Thursday, July 18, 2024

Great men quit bitch fighting; the unrighteous fight on to deflect attention!

In an interview with The Financial Times in 2009, then President Dr Khama was quoted saying ‘first of all you should understand that it was not my choice to enter politics’, further emphasizing that politics is a dirty game which was never attractive to him.

Dr Khama further revealed that he asks himself everyday ‘why am I still in politics?’, further sharing that he would have preferred to go into tourism and run a couple of charities. As a matter of fact, these are his cherished interests and that he would have loved to pursue them at some point in time is a no brainer.

By all accounts, former President Dr Khama seemed to suggest that he was somewhat pushed into politics and was constantly looking for an escape route. However, Dr Khama stayed put until he retired from the presidency at the end of the constitutionally prescribed two five-year terms.

In accordance with his revelation that politics had no attraction for him, one expected Dr Khama to quickly seize the opportunity presented by his retirement from the presidency and sneak away from the dirty game of politics in order to pursue his preferred provinces.

The decision by a retired Dr Khama to remain in politics, more so to cross over to opposition politics means that he can no longer claim that politics has no attraction for him. It is either that Dr Khama was dishonest during the interview by stating that it was not his choice to enter politics or that circumstances have changed to compel to continue with something that does not appeal to him and determinedly ramble in the dirt of political adventurism in his old age.

Whatever the case is, the decision by former President Dr Khama to remain in active party politics means that Botswana have been robbed of the opportunity to benefit from the wisdom and experience of a widely celebrated former president, at least in the narrow area of distributing alms.

As a patron of an opposition party, it means that former President Dr Khama is actually involved in activities that tear the nation apart because politics is inherently divisive. Often using techniques of mockery to dish out inflammatory commentary, the former president remains as polarizing a figure like black sheep of the family who is nonetheless the breadwinner or better still attractive whore who is difficult to ignore.

The point is not to trivialize the role of the opposition in national development but rather to underscore the former presidents are an important resource that should be harnessed for the benefit of the nation.

Elsewhere, governments have tapped into the established networks and communication systems of former presidents to sway public opinion on issues of major importance. It should also be noted that a significant part of the public image of a successful politician is his/her charitable work. Yet, a critical assessment of their philanthropic work is normally reserved for what they do following terms in office.

Those politicians who continue with their charitable work after their terms in office are generally recognized as genuine philanthropists while those who disappear from community service are judged as opportunists who used charity as a tried and tested fly trap.

Much-maligned for his leadership style, former President Dr Khama is nonetheless enduringly popular especially among the weather beaten village folks. Relatedly, former President Dr Khama is known for and has actually demonstrated his love for charitable work through various initiatives such as the infamous round-the-clock blanket crusade, the Presidential Housing Appeal and others however inconsequential.

In fact, during his entire presidency, Dr Khama posted himself as a model of a philanthropic political leader. The former president actually stands out among his peers for his charitable work before, during and after his presidency.

Unfortunately, former President Dr Khama’s political activism post his presidency means that his philanthropic work has to take a backseat as the former statesman goes after his successor in dramatic style, vulgarizing party politics past the point of no return. Yet, as the monotonous fighting rages on, we cannot help but weep for the wasted talent of a philanthropic statesman.

Given the insurmountable challenges that continue to pile up and render our lives hollow, there is a compelling need to take former president Dr Khama away from divisive politics and thrust him with charity work to uplift the lives of our people while also solidifying his legacy.

The former president is on record saying that he remains in politics and is specifically in opposition politics to fight and topple his successor, incumbent President Dr Masisi. Dr Khama has further stated that he will not rest until the incumbent President has been deposed.

From this declaration, one can sense that the fall out between the two flamboyant politicians is deeper than can be comprehended. However, Dr Khama has always presented a larger than life disposition, portraying a personality ordained to protect the dignity of all people.

On this account, the Badge of Courage believes that extraordinary things could come out were former President Dr Khama to dump politics and do what he loves most – to help fellow citizens through his charity work. To further his charitable work, Dr Khama recently launched The SKI Khama Foundation that has already become the envy of his nemesis.

While many former presidents have established charitable foundations and used their activities to cement their public image, a foundation established, run and controlled by a former president who operates from the opposition ranks solely to topple the incumbent president is certain to raise eyebrows. This is so because there have been fears that there are many sham charities that operate as slush funds for political purposes.

It is against this realization that the Badge of Courage reckons that former President Dr Khama would certainly have a lasting impact were he to abandon vulgarized competitive politics and wholeheartedly pursued his charitable work.

A wholesale focus on philanthropic activities would ensure that his later life embodies a renewed sense of community service that is memorable and profoundly inspiring. Granted the former president has every right to clear his name and prove his innocence but involving himself in an unending bitch fight has come at a huge cost to his name and that of his family.

Still, former President Dr Khama has a huge opportunity to demonstrate that he is not a vindictive and belligerent grey-hired brigadier; that he is an accomplished army General, a great man! To do so, Dr Khama need to step up and re-invent a role for himself that everyone would applaud and that is working for humanitarian goals and charitable causes.

Great men quit bitch fights after all but the unrighteous keep fighting to deflect attention from their wicked deeds and claim hollow victory – for evading the hangman’s noose while continuing to do time in jail.

In our politically and ethnically polarized society, former President Dr Khama would do well to imagine himself as a unifying figure by quitting his ambition to bring down the incumbent president and/or proving his innocence in order that he pursues activities that have a lasting impact on wider society.

Such a gesture will in turn rub on members of the public who adore his every move and the ripple effect would spread across all societal sectors to remind us that we are one nation that desires collective prosperity.

By investing in causes that give him meaning and joy, former President Dr Khama would be following on the footsteps of luminaries in philanthropic work such as former US Presidents Jimmy Carter who founded the renowned Carter Centre; Bill Clinton through his Global Initiative and Barack Obama with his Obama Foundation.

The SKI Khama Foundation offers Dr Khama superior opportunities to do good, much more than he actually did during his term in office. But this is dependent on Dr Khama establishing himself as the poster child of a happy second act – the SKI with a big heart, whose charity work embodies his niche area of uplifting human lives; the SKI no longer attracted to remaining at the centre of the political swirl just to go after an insecure little guy who is like an obscure actor in a lousy romance story.

During these times of relentless threats exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the nation should pause and imagine the best way we can benefit from the wisdom and experience of former presidents, in particular, their understanding of our people and their international network of agencies.

This could then give us an idea of how best we could involve them in daily affairs that can shape the lives of many while also offering our former first citizens the secret of fulfilment and saving them from harming their public images.

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