Saturday, September 19, 2020

Khama should publicly denounce corruption among his ministers

It was a part of my New Year resolutions, on no account to return to the theme of General Mompati Merafhe’s inadequacies as Vice President and politician.

There are more pressing issues, I said to myself: The BDP is on the verge of splitting into two, a development which requires our full and determined analysis and explanation.

Related to that, though not altogether surprising are growing incidents of institutionalised corruption involving key members of President Ian Khama’s inner circle.

Those also cry for a thorough public debate on how best to roll back the tide.
For a man on his way out, nobody takes the Vice President seriously, but his outburst against Dumelang Saleshando’s motion on declaration of assets cannot go unchallenged.

Here I am, like a hopeless drug addict, unable to keep a promise – not even the one made to myself by myself and for myself.

It would seem like I cannot get enough of the Vice President.
As for the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Lesego Motsumi, the less said about her the better.

In fact, one is at a loss to decide whether to be scornful of her or feel sorry for the lost soul that she is.
Vice President Merafhe says Saleshando should not be allowed to table the motion because Motsumi will do it some time in future.

This is as crazy as it is disingenuous.
We should not forget that a few years ago, a BDP cabinet, of which Merafhe has always been a senior member, cancelled this piece of law just as the then Minister of Presidential Affairs, Phandu Skelemani, was about to present it to parliament.

Skelemani arrived from an official trip in Zimbabwe to appalling news of what had transpired during his absence.
A man known for unwavering bouts of honesty, fairness, integrity and justice, Skelemani was horrified by this unprincipled palace coup.

It is instructive as it is illustrative to observe that that fateful cabinet meeting was chaired by none other than the then Vice President Ian Khama who is today State President.

How then does Merafhe expect us to take his word for it that Government (Khama’s Government) will shortly be coming up with a law obliging them to declare their assets, interest, gifts and the like!

What circumstances have since changed?
Not only should Saleshando push ahead with his motion, the public should also encourage the cat and mouse battle between him and the Vice President.
It is a battle between right and wrong. And, as always, right will ultimately prevail!

Rumoured to be on his way out, events of the last two weeks are enough proof that even the Vice President himself has already begun a process of discounting himself from serious national issues. He clearly is not able to take himself seriously.

From past experience, it is clear that the Vice President takes palpable offence at insinuations that his days in that position are numbered, but if I were him I would stop making pronouncements on serious policy matters and, instead, concentrate on opening cocktail parties at Grand Palm Hotel.

Having played his role, and now clearly expendable, may be the kindest thing for us to do is to allow the Vice President to carry on in his merry vein, sleep-walking into enforced retirement which by the way will not be long.

But still it is awfully difficult as to be impossible to explain just how it is that a man who used to have a sharp intellect like Merafhe could stoop so low as to be so cavalier and debonair about so serious and sensitive an issue.
Meanwhile President Khama has returned from a trip in Australia to learn that a small grenade had been found not too far from his office.

That explosive device, real or imagined, is rich in metaphor – the BDP is about to explode thanks to official corruption, especially and mainly among cabinet members.

The President’s biggest challenge today is not the plastic bag found behind his office but rather tackling corruption within his cabinet and telling the nation what he intends to do with corrupt ministers.

By way of his attitude towards Saleshando’s motion, the man who has been warming Khama’s chair during a trip to Australia has played no small part in the impending disaster.

Manifestly, Vice President Merafhe does not understand the principles of BDP history that have allowed the party to remain in power for so long.

If he did, the man would not so brazenly spurn the politics consensus that has sustained the party for decades.

For his part, the President should not only retire his number two, he should go as far as tackle issues of corruption involving other members of the inner circle.

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