Thursday, September 24, 2020

Can somebody please get Ian a new team of advisors!

For a long time now, 44 years to be specific, we have tended to believe as a nation that we were different from the rest of our kin ÔÇô in Africa but not for Africa; a part of Africa but not like any part of Africa.

Through the years that belief sustained us and made us feel somehow unique, special if you want.

The West, always eager to put pressure on the misbehaving continent to change its ways, never missed an opportunity to flaunt Botswana as an example of the rulebook; good governance, no corruption, a working democracy, human rights, no military coups, regular elections etc.

Of course, we still hold elections, and at least for now there are no coups, but it would be interesting to see if our score sheet in the eyes of the once doting West is still as clean as it used to be.

My guess is that not any longer.
Our reputation is in tatters.
Not only do our once highly acclaimed security agents frequently shoot and kill suspects, our civilian leaders, once the darling of the West where they were invited to attend every small cocktail party have all of a sudden started behaving like rats in a bag.
They have become a disgrace to their former handlers.

There is no telling the difference between them and their counterparts across the continent.

We have fallen into the trap, or should I say the curse of being African.
How sad!

Not only has our much vaunted democracy been overtaken by newcomers, we have become the laughing stock, so to speak.
The whole of Wednesday I spent my time inside a crowded hall at the Lobatse High Court, listening as South African lawyers took turns to dissect and explain eccentric legal lexicon on the unfolding political crisis inside the ruling BDP.

The more I listened the more apparent it became to me that a once proud and selfless party was going through its last paces as a credible and legitimate entity.

For the first time in 50 years a party that had run Japan (uninterrupted) lost power last week Saturday.

Former Prime Ministers, senior ministers and their dynasties lost seats in a general election.
Observers and commentators are united in saying the fall of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan was a result of arrogance, insensitivity and general greed.

But thence lie the lessons for the BDP.
I have no problem with the BDP losing power, as they sure will in the course of time.

My trouble though is that before that happens the party seems to want to take us through the path of Zimbabwe, where oppressive laws have conspired with an evil and despotic regime to stifle the very freedom that the Zimbabweans literally paid with their blood to attain.

If what I heard in court is true that the people who vote can easily be dismissed as irrelevant, since effectively real power resides not with them but with the Leader, then just how different are we from Zimbabwe where an entire nation is today at the mercy of a once benevolent soul turned despot?
The case at Lobatse High Court is the footnote of a long story of how a once great party, which, for more than a generation led a proud nation (uninterrupted), is finally coming to its last days. Talk of degeneration!
It’s hard to see how the BDP will be in power beyond 2014.

The strong storm of affection that met President Ian Khama when he ascended the throne last year has suddenly ebbed away.

Whether he wins or loses the court case, the president’s authority has been fatally damaged.
Once in a court of law events have automatically veered out of his control.

Retaining the control will never be easy.

That cannot be good for a State President.

It’s no wonder that so early in his reign there is already a whiff of a lame duck president.

We are not about to witness a palace coup, but the mere fact that nobody is ruling it out should be a source of concern for a man who came in last year promising so much, only to deliver so little.

The problem in this instance, I have to be honest, is not so much the President as the grey-suited men surrounding him who he loyally calls friends and advisors.

Their greed, their exclusionist bent and unbending will use the President’s power and public appeal to amass wealth while alienating everyone else is the subtext of all Khama’s problems.
May be he has no choice on acquiring a new set of friends, but when it comes to advisors, Khama does not have much of an option.
He needs a new team.

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