Sunday, September 27, 2020

Former President Khama needs psychiatric counseling

The topical issue really is the crisis besieging the Umbrella for Democratic Change.

Surprisingly, nobody seems to want to address directly that which ironically is the centre of the crisis; the legitimacy of the Botswana Congress Party membership of the UDC.

Unless this matter is honestly addressed, the UDC will continue to slide down the abyss.

On at least three occasions we tried to raise the issue on this space, only to be shouted down before being called a prince of darkness not just by the lewd section of some BCP members, but to our shock, indirectly also by Sydney Pilane, one of the finest legal brains to ever come from this country. 

Thankfully Pilane is now raising this matter publicly.

It is the only way to save the UDC.

Those exploded insults against anyone mentioning the matter were not the last.

Lebang Mpotokwane, one of the most honest and morally upright human beings we have ever known once raised in detail the bonafides of BCP membership, only to have his integrity questioned by the UDC leader. Nothing better exemplifies the case of a Pinochet questioning the integrity of Mahatma Gandhi.

The manner that BCP arrived into UDC has had a divisive and debilitating effect.

Other than throwing epithets at perceived enemies of the UDC and the BCP, nobody has at yet convincingly argued that BCP was ever a legitimate member of the UDC.

Also more worrying, we now know from Pilane’s latest public outbursts, that nobody has also advanced such argument with any self-conviction.

Where he once pontificated BCP full membership, he is now questioning the party’s entitlement to change a Constitution of which they are neither a constituent nor a signatory.

History is asking whether the UDC is indeed a political party.

But this circus is best left for another day.

There are other more pressing issues, chief of which is the behavior of former President, Ian Khama.

Based on his behavior since retirement, it is abundantly clear Khama left office only to honour the mandatory time limit as set on his job by the constitution.

We say this because since his retirement, Khama has been making a monkey out of himself.

The collateral damage he has caused on the party and Government he led until only a few months back is mind-boggling.

Where he was once restrained, circumspect and discreet, he has now become reckless, carefree and even wild.

His consorting with opposition to undermine his successor is the most glaring example of his hitherto unknown wanton behavior.

During his time, consorting with political opponents was a high treason crime punishable by stoning to death.

Now he sees nothing wrong with it.

There are many other such similar examples.

To say he regrets and rues appointing Mokgweetsi Masisi as his successor is an understatement.

Retiring from the job of a Head of State was never going be easy ÔÇônot even for most public minded and less self-entitled. And Khama is not one such.

The presidency is not your ordinary kind of a job. The incumbent becomes the centre of the universe, showered with all public glare, clamour and attention.

They are the final arbiter on many matters and the dispenser of all sorts of largesse.

As an incumbent people come to you asking for all kind of favours, and also begging for forgiveness for all their past transgressions ÔÇô real or imagined.

Around the clock, one is bombarded with all kind of lies and half truths, a majority of it coming under the false prospectus of security intelligence.

In short, a sitting president is like a force of nature.

Since leaving office, Khama has often come across as psychologically off balance.

A royal by birth, he does not seem to have prepared much less accepted that presidency is political and thus not hereditary.

More disturbing, he seems to harbor a deplorable sense of entitlement beyond that as provided by law.

He believes he can still go around with a size of security detail that is bigger than that of a sitting Head of State.

He seems to genuinely believe that he can still hire anyone of his friends including those sacked by Government.

He seems to believe that a presidential jet and helicopter are still available to him 24 hours on call.

Khama’s lifestyle is expensive. That lifestyle has always been subsidized if not fully paid for by the state.

Khama’s mystical attachment to freebies, a by-product born of an ingrained sense of entitlement is clearly behind the psychological imbalances he has been showing since leaving office.

In his bubble, he still believes ÔÇô and with genuine conviction that even in retirement the state should continue paying for his hobbies and other pastime fantasies.

Since his retirement Khama has allowed himself to become a spiritual leader of a coalition of the aggrieved inside the Botswana Democratic Party. These are people, including cabinet ministers who are all out to undermine and defy a sitting Head of State.

For a person who has always wanted to be looked at as a doyen of discipline, this is shameful.

Inside that coalition is Khama’s younger brother, Tshekedi, who it is reported is raring to challenge for the presidency.

As it is an entire country is held in chains by just one family.

The whole mess can be traced to the days of Festus Mogae presidency.

When he became president, Mogae overlooked senior and more qualified people and chose Khama as his deputy.

For the ten years of Mogae’s tenure, Khama was the defacto Head of State.

The Mogae years which he dominated were then followed his ten-year bite at the cherry.

Now hopelessly accustomed to power, he wants to continue being the power behind the throne for the other ten years of Masisi’s tenure.

Shorn of power and all its trappings, Khama does not seem to have a life.

Masisi has been steadfast in refusing to rule under Khama’s shadow.

Thus denied him, he sees nothing wrong sponsoring Tshekedi, or worse the opposition to dethrone Masisi.

Clearly the man needs a form of psychiatric counseling to help him get used to a life outside power.

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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.