Saturday, March 25, 2023

Dead on arrival; how renewed factional fighting is killing Khama’s succession plan

It is difficult, in fact impossible to justify amending the constitution of the Republic to allow Reggie Reatile to become a Member of Parliament under a special dispensation of specially elected.

But President Ian Khama has been able to do just that.

Our timid and tightly controlled ruling party parliamentary caucus that has men and women with backbones made of straw has swallowed whatever outlandish and alien justifications the president came up with. It’s a sorry state of affairs.

The closure of BCL mines should have reminded all of us, if any reminding was needed, that we are a country that has gone past its prime ÔÇô economically speaking.

And yet for a country literally staring economic collapse in the face, it is shocking that we still find nothing wrong with wasting time on things that add absolutely no value to the upkeep of our people.

Using whatever metric there is under the sun, we have become a nation that defines itself by irrational cronyism found among its leaders.

That is exactly what happened with this return of Reatile into parliament.

I have absolutely nothing against Reatile.

In fact I find him easily tolerable as a person.

Unfortunately the circumstances surrounding his return into national politics are a tragic reminder of how far deep down the tube this country has gone.

The only explanation why anybody would find it plausible that a mountain of resources should be moved so that a Constitution of the nation needed to be amended so that Reatile, who in any case was by his standards still holding a job that was way above his natural talents, could be promoted from being Chairman of a District Council to become a Specially Elected Member of Parliament, only a few years after the voter had said the gentleman was not fit to be a legislator can be found in pervasive cronyism eating our country..

For the ruling Botswana Democratic Party, survival in whatever form, it now seems, is only upended by a fight of who among its leaders will ultimately run the stump that the party will be for it to continue its hegemony. Theirs is a monolithic world, where other than survival, nothing else matters.

This brings us to the intricacies of the ongoing proxy war between President Ian Khama and Tshekedi Khama on one hand, and Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi and Samson Moyo Guma on the other.

If ever there used to be any doubts, they no longer are there that Masisi is not Ian Khama’s preferred man to take over the throne. There are many reasons for it. The first and most important of which is that Masisi cannot be trusted with the custodial and ultimate defence of either the Khama legacy or Khama interests.

To Ian Khama, protecting the legacy – mistakenly defined as guaranteeing that friends and cronies will be safe and that they continue in their positions of power Government, and protecting interests which are inherently commercial in nature are two sides of the same coin.

Tshekedi Khama is right in his assessment that the treatment that he has been receiving from a parliamentary committee headed by Moyo Guma is politically motivated.

Tshekedi could even have been more generous with the truth by adding that the unprecedented hostility he was subjected to was really a result of succession infighting.

The stakes have never been this high.

Botswana Tourism Organisation, a convenient cover for Tshekedi’s opponents is only being used as a lightning rod.

But it’s all Tshekedi’s fault.

To say Tshekedi exposed himself on all flanks is to state the obvious.

His fights with Moyo Guma have been public, ugly and gruesome.

And Tshekedi has lost them all.

All that is left is for him to go back to the drawing board and ask the elder brother to help carry the weight.

While there is no evidence to suggest that he personally benefitted, Tshekedi should never have allowed BTO under his watch to descend into a criminal enterprise that it has become.

Moyo Guma, we have pointed out before is a dyed-in-the-wool transactional politician.

Under the current scheme he assumed the role of being Masisi’s attack dog.

He is doing Masisi’s biding, obviously at a cost.

Whether Masisi has agreed to the price or not is neither here nor there.

Moyo Guma will, in the end prevail and extract for himself something out of the transaction.

The ultimate trophy, it seems is the Vice Presidency, in the event Masisi ascends the top seat.

Not only is Moyo Guma transactional in his nature, he is also by impulse an immensely bold operator ÔÇô both in business and in politics. He could also be as brazen as to be ruthless. And the helpless Tshekedi, exposed as he was at the public hearings on BTO is now a living witness to that.

In the contest for succession, the odds are heavily stacked against Tshekedi.

Tshekedi’s fights with Moyo Guma has laid bare Ian Khama’s growing limitations as the end of his term draws nearer.

Tshekedi might be the incumbent president’s younger brother, but the truth is that even for a famed strategist that is Ian Khama, options are fast running out.

For the outgoing president there is so much to do and so little time to do it.

It is difficult to see how with so much to do and so little time to do it, our strategist can still be able to think strategically.

Before he bows out there are also too many people and too many interests to take care of. Yet with time patronage is itself wearing thin.

The biggest winner of Ian Khama’s patronage has to be Reggie Reatile.

He is probably the last.

As for Masisi if he eventually ascends it will not be because of Ian Khama.

Rather it will be in spite of him.


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