Monday, May 27, 2024

How sad that Botswana has become so boring

I was among the many Batswana who crossed the border over the festive holidays and truly speaking, I cant say I’m entirely proud I spent Christmas away from home. It’s just that I was, in some way, forced to go and ‘be merry’ outside my country.

Who forced me?

President Ian Khama did. How so? Read on.

My new year resolution was to give President Ian Khama some break but that would have meant not writing anything about Botswana because really, you cannot write about how a country is run and avoid mentioning its principal, especially in the case of Khama, who is in the forefront of everything that happens in the country and has become bigger than the nation that he was meant to only lead and not own.

I’ll be honest. I don’t enjoy it that everytime I have to write about government policies and regulations, I have to mention the president’s name. The reason is we no longer have government policies but rather, Khama’s policies or mananeo a ga Rraetsho as his puppets often term them. I’m not obssesed with criticizing Khama. I don’t hate him either, even as I have no reason to like him.

The only thing I unapologetically hate about him is how he has gradually brainwashed this nation to believe he is the only one with answers to all our sorrows and happiness to a point where we have to adjust our lives to go with his personally crafted script of how we should live.

I’m only forced to mention him in almost everything that is taking place in the country because he has become more of a householder than a president to this country. He imposes his personal lifestyle preferences on us and pokes his nose even where it should steer well clear. He micro-manages the country and treats the nation like a bunch of his kids or perhaps even his slaves. He dictates everything to us, including what time we should go to sleep and how long we should be out for entertainment.

Someone in America has said that the good thing about being in government is, if you dont like something, you simply come up with a law that makes that thing illegal. I bet he had Khama in mind because that is exactly what he is doing here. Everything that he doesnt personally like has become somehow illegal, except, luckily for now, marriage. (He has said women are troublesome and we can only cross our fingers he won’t feel he has to save us from women).

At the rate he is controlling even our private lives, it won’t come as a shock were he to dictate as to who we should sleep with and how often we should sleep with them. He runs the country with emotions and unrealistic ambitions and fantasies. He rules with an iron fist and forgets that many of us have not enrolled in the army for the mere reason we cannot stand military discipline which in my view is no different from slavery where the boss’s word is always final and unchallenged. More often, he doesnt even have the civility to consult the nation before he impliments his draconian laws.

I spent the festive holiday in Namibia and was green with envy at how self-disciplined yet liberated the people of that country are. All my life, I have been spending the Christmas holidays in my home town, Maun. I always enjoyed my holidays in Maun until Khama became president and took away all the joy from holidays spent locally.

Ever since Khama became president, I feel more free and jolly when I’m outside my country than when I’m here. Khama arrived and took away our civil liberties. He has made entertainment life almost illegal in the country. By the way, I’m not advocating for anarchy in the country and the truth is, even in those countries where entertainment is liberated, lawlessness is not condoned. The difference between those countries and ours is, their governments respect the people’s right to freedom of entertainment for as long as such freedom does not trample upon other people’s rights.

They know that allowing other people to drink and dance all night in clubs does not disturb the peace of those who choose to sleep early or go to church for all night prayers.

It’s a choice that everyone is entitled to yet in our country we are forced to retire to our bedrooms earlier than we would otherwise do during holidays just because the president says so.

It was so pleasing to see how the Namibians have an array of entertainment spots where people can freely have a good time under police protection and not harrasment as is the case in our country.

How was I to spend holidays in Botswana when a senior police officer had gone on national television to boast that their intention was to make sure that people return from the holidays without driving licenses?

How could I have spent holidays in a country where booze buses are deployed in front of liquor stores and night clubs? Who could enjoy holidaying in a country where it is illegal to braai meat at bars? Just like Namibia, Botswana is a beef country and while here we are not allowed to drink and eat our beef while socializing at bars, in Namibia they will tell you that you havent experienced Namibia until you mingle with locals and indulge in their local beer and beef. Unlike here where public spaces have become hiding places for criminals, in Namibia such places have been turned into public parks where families go and relax with children playing in the well manicured lawns. Police make regular patrols to ensure the safety of people and not to arrest people who enjoy their alcohol peacefully and responsibly.

In Namibia, people are allowed to bring their cooler boxes and camping chairs and relax on the shores of the ocean while in Botswana people have been barred from doing the same along the Thamalakane River in Maun. Our country is such an embarrasment you never know how you can entertain friends from outside because our government has made entertainment life a nightmare.

It beats me why Khama tends to believe entertainment means alcohol abuse so as to close entertainment outlets in the early hours of the night. In any case, why should it be government’s bussiness how long I need to be out for entertainment. Well, that is what you can expect in a country where the president buys a luxurious caravan worth millions when public hospitals do not have back-up generators. A country where government cares more about the security intelligence than the education sector.

Issues of less importance occupy the better part of his priorities.

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