Tuesday, August 9, 2022

If Ian is a real Khama, why isn’t he acting like Khama?

Unsurprisingly, yet another Member of Parliament has ditched his political party, without reasons. Well, it cannot be without reasons. It’s just that he didn’t divulge his reasons to the public, knowing too well the public won’t paint his behind demanding reasons.

Odirile Motlhale has resigned from the BMD and I have been receiving calls from people who expect me to write something about his resignation. To be honest, I no longer find political resignations and defections worth writing about, more so that they are done for personal benefit.

For fear of getting high blood pressure at such a relatively young age, I have taken to accepting that our politics is infiltrated with useless ruling party activists and their hopeless counterparts in the opposition.

Nowadays defections are so rapid it becomes very difficult to tell who is where. Compared to our politicians, traffic lights take even longer to switch colours. As such, I no longer jump off my bed when I hear of political defections. Party-hopping is so entrenched in our politics and has become so normal to the extent where writing about every one of them would be no different from sitting at the maternity ward at Marina hospital to write about each and every birth of a child.

It is for that reason that I, instead, elect to concentrate more on President Ian Khama as the choreographer of our politics and less on MP’s and councillors who, to me, are just dancers following his choreography. Afterall, this political ‘double dutch’ became fashionable after his arrival in political leadership. It is because of him that a lot of people have turned to be what they now are.

While some have become vocal against his autocratic rule, some have opted to become his zombies. Since Khama’s arrival, politics is no longer about principle but rather for personal gain. His leadership has brought anger to some and happiness to others. Because President Khama is the reason people behave the way they do, it is only proper that I write more about him and less about his fuzzies.

When Botswana’s first president, Sir Seretse Khama vacated planet earth in 1980, I had just been around for only two years and as such I cannot claim to have experienced his presidency. However, I have read and heard stories about his leadership and that has helped me, to some extent, comprehend the way he led this country. And I must say when I evaluate his presidency, vis-├á-vis his son’s; the two men do not epitomise the saying ‘like father like son’.

While Sir Seretse Khama is credited with having set out on a vigorous economic programme intended to transform the country into an export-based economy, built around beef, copper and diamonds, Ian Khama looks set to bury his father’s vision. You just need to look at what is currently happening in our beef industry and how he seems less bothered. You’d have thought Khama, who is always ready to poke his nose in less important national matters, would have by now taken it upon himself to restore order at the BMC by calling Minister Christian De Graaf to account for the mess. How else can one explain Khama’s ‘I don’t care’ attitude towards our crumbling education sector? Sir Seretse Khama left this country as one of the fastest growing economies and the shining example of democracy in the world and now it appears his son is determined to reverse all those gains and accolades. What action has he taken when it was apparent some people were looting the Botswana Development Cooperation? What has he done to show his appreciation and tolerance on the existence and relevance of opposition politics and divergent views?

Look, I don’t expect Ian Khama to lead this country exactly the same way his father did. However, one would have expected Ian to borrow, atleast, a little bit from his father, who even in his grave still commands a lot of respect among the citizenry for his selflessness towards this country. Sir Seretse Khama was not a perfect leader and that is because a perfect leader is yet to be born. But even with his flaws, Seretse managed to establish some rapport with the majority of the nation because of his humility and tolerance for divergent views. He never imposed his personal lifestyle on the entire nation. I bet he never even imposed it on his sons. Now it makes me wonder where Ian Khama gets this behaviour where he wants the entire nation to drink what he drinks and eat what he eats.

It is only in these times of Ian Khama that we witness so much tension between the government and the labour movements. It would appear, to Khama, union bodies exist only to undermine his leadership. He would rather have labour unions take orders from him instead of them bargaining for the workers. Infact, it appears if he had his way, union bodies would not be allowed in the country. His father is said to have been someone amenable to dialogue. Apparently, he embraced debate and welcomed ideas. Ian on the other hand seems to believe he has the monopoly of wisdom and as such no other person can think any better than him. To him, this nation is made up of people with no direction and purpose in life. He tends to think we are delinquents who need stringent monitoring. To Ian Khama, Batswana are a danger unto themselves and as such need the same monitoring given to those patients at Sbrana. It was only after Khama became president that entertainment became illegal in Botswana.

It was only after his arrival that it became a punishable offence for public servants to demand pay hikes. It is only during Khama’s reign that BDP members are not allowed to give opinions that are different from the party leadership. It was only during Khama’s time that the BDP broke up. It was only after Khama became president that even the brainiest of our people turned into empty vessels. Khama is the fourth president but it is only now that people have to look over their shoulders before they can discuss anything about their president. Only women are known to take great offence to being talked about and it shocks me that one can get into trouble for talking about Ian Khama at a bar.

When he became president, Khama promised us he will not tolerate incompetence in the public service and even threatened to crack the whip on his cabinet ministers who will perform below expected standards. It now appears Khama’s close associates are exempted from his ‘Delivery’ crusade.

Through all this mess, Batswana continue to ululate at his sight because they believe he is a gift from God. Indeed ignorance is bliss!

[email protected]


Read this week's paper