Members of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) who have been reflexively chanting “Tsholetsa Domkrag!” ought to have been in parliament this past week when Molepolole North MP, Mohammad Khan, dissected their party’s chant using three languages.
“When the BDP, which forms the government of today says, ‘Tsholetsa Domkrag’, they talk about Dom, meaning stupid in Afrikaans, translated seeleele in Setswana and krag meaning power in English and maatla in Setswana. So what are you saying?” he paused before providing the answer. “If you translate Tsholetsa Domkrag properly in Setswana, you are saying ‘Tsholetsa seeleele se se maatla’, meaning ‘lift up stupid power.’”
The explanation really “hurt” Palapye MP, Moiseraele Goya, who immediately registered his displeasure with the Deputy Speaker, Kagiso Molatlhegi. After promising to stop hurting BDP MPs, Khan indicated he would move on to an analysis of the BDP flag. Save for stating that “the flag of our ruling party has so many factors that sometimes it becomes a little bit difficult to understand”, he never quite did that. He instead offered a detail that BDP members cannot be too proud of.
“We know that the BDP was formed by five white men in the Tuli Block. It started off as such; we know the history of the BDP. Go and read the history of the Botswana Democratic Party. What I am saying is that I know for a fact that five white men started this particular Tuli Block Democratic Party and then changed subsequently to Bechuanaland Democratic Party, which later became Botswana Democratic Party,” said Khan, eliciting no denial from the government bench.
He saved the deepest, unkindest cut for BDP members (or whoever else) who made Ian Khama president. Khan said that the latter’s failure as president should not be too surprising because he publicly stated the he was not up to the job.
“He himself said, ‘I am not a politician’. Why did we then, as Batswana, allow him to be president and sit in the highest political office of this country? Take a mechanic, put him in a hospital and make him a doctor. It is stupidity at its best – I am sorry to say so,” said the MP and in the next breath was heartily parsing the etymology of “Tsholetsa Domkrag” to connect it with what he had been saying.
Molatlhegi didn’t intervene, saying that he would only do so “in a case where one insults others.”
At various points in his speech, Khan referred to the president as Dr. Khama in acknowledgement of the latter’s honorary induction into academia by a South Korean university. Initially it all sounded genuine and congratulatory but one still couldn’t shake off the feeling that it was insincere. Indeed it was. Only a few minutes into his speech, the MP decided to drop the pretence and reveal his “Dr. Khama” context.
“I would quote Dr. Ndaba. I will call him Dr Ndaba because doctorates now just fly around,” Khan said referring to Gaborone Bonnington South MP, Ndaba Gaolathe.