Saturday, August 15, 2020

Lesego Motsumi holds parliament in contempt, but it?s Mogae?s fault!

Ian Khama must now be the happiest man on earth.
He also should consider himself the luckiest.
The rush to appease, placate and mollify him knows no bounds.

That rush now amounts to a stampede.

It runs down through the entire body structure of the ruling party; from the top to the bottom.
The stampede will get crazier as Khama?s turn to become president draws closer.

Never before in the history of this country have there been so many people, so thoughtlessly prepared and shamelessly willing to sacrifice their credibility just to please one person.

Yet that is exactly what we are witnessing.

If there ever were any doubts that Khama entered politics under his own terms after negotiating and cutting himself a generous deal with Festus Mogae, such doubts have now been summarily quashed.
Ian Khama has never made a secret of his contempt for politics and politicians.

He is in politics against his will.

He will, therefore, remain therein only if the rules of engagement are capriciously bended specifically for him.

That is the gist of the deal he carved and forced onto those who needed and called him into politics.
Unfortunately, though not privy to the terms of the deal, the nation has to foot the bill nonetheless.

Khama?s ever rising upkeep costs are a true price of protection services he has been rendering Mogae against other BDP pretenders to the throne.

It started with a sabbatical leave he demanded only a few months into his job as Vice President.

The sabbatical was followed by an unprecedented permission ever given a civilian to pilot military aircraft; and this against explicit official advice from the Ombudsman.

That was not before the man was made a de facto prime minister, not accountable to anyone; not to the president and certainly not to parliament.

Thanks to President Mogae, other than spending most of his time in aeroplanes and visiting exotic tourist resorts, nobody in the country knows for sure what Ian Khama?s job is.

Now the government has just purchased a presidential jet, close to half a billion Pula, which, by all intents and purposes, will become Khama?s toy.

His towering influence and stature, which is increased by endless demands, financed by Mogae?s indebtedness, has reduced the sitting president to a figurehead.

Though officially more senior, president Mogae has far less steam compared to his deputy.

Which is why when it comes to Ian Khama, Mogae is all too happy to suspend the backstop, oversight functions of quasi judicial establishments like the Ombudsman.

That should be a source of concern for those who believe in the ideals of constitutional democracy.
It is unlikely the republic will ever again have another powerful and influential Vice President as Khama.

There is a controversial security legislation which will only become operational during Khama?s tenure, which strangely Mogae is fighting tooth and nail to get passed like yesterday.

The law threatens to further contaminate Mogae?s already weak legacy as a president.

But then what does it matter?

As long as true to the two men?s deal it makes Khama?s job as president any easier, the merrier.
The now playing Air Botswana saga would not be making such eloquent twists if it did not enjoy the blessing of both the President and the Vice President.

Lesego Motsumi?s unbridled contempt for parliament in her handling of Air Botswana privatization has gone to extraordinary lengths to show just how difficult it will be to restore trust between the executive and government.

Throughout this week, the usually dormant minister has been contemptuously bragging about how the motion by parliament is none binding.
But then Motsumi is only an agent.
She is being used.

She is only a kite-flier.

Her utterly undignified and disdainful disposition towards parliament is only a replay of a script foretold by Mogae two weeks back when he publicly and without provocation, aimed a diatribe at members of parliament.

There is no hope for respite under Khama.
Every piece played is carefully thought out to soften his landing as president.

The Air Botswana saga makes it clear that Mogae does not have a problem with functionaries in his cabinet like Lesego Motsumi smashing and dancing on parliament?s sacred and constitutional mandate to intervene on behalf of the electorate.

The Air Botswana saga is the yardstick of extraordinary lengths Mogae will go in tampering with due process of law, history, tradition and procedure just to ensure that Khama gets what he wants.

The standoff between cabinet and back benches is a tip of a much bigger iceberg.

It signals a fast and potentially inexorable decline of Botswana?s constitutional democracy.

It?s sad the decay is setting off during the presidency of the person we once thought was the living embodiment of Botswana?s liberalism.
We are witnessing the planting of the seeds that will deliver us a banana republic.

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