Friday, July 19, 2024

It is good to be state president for perks of office

In one of my essays I wrote that, ‘In an interview conducted by The Financial Times in 2009, President Khama is quoted saying first of all you should understand that it was not my choice to enter politics because it is dirty game and had no attraction for me. The president went on to say that he would have preferred to go into tourism and run a couple of charities’.

This interview revealed a lot about the person of Ian Khama, mostly that he was initially not very much interested in politics though he had presidential ambitions. Certainly it cannot be said that President Khama was pushed into politics and by his own account, he says that former president Mogaepersuaded him to leave the military and be his number two. It does seem to me that the former president made a polite request that Khama could have turned down if he had no interest in politics. Mogae’s request was not the usual Presidential Directives that are now a defining feature of Botswana’s development model.

President Khama said he asks himself everyday ‘why am I still in politics?’ This begs a big question, what motivated Khama to defile his conscience and venture into politics and what has kept him in the dirty game for so long? However, it is noted that the decision by Ian Khama to go into politics was a conscious one informed by a thought process. When he received the offer, he definitely gave it a serious thought in particular, its benefits and challenges. He then accepted it of own free will.

At this point it is safe to assume that he was attracted by some things or something, most probably the prospect of becoming the first citizen in accordance with the constitutionally enshrined provision of automatic succession and the associated perks and privileges of office. It is hard to think of anyone who would turn down this life time opportunity for a moment of pure joy in the State House ÔÇô free travel and lodgings; security escort; access to any place of interest; the chance to enthrall low life admirers who will flatter and ingratiate themselves to you; protection from criminal and civil prosecution; prerogative powers, etc.

It has to be appreciated that unlike many who join politics to line their pockets and quickly grow fat once they are in Parliament, President Khama’s waistline has not expanded because of the pressures of the office but rather because himself he is a fitness fanatic who would rather grow an afro than a pot belly. Were he not a fitness fanatic, President Khama would have gained as much weight as an underclass who suddenly find himself swimming in wealth because he has unlimited entitlements and is not troubled by the problems afflicting this nation ÔÇô he is at peace with himself.

In any case, President Khama has always been more interested in what are traditionally the duties of a first lady than the actual duties of a state president, which perhaps explains why he confined his agenda to executive orders and rooftop diplomacy. President Khama knew that his foreign policy engagement and style of leadership were controversial and irritating but he was prepared to duck till the end of his term if only he got the cool things accessible to the Head of State.

Well into his second and final term in office, President Khama is clearly retreating into preoccupation with the pleasures and perks of office to enjoy the freebies in the final years in office. It is incredibly surprising that unlike his predecessors, President Khama is always accompanied by a disproportionately large entourage of security personnel, government officials and other associates. Thus, President Khamahas seized the opportunity and is probably enjoying the perks and privileges of office more than any of his predecessors.

In any case, you are only State President once, so why not make hay while the sun still shines? For some of you who are often curious about things all, you may have noted that President Khamahas really increased the frequency of his travels and visits to some pristine places in addition to his personal shrines. President Khama is building up for the rainy days and is in effect, already enjoying his premature post-presidency.

As a result of his visible love for the freebies of the office, it is hard to believe his statement that politics had no attraction for him. In spite of his lack of drive to propel Botswana to greater heights, it is not surprising that he is interested mostly in securing a sumptuous post-presidency that will ensure that he does not crave for the perks at the end of his term. It is hard to think of any of his predecessors who have made full use of their stay at the State House as did President Khama.

While his predecessors engrossed themselves into politics and administration till their final days in office, President Khamahas elected to leave politics and administration to presidential aspirants or sycophants and bureaucrats so that he had more time to give thoughts to his life outside the State House. Certainly many of these sycophants have not really disappointed because in trying to make a name for themselves, they inadvertently succeeded in diverting attention from a predatory president, thus protecting him from public scrutiny at the same time assuring him that his perseverance was not in vain and his philosophy would not die with him. Though they pretend to be independent patriots, a majority of them merely scavenges on his predatory presidency and ride on his coattails so much that they are simply a bunch of spineless and shallow wannabes who are incapable of loyalty to their national constitution ÔÇô a professional cabal of boldfaced parasites incapable of independent thought.

Certainly, President Khama has taken a private decision to fill his remaining years in office getting the most out of his presidential perks including hypnotizing his sycophants with plush goodies and fancy promises so that it would appear that without him there won’t be life. This will cause them to flatter him and love him more than they love themselves and long for his presidency before it actually comes to an end with the hope that he will plant them in strategic positions to safeguard his legacy.

In accordance with provisions of our national constitution and the over generous Green Book our state president can get anything he want hence it is now or never. In fact we are only left with a human conscience to keep President Khama from going totally out of control. To make sure that he does not become nostalgic about such entitlements, President Khama is devoting the remainder of his time in office to guarantee a luxurious post-presidency. Secured by Special Forces and perhaps designed by first ratearchitects, his retirement estates need be exquisite and palatial to provide privacy and a rustic chance to unwind after years of being barked at by self-loathing, jealous, lice-infested commentators and journalists, hence the urge to take full advantage of the presidential perks to secure magnificence compounds that, in no small measure, model opulence on a grade scale.


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