I feel sorry and sad for Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, our candidate at the just ended African Union Commission elections. There we had a woman of substance who possessed all the right credentials and qualifications to become the AUC Chairperson but unfortunately did not have the full backing of the person who mattered the most, her principal President Ian Khama. Some of us supported Mma V because she is one of our own but most importantly because we believed she had what it takes to occupy that position. I know some people here at home did not support her because of some of her failures as Cabinet Minister but truth be told, a lot of these ministers are not failures but only fail because of the environment they work under. We have seen how some of the people who used to exhibit high levels of aptitude have since turned into morons under the current regime. This to me is a clear sign the bigger problem lies with the president as the driver and not necessarily cabinet ministers as his lorry boys. Some sections of opposition parties also did not support Mma V for the mere reason she is a BDP member. You cannot blame them entirely. I have written here before and warned against Khama’s leadership style which has turned our people from being political opponents to being political enemies. During the days of Rre Mogae and Rre Masire people differed politically but co-existed socially. People knew where to draw the line between partisan and patriotism. Nowadays people even celebrate the death of political opponents and would never support any endeavour that is undertaken by someone from the opposing camp even if it is non-partisan. That is how bad we have become as a nation. I followed the campaigns of all the candidates who were vying for the AUC Chairmanship. I read all the opinions and analysis that were rendered by commentators from across the continent and the one thing they all seemed to agree on was that Mma V qualified for the post, as an individual. However, many of them predicted her loss because they strongly felt that she didn’t stand a chance as an orphan. President Khama, who was supposed to play the parental role, was nowhere to be seen. Much as Mma V tried to explain that Khama was not the country, the truth of the matter is that he actually is. Khama embodies Botswana. Whatever Khama says to the world is taken to be our stand as a country. For example, to the world, when Khama said Donald Trump is not fit to be president, it was Botswana talking and not just some guy from Serowe. When Khama snubs the African Union, he is doing it on our behalf. We were therefore very delusional to think African leaders can give one of our own a chance to lead when our father views them as a bunch of clowns. I couldn’t agree more with my colleague Victor Baatweng when he opined that until we open formal and back channels of communication with other world leaders, then we should forget about holding any of these international positions. Baatweng said, and I fully concur, we need to frequently deploy our chief diplomat (President) to lobby on issues that matter. Mma V needed Khama to approach, directly and in person, his counterparts and ask for their support. Giving Mma V transport and accommodation money was not enough for her campaign. It is so surprising how Khama never learns from his mistakes. We have had Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba and Athalia Molokomme both failing to get elected into international positions simply because their president was not in the forefront of their campaigns. As to how we expected things to be different with Mma V when nothing had changed with Khama still beats me. It was so embarrassing reading updates from journalists who were covering the elections and how they kept on mentioning Khama’s absence at the summit. What kind of president delegates all international meetings to his deputy when he has no phobia for flights, can converse in English and is physically fit to travel? We seriously need to take Khama head on and make it clear to him that his main role as president is to represent our country where other presidents converge to discuss issues that have a bearing on us as a nation. Khama should stop behaving like a paranoid leader who is afraid to leave the country for fear a coup-de-tat may be staged in his absence. We are just a peaceful country with cowardly politicians and soldiers who can never even think of staging a coup. So really, I don’t understand Khama’s fear of crossing the border to represent his country even at crucial times like the one in Mma V’s quest for AUC Chairmanship. While we agree with Khama on some of the criticism that he often dishes out to other leaders, it is pointless for him to shout from the comfort of his country and then forgo the opportunity to sit down with them and explain his views. I bet they always gather and laugh at his cowardice because he never goes out there to tell them off to their faces. Well done Mma V for giving it a try. Your name will no longer be strange to Africa. Don’t listen to all the comforting reasons you might get for your loss. Take it from me, you lost because your president was not there to support you.
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