Thursday, October 1, 2020

It’s sad to see the civil service become an extension of the BDP!

I had resolved not to return to the appalling theme of the politicization of the civil service and the close relationship between the civil service and the ruling BDP.

There are many pressing issues to address, not least the fast approaching retirement of President Festus Mogae.
There is also Ian Khama who is spending sleepless nights trying to fix the outcome of BDP primaries.

A great military strategist that he is, Khama is marshalling all his energies towards wiping out the remnants of opposition in parliament.

He wants to cause mayhem in the opposition ranks by hitting them where it hurts most ÔÇô in the urban areas.
In the meantime, all his erstwhile detractors in the BDP are, for the most part, helplessly amazed and transfixed by his machinations and absolute control of the party.

Having conclusively tamed all dissent from inside his party ranks, Khama’s new strategy, it would seem, is to seal his expansionist policies by extending the frontiers of his influence and patronage into every sphere of the country.
And what bigger way than installing the BDP as the only party inside parliament?
Khama feels that winning all parliamentary seats is the surest way towards achieving his overall domination of the country.

It all sounds like fantasy, but I am told he is prepared to go all the way, including blackmailing some hopefuls from his party into standing for areas they do not aspire to represent.
Strangely, and for reasons he still has to give, Khama fancies his party has all of a sudden become electable in the urban areas.

On paper, it looks like a well thought out project, but early indications are that the military General’s strategy will fall apart even before they reach the planning board at the party primaries.

The BNF, on the other hand, seems to be continuing with their settled determination to remain a party of opposition.

On the other front, the BCP is literally involved in firefighting.

The agreement they recently signed with BAM seems to be producing a backlash, giving the legendary tactician, Gil Saleshando, sleepless nights.

For all the turbulences the pact with BAM has caused BCP, it weighs greatly in Saleshando’s favour that he is the only serious national politician to have risked his position and comfort to bring the elusive dream of opposition unity closer to reality.

And then we should all be worried about the health of the old party from Francistown; the BPP is on a deathbed.
The juggernaut does not seem to be responding to medication from their president, Bernard Balikani.

All these are serious issues that cry for some kind of explanation and meticulous analysis.

Unfortunately, they have to wait for another time as there is one more pressing issue: the extent to which how, in their membership recruitment drive, the ruling party has contaminated the once revered and apolitical service.
I strongly feel that its time for a clean up of the civil service.

Under the BDP, the impartiality of the civil service has been badly compromised.

At the moment, the line dividing the roles of ministers, senior civil servants and special advisors has been blurred.

On one hand, we have ministers who are treating officials like they are appendages of the ruling party.

On the other, we have officials who are behaving and offering themselves as loyal extensions of the BDP.

Of course, everyone likes to belong to the ruling inner circle, but the mixture of these entities will have a long term effect of distabilising the running of the country.

It is appalling seeing how every other civil servant has grown to perceive their career progression as intricately linked to membership of the ruling party.

The ruling party no longer looks at the civil service as an efficient tool of policy implementation and administration.

The BDP has ceased to treat the civil service as a reservoir of independent talent, independent thought, and a national asset from whose experience everybody can draw.

The BDP treats the civil service as a personal tool.

To them, the civil service offers a potent, a most admirable and most fertile breeding ground they can cultivate not only to outflank other political parties but also entrench their domination.

Sadly, the civil service (especially the top echelons) is not giving any resistance.

Not only have they fallen into the BDP trap, they have gleefully offered themselves.

It is sad to see the civil service has forgotten their obligation to remain politically neutral.

They see themselves as existing to satisfy the partisan and selfish aspirations of the BDP.
That is regrettable and should be brought to an end.

It would be wise and statesmanlike for Ian Khama as the new President to insist on a non-politicised civil service.
Not only is it is in his interest to do so, immense goodwill awaits him were he to detach the civil service from the BDP.

With so much power under his lap even before he takes the real reins, there is no need for Khama to be paranoid as to further dismantle a national asset like the civil service and turning into yet another wing of the ruling party. He has to halt the creeping politicization of the civil service.

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