the Executive evil scheming pound for pound. The MPs could have simply bargained from a firm and uncompromising even if it meant holding the Executive hostage by demanding that their demands be satisfied first before they could debate some rich man’s excessive benefits.
You see this is why I have over the years maintained that most of our MPs fit the description of the embodiment of parasitic brainwashed human species. Year in, year out they get screwed by the Executive willy-nilly but refuse to yet expect better returns, what Albert Einstein calls this behaviour insanity. Specifically, the BDP MPs obsession with their numbers or numerical strength that allows them to dominate, humiliate and ride roughshod over the opposition MPs has rendered them sleep walkers and small minded professional clowns who are willing to be screwed hard and non-stop.
Research shows that many girls are manipulated into the commercial sex industry by pimps who have the gift of the gab. Such pimps are always able to convince women to appreciate the benefit of being a part of this risky business. The pimps often employ finesse and charisma to convince reluctant women to join the sex trade. The pimps are kind of specialists at sweet talking to a point where they consider themselves rare beasts. But it also happens that after some time some of their caged girls also become slick and learn the art of persuasion and seduction that ultimately have their pimps eating from palms of their hands.
Such persuasive skills, just like manipulation skills, are learnt and perfected out of dehumanizing experiences to enable the captives to eventually escape. As people we adopt certain behaviours and values in order to respond to specific circumstances so as to cope appropriately. Intelligent people are expected to turn difficult situations and threats into opportunities and this is learnt from our phases of life.
It therefore amazes me that unlike trafficked commercial sex workers many of whom eventually escape from under the control of their very powerful pimps, our MPs have not been able to use their lived experience to learn from the numerous occasions they have been pimped out to the presidency and so continue to be sold out on the cheap. That the MPs benefits Bill failed to be presented and their demands debated serves them well for we have been taught that whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
I do not want to believe that the Executive is too smart as to brainwash MPs at every turn, consistently employing the same method by making MPs believe that if they defend the president’s benefits, they shall be rewarded handsomely. Thus, it is not so much that the Executive is shrewd and manipulative but rather it is because a majority of MPs seem to have incomplete or underdeveloped brains.
Many of the current crop of MPs are some of the most inept and forgetful beings ever to sit in the August House. Many of them have lost all sense of self-esteem to the extent of tripping over each other to make someone others rich while they hallow in extreme poverty to a point where they have taken to stealing their voters’ livestock. For years they have been mercilessly manipulated, seduced and exploited and for an equal number of years they have played along only to run to the media to publicly tell us that they have been sucked by the Executive.
A good number of our MPs have become an impassionate lot with unbelievably low self-esteem which makes it easy for the Executive to talk them into endorsing legislation designed to enrich the chosen few. They are sad pathetic losers who find solace in screaming at journalists to write about their sorry tales of abuse perpetuated by the Executive. In public they were brave faces and pretend that they are important national leaders by officiating at high profile events where they munch snacks as though they are in an eating contest.
They have been duped into feeling that the Executive, in particular, the presidency is the only thing that cares about them or that the Head of State is the only person they have in the world. Under these circumstances, any attempt to escape from the jaws of abuse or to try to find oneself again is virtually impossible.
The short of it all is that while we can get away with bashing the Executive as manipulative violent thugs and while we can rightly sympathize with some of these traumatized little leaders, we should at the same time mock them to add to their misery until they wake up from the dead to defend their own interests. This is so because the honourable MPs actually do sponsor their own abuse neglecting their own working conditions while they are too happy to attend to the not-so urgent benefits of those whose wealth surpasses expectations even by fraud-laced African standards. Scottish Man Robert Louis Stevenson once remarked that ‘we all know what Parliament is, and we are all ashamed of it’.
It is hard out there in the August House!