Thursday, February 29, 2024

His former colleagues at UB should be least of BNF leader’s concerns

As a country Botswana is no longer insulated from international events like it was say five to ten years ago.

For some still to be explained reasons, the country has almost overnight developed into a fully paid up member and focal point of international groups that run organized and much more sophisticated professional crime syndicates.

These include but are not limited to poaching, money laundering, drug smuggling, terrorism and indeed official white collar criminals that use local officials and politicians as proxies in their international rackets.

The tragedy of it all is that our authorities still behave like Botswana is immune from these crimes.

While the country is caught under a clutch of international gangs, our leaders are themselves caught in a hangover of yesteryear’s self glory.

While only a few years ago Botswana was nothing but a conduit of drugs, today we are a big and fast growing market; a consumer and active player of this global illicit trade.

While only a few years ago Botswana was the envy of anti-poaching infrastructure, today we are losing rhinos, elephants and other wildlife species for which we had won international acclaim as a result of our government’s conservation initiatives.

Mogoditshane is today a haven of international crime syndicates against whom we appear helpless.

These syndicates are involved in money laundering, counterfeit money printing and shockingly, with growing evidence of religious fundamentalism by jihadists with close relations to events that have made Somalia a failed state.

In here it has to be pointed out that not all car dealerships that sprawl Mogoditshane are clean businesses.

Many of them are a front for cleaning dirty money and pushing drugs.

As a country Botswana has never been prepared for these international dynamics.

We are a victim of our past success and indeed past disinterest from the world which meant that there never was any need for us to prepare ourselves even as the world was fast moving forward.

This unpreparedness has manifested itself in many ways when as a country we all of sudden found ourselves in a crisis situations that we had to confront head-on.

Poorly coordinated reaction by our government to events in Morupule where we are still to be convinced that defects of the power plant have indeed been corrected will always remain a most glaring example.

The ham-fisted response to Foot and Mouth outbreaks is yet another as has been the disorientation when the world economic meltdown set in.

There is evidence from outside the country that Botswana is a soft underbelly of terrorists that want to use the country to raise money to sponsor their ambitions to attack the west.

Denying this, and pretending we still arte what we were a few years ago will only delay us from putting in place mechanism to fight these criminal syndicates.

These to me are critical issues that BNF leader, Duma Boko should be addressing every time he opens his mouth.

As a Harvard alumni, Boko should be internationalist in outlook.

As leader of the Umbrella he should by now be talking a language that will convince the international community through their missions here that he should be taken seriously, that he is a potential partner, and that he is somebody with whom business can be done.

This is not to say he should detach himself from the local issues.

Quite to the contrary!

Bashing his former colleagues at the University of Botswana is not only unwise but grossly distractive.

It depicts a scaring psychological obsession with himself, a deformity often found among dictators, which leads some of us who have never had ties with the academia to suspect that he possibly had at one time in the past harboured intense ambitions to see himself as an accomplished and distinguished professor.

Having willingly broken ties with the academic world, as he says he did, it does not make sense for Boko to be always attacking academics as if he was pushed out when he still had bigger hopes of proving himself in that world.

Having chosen politics, the BNF leader should start behaving like a politician.

This includes creating alliances.

Under President Ian Khama the academia has been isolated and alienated.

As a group academics have made to feel not only unappreciated but also undermined.

In another world, president Khama’s recent appointments to the University of Botswana Council would have been interpreted as an insult, which it clearly was intended to be.

It thus does not help that having been insulted by Khama, the same academics now have to put up with yet another barrage of insults from an opposition leader who, quite ironically cut his career teeth as one of their own .


Read this week's paper