Weeks before President Khama set out on a countrywide farewell tour which started Thursday morning in Moshupa; his shtick was already wearing off.
After close to a decade of bruising tussles with the media and the workers unions, Khama is now a lame duck in the twilight of his term and the country’s two outspoken watchdog institutions are already counting him out, laying down the hatchet and extending a welcome hand to his heir apparent ÔÇô Mokgweetsi Masisi.
As the focus shifts from Khama to Masisi, the doom and gloom in union and media circles is giving way to optimism and a softening of attitudes.
In a poignant gesture of armistice, the Botswana Media Workers Union (BOMU) last month broke bread and popped champagne corks with Masisi in anticipation of a thawing of relations between the government and the media.
This was followed by a meeting of the Editors Forum a few days later, where the country’s editors expressed optimism that the difficult relationship between government and the media will likely end with Khama’s term in office. The Botswana Federation of Public, Private and Parastatal Sectors Unions (BOFEPUSU) has also declared a truce and started investing in relationship capital with the Vice president saying it is banking on him to normalise normalize relations with labour when he assumes the office of the President in April next year.
Like the journalists union and the editor’s forum, the Federation says it is prepared to give Masisi the benefit of the doubt. Speaking at the press conference, BOFEPUSU Secretary General, Tobokani Rari said as an observation that Botswana is sliding way back on the issues of democracy and that’s the trade union’s conclusion this year as they await Masisi.
For now Khama is already a has been and the country’s institutions are looking to Masisi with renewed optimism for an alchemy that will turn frosty relationships into friendships and help reverse the country’s slide down the greasy pole of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
President Khama has had a very difficult two terms at the State House and last week he saw his last term going off the rails as the biggest financial scandal in the country’s history rocked his administration. This was a fitting second term curse for Khama who has spend a few months in his first term in office and most of his second term trying to protect his long time crony and Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services Director General Isaac Kgosi.
However, if there was any one incident that Khama is fading off, it was when most of his Cabinet clubbed together and called for an investigation into his brainchild ÔÇô the DISS and its Director General.