President Ian Khama delivered his State of the Nation Address last week Monday and as was expected, the President overhyped his government’s achievements and downplayed its failures. In so doing, Mr President’s speech failed to mirror a true picture of the state of this nation. And to me, it came as no surprise that he heaped praises on the security agents while threatening the teachers. That’s my President for you. Teachers can, as per the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, f***- off while only security agents deserve to be praised and cheek-kissed.
In defence and praise of his favorite baby, the president said, “…By the same token, the efforts of the DIS continue to unearth and expose organized crime syndicates threatening our national interests, such as groups and syndicates┬áinvolved in a wide array of illegal activities including terrorism, money laundering, fraud, drug trafficking and distribution, human smuggling and trafficking, white collar crime and official corruption. It is little wonder then that those who have an inclination to commit such offences are quick to criticize and discredit the organization”.
Oh please Mr President give us a break. Look, I criticize the DIS because I feel it has brought more harm than good to this country. I discredit it for I’m convinced Isaac Kgosi and his men are not doing anything exceptionally great that would have failed the security and intelligence organs that existed before the DIS. The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Botswana Police has always been able to unearth and expose organized crimes and all it required was for it to be resourced. Believe me it would have been much more less than the extravagant expenditure at the DIS which to me is unjustifiable. Their reckless spending of taxpayers’ money should get this nation worried because with so much secrecy in their expenditure, and I have said it before, the DIS agents can spend our money on prostitutes and never account for it, all in the name of national security. I know Mr Kgosi may ask me to substantiate my statement with facts but hey, some of his boys are so excited at the windfall they brag about it in public. Afterall it appears you don’t need to be smart to be a DIS agent and that is why some of their unintelligent morons can
recklessly brag about their misuse of public funds.
I don’t like the DIS for it has instilled a lot of fear not only on criminals but the entire citizenry. This organ is guilty of dereliction of duty because of its deviation from its mandate of national security. It now handles petty, personal and political security of some people in this country. Their continued incursions at political rallies, which pose no threat to our national security bears testimony to my suspicions on their political motives. I therefore take offence to insinuations that we criticize the DIS because we have an inclination to commit any offences, unless of course being critical of government is an offence in the current Botswana. I don’t grasp how being critical to the DIS can be viewed as a sign of the desire to commit offences. What exactly is Mr President implying? Should we take cue and assume those who are critical of the institution of marriage do have an inclination to gay tendencies? I mean, just as people have the right to discredit marriage for being a purportedly troublesome undertaking, we too should feel free to criticize the DIS if we deem it troublesome.
Mr President says there is a line between holding individuals and institutions publicly accountable and spreading rumors and untruths and I fully concur with him but I would like to bring to his attention that rumors and untruths are fueled by the secrecy that surrounds the operations of these individuals and public institutions. If the Freedom of Information Act was to be enacted in our laws there would be fewer rumors as information would be readily available and easily accessible to the public. But as things stand, where the private media are chased out of meetings like fart-accused dogs, Mr President should brace himself for more rumors.
I nearly cried when the President told the nation that the school examinations are running smoothly. I wondered, has Mr President been misled or is it in his nature to deliberately and knowingly mislead the nation? I just don’t understand what motivated the President to mislead the nation on an issue that is glaringly clear to everyone that this year’s examinations were a total cock-up. It hurt to hear the President issuing veiled threats at teachers and accusing them of intimidating their colleagues. Their only sin is, as Duma Boko rightly pointed out, teachers have moved away from their previous natural impulse of silence and docile acceptance.
The President dodged to pronounce his government’s failure to get their priorities right when he talked about the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST). “Due to the difficult financial situation arising from the recent recession and changes in the tertiary education landscape, the Ministry of Education and Skills Development is in the process of reviewing the BIUST project to determine the appropriate scope and focus in the context of what we can currently afford”, said the President to his nation. This is the same man who just recently criticized the management of Bokamoso Private Hospital for what he viewed as lack of foresight and pre-planning. I move that the BIUST project is in disarray because of government’s deficiency of foresight. So to me really, Khama and his officials are swimming in the same lake with the management of Bokamoso Hospital. Bokamoso is even better off because their project is complete, up and running and at no time did they harbor plans to turn their state of the art hospital into a clinic like we hear BIUST is going to be turned into a brigade.
I was also shocked to hear Boyce Sebetlela when discussing the President’s statement on poverty eradication. He implored Ipelegeng employees to buy goats and cattle for rearing. I suggest the man needs urgent brain transplant because only insanity can make anyone believe someone who earns a paltry P500 can afford to buy goats and cattle. The white man says, better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.
And then there is the alcohol levy. It is when he is talking about alcohol levy that you get to see the President grin like a Cheshire cat: “From the time of its inception to the end of August 2010 the Alcohol Levy, which is going up in December, has raised P420 million.” The President then goes on to tell the nation that the alcohol levy has helped in building youth recreation facilities and the development of open spaces in Gaborone. He says Government has been able to double its contribution to the Youth Development Fund and funds have been spent in support of emerging youth industries all thanks to the Alcohol Levy. It gets you thinking, isn’t alcohol consumption good afterall if it can assist in so many developments? Perhaps my friend Mavis Kgotlaetsho was spot on when she coined the slogan, “Drink more and help erect a stadium”.