Saturday, January 22, 2022

Masire’s helplessness shows something is terribly wrong with Botswana!

Sir Ketumile Masire was President of Botswana for an uninterrupted 18 years.

Before then, he had served as Vice President and Minister of Finance and Development Planning, for a continuous period spanning about 15 years.

Sir Ketumile had also been the first Secretary General of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party, a political party he co-founded which has since independence been Botswana’s governing party.

Together with his friend Sir Seretse Khama, Masire laid the foundations for the modern day Botswana.

With Sir Seretse now dead, Masire is accepted as the indisputable remaining founder of the Republic. His voice is that of a powerful political and economic figure who in figurative and literal senses knows where the bodies are buried.

When he appeared before the parliamentary committee investigating the Botswana Meat Commission, President Masire talked of how he has over the years been systematically sidelined by a racist cartel that controls Botswana’s beef industry.

This came as a shock not just because Masire is a political hero of many Batswana, including those that have differed with him and his party, but also because throughout his time in office many Batswana often associated Masire more with cattle farming than with politics.

He has never made a secret his passion for farming. His agricultural prowess, success and wealth, especially the number of his farms and cattle was often a source of media speculation and political ridicule. Correctly or wrongly, he was often flaunted as the embodiment of what a cattle baron should be.

It therefore came as a shock to many Batswana to hear Sir Ketumile cry helplessly that he has over the years been treated rudely, unfairly and crudely by the white racist cartels that he said have ring-fenced the cattle industry for their own selfish ends.

To hear a former President, who to many Batswana should be the embodiment of power, wail so helplessly as Masire did last week is truly depressing, demeaning and indeed humiliating. We have no wish to engage in a blame game of what Masire himself did or should have done during his time to empower Batswana against the excesses of the white cartels who are today putting his own feet on fire.

Because we wholeheartedly believe what Masire said, all we want to say is that there is something terribly wrong with this country.

If white racists can so easily reject a former President at a top table from where they are literally skinning bare the resource of this country such as BMC then what chance do ordinary Batswana stand?

We call on Batswana to reflect on the crescendo of helplessness as that which came from Sir Ketumile Masire when he appeared before the parliamentary task force.

And in doing so the single question each one of us should ask ourselves is: Just who owns this country?

For a long time we have unfairly accused people like Masire who have held both political and economic power that they were stripping the country bare with outsiders at the exclusion of other Batswana.

Now, Masire goes public, literally crying of his helplessness and tells the nation of the abuse he has had to put up with at the hands of shady, racist cattle owning barons that have parceled this country among themselves and are now forcefully dividing national institutions like BMC amongst themselves, without even bothering to think for a minute the implications of chasing away people who created such institutions like former President Sir Ketumile Masire.

There is something terribly wrong with our country. The extent of economic exclusion has now reached levels where it is a security threat. We hope those in power today, who somehow feel more white than black, will take notice.

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