Back in the day, teachers were allowed to flog us for failing tests and for failing to submit our assignments on time. My primary school teacher at Nyangabgwe in Francistown, Ms Gachala, used to beat us for attaining less than fifty percent pass mark on our school work. In fact, she even whipped us for going to the games room after school to play our favorite games such as Pacman, Kung Fu and soccer tables. She said playing games disrupted our academic performance and you would get more beatings if you failed to do your assignment and she learnt that you went to the games room the previous day. For her, it was important to do school work first and play thereafter. It helped because most of us got straight A’s in the PSL examinations, all thanks to Ms Gachala who taught us to put more focus in the classroom and not in the games room. Things changed as we grew up and teachers were no longer allowed to punish us for failing in our school work.
On Fools Day, April 1st, President Ian Khama celebrated his fifth anniversary as president of our Republic. I contend that had those five years been a school journey for Khama, he would be home right now with a ‘fail and discontinue’ report. If the presidency was a school, back in the days of Ms Gachala, Khama’s back body would be swollen and rotten with lashes for his dismal performance in his duties. He would be pink from Ms Gachala’s floggings.
Khama came into office in 2008 and made all the right noises and promised us heaven on earth. For many of us, the arrival of Khama was as an answer to the long wait of Jesus Christ. He came across as a Messiah. He portrayed himself as a workaholic who can never condone lackluster performance in the public service. In fact he even promised to sack Cabinet ministers who underperform. He came across as a unifier and a national father figure. Actually, he made us to believe that he was a patriot who loves this country more than the rest of us. He raised our hopes and made us frown over the time we wasted with the guys who came before him. The public service had always been accused of poor performance and Khama promised, albeit through threats, to be a ‘performance enhancer’, some sort of Viagra to the public service performance. I look back at his five years in the presidency and realise Khama sold us a dummy when he was sworn in on April 1st 2008. It appears to me, all the promises he made during his inauguration were in actual fact, April Fools’ jokes. I realise now that the biggest mistake we ever made was to install Khama on a Fools’ Day. He observed the day.
Since Khama became president, there is not a single national project that has been delivered successfully on time without a glitch. Millions of tax payers’ money has been swindled, embezzled, looted and wasted on projects that never became successful. Ms Gachala would have seriously whipped Khama for failure to save the beef industry in the country and for allowing the BMC to ‘die’ while those who run it fraudulently line up their pockets.
Ms Gachala, biting her lower lip, would have instructed Khama to touch his toes and receive lashes for failure to provide electricity and water to the nation even as millions of Pula has been wasted on those projects. Khama wouldn’t be walking properly because he would have received thorough thrashing for the sorry state of our education and health sectors. I doubt Ms Gachala would have spared Khama the rod for opting to go and play with quad bikes when he was supposed to go and meet American President Barack Obama. In fact here Khama would have received more lashes because Ms Gachala does not entertain people who choose to play games when they have serious assignments to carry out.
The list of failed projects that would have earned Khama the wrath of Ms Gachala’s whip is endless. Khama has failed to deliver, to mention but a few, the national stadium, the glass manufacturing company in Palapye, the international airport named after his father, the university in Palapye and the senior school in Shakawe.
Even at a personal level Khama has failed to deliver a First Lady for the country. He has failed to deliver a child who would become heir to the throne of Bangwato chieftaincy.
The only thing that Khama has achieved since he became president is to ridicule other leaders and make statements that not only embarrass the country but even him. Khama has only managed to further disgruntle public servants and make them look like enemies of the State.
Khama has managed to change politicians from being mere opponents and now view each other as enemies. Khama came and turned our people against each other where it is no longer safe to have a chat with a stranger like it used to be.
Khama came and regulated our personal lives to match his life’s personal preferences. Khama has turned this country into an army barracks where the inhabitants live and abide by the commander’s instructions without raising a finger. The past five years have been the most torturous for Batswana it even feels like Khama has been in power for fifty years and not five.
I have come to the conclusion that Khama is not intelligent. Well, that can be subjective but whatever intelligence he is endowed with, it does not include wisdom and statesmanship. Here I am not even referring to his academic credentials because, really, you do not necessarily have to be educated in order to be intelligent or wise. I know of a lot of educated people who are still stupid and as such, I would rather have an intelligent president whose education comes only as an added advantage.
Why am I depositing that Khama lacks the basic requirements of a leader? Well, a wise leader would not go in public and tell the nation that he doesn’t read books and newspapers because they are boring. Some of us have kids who look up to the president. Imagine if I tell Thabang to go to his bedroom and read books and he tells me he doesn’t want to read because he wants to become president.
And by the way, my son has already asked me to buy him a quad bike because he saw the president riding one. Now you see how our children follow everything that the president does. How do you say a president is intelligent when he can choose to snub the President of America for a meet-and-greet with villagers?
Under President Khama, incompetence has been immensely rewarded and corruption has been embraced with open arms. Senior civil servants who are incompetent continue to be favored with promotions while those who are accused with corruption are pampered like mistresses.
I was shocked when I heard reasons advanced by Khama for not dropping Cabinet ministers who face corruption charges. Khama asked a journalist rhetorically, “What if 10 of the ministers were facing corruption charges, I would be left without a Cabinet”.
Now that’s the dumbest statement ever made by the president. I mean, what makes Khama believe it would be wrong to drop 10 ministers at a go? He keeps referring to the law that says one is innocent until proven otherwise but Khama ought to know that what is legally right is not necessarily morally right. He should drop those ministers on moral grounds and to preserve the sanctity of the public offices they occupy.
The funny thing is, even as he is scared to lose his ministers in large numbers, Khama always takes almost the entire Cabinet whenever he goes somewhere and we can only pray that what happened to the Zambian national team some years ago doesn’t happen to them because in Khama’s view, they are the only Cabinet material such that he cannot expel them in large numbers even if they are all implicated in corruption cases.