It is not too late to expose the true reasons behind Olifant Mfa’s opportunistic and cynical plan to make Ian Khama a Life President.
The junior minister is subjecting the nation to a form of psychological abuse that in other countries would immediately cost him his job, but not so in Botswana.
Despicable as it may sound, Mfa’s behaviour is a cutting edge of a calculated effort by an assistant minister who knows his inadequacies but is insanely desperate and hungry enough to find himself a seat inside Khama’s small clique of the ruling elite.
The truth, however, is that no matter how much he debases himself, beyond earning flattering nicknames from the President, Mfa will never become a part of Khama’s inner circle.
Khama’s real friends are the old buddies from his military days at the Botswana Defence Force. (I wonder what Mfa was doing in the 1970s and 80s when Khama was in the army).
Khama’s small clique of loyal and trusted friends are Isaac Kgosi, Thapelo Olopeng and Kitso Mokaila, not necessarily in that order.
We may not like it but these three form a nucleus of the ruling elite that run this country.
They are the people on whom the President places immeasurable premiums of loyalty and trust. Mfa is all too happy to play a dumb fool just to become a part of this circle.
That said, if nothing else, Mfa’s utterances are a constant reminder that unless Khama speaks more about what he really stands for, the ever present self appointed, self-seeking surrogates like Mfa will, from time to time, crop up and pretend to be speaking on behalf of the president.
To his credit Khama has done well to promptly and publicly disown Mfa ÔÇô but the president should have gone further to sack Mfa from cabinet for this blasphemous affront to Botswana’s constitutional democracy.
The fact that Mfa stays on as a minister is in itself a telling commentary of the extent of Khama’s soft spot for characters like Mfa. And it’s unfortunate.
Khama’s critics have been quick to suspect a grand strategic conspiracy involving the President to unleash Mfa as an attack dog.
Personally I do not buy into that kind of conspiracy theory.
In fact, it does not matter whether or not Mfa is part of Khama’s grand plan.
The bottom line is that Mfa’s limitations have now been irredeemably exposed.
Henceforth, Khama should understand that Mfa’s unpolished demeanor and crude approach to politics are a genuine and potent threat to a president whose democratic credentials are still a subject of public doubts.
Characters such as Mfa cannot be trusted to detect the public mood or test the waters.
In future it will be political suicide to use Mfa as a kite-flier.
The reason given by Mfa for wanting Khama to go 15 years as President is that it is expensive for the state to continue supporting former state presidents.
Not only is the reason a disingenuous hogwash, it also goes to show how intellectually challenged the Member for Sebina/Gweta is.
Put in other words, what makes Mfa think any of the former presidents would have died by the time Khama completes the arbitrary 15 years.
Since when has Mfa been worried by costs towards the upkeep of former presidents?
Costs are an empty pretext.
The real reason behind Mfa’s alien idea is not so much the costs of maintaining former presidents as a frantic gasp to get admitted inside Khama’s inner circle.
The tragedy though is that by his latest antic, instead of endearing himself to Ian Khama, Olifant Mfa has, I am afraid, simply entrenched the negative impression many people already have of him as a wind-bobbing lackey who does not deserve to be in parliament let alone in cabinet.
Mfa’s critics have always maintained that he is more show than substance. By calling for an extension of the ten year presidential limit, the assistant minister has played into the hands of those people who have always maintained that he should never have been made a minister of state.
Outsiders may wonder just how it has been that Mfa found his way into cabinet!
The answer lies in Khama’s utter comtempt for the indepent minded and a shocking lack of faith in meritocracy.
A Chief beneficiary of Ian Khama’s vicious obsession for loyalty, trust and sycophancy, Mfa’s latest behaviour is that of a person who has grown confident that he knows what Khama wants in life. He says only that which he thinks the Presidents wants to hear.
Mfa’s latest adventure is just one of the many antics that have served him so well in the past as he played skillful politics with a president he knows does not like to be engaged, a president he knows likes to surround himself with yes men, a president he knows prizes loyalty much more than substance, a president he knows hates ground truths, a president he knows has no patience for tough and effective questions.
Again the tragedy is that Mfa’s mind games in an attempt to second guess the president can only put Botswana’s name into disrepute.
A shameless eagerness to please Ian Khama is a trance the BDP’s many politicians will have to shake themselves out of; otherwise they will find that no sooner have they lost public trust than they are regarded as village buffoons in the mould of Olifant Mfa.