Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Mosielele versus Khama in Botswana’s Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in the history of Botswana was far more common in the colonial era than it has been under democratic rule. Two of the most prominent political turmoil was that of Chief Mosielele in Moshupa where he had defied the Residence Commissioner of the British Imperial government.

There was a dispute regarding the throne of Ga-Mmanaana and the colonial masters were defied when Mosielele refused to take their orders. The British overlords knew very well that the chief had overwhelming support from his subject people.

When a military option was put on the table for his arrest, the officers in charge of the operation warned of the great fatalities that would befall their troops in Moshupa. Then plan B was to bomb the village with bombers from a Mafikeng airfield before the assault by the troops. That was an insane decision to say the least.

Ultimately the mounted police arrested Mosielele with little resistance and was incarcerated with some of his subjects in Molepolole prison. It was also here in Moleopolole where Chief Sebele was tussling with the British masters and was ultimately sentenced to a prison term in Gantsi. Interesting enough, Bakwena subject people were never so much up in arms to defend their royal except for a few.

The other political turmoil which is well recorded in our history occurred in Serowe were Seretse Khama who was a royal like Mosielele was pitted against his own uncle Tshekedi Khama. Books have been written and movies made on this particular turmoil and there is still so much found in our archives about these events.

In fact Serowe has always been the epicentre of turmoil and most of these started over what one could consider as small issue. Earlier to the Seretse and Tshekedi feud of 1948, the British had sent in 200 sailors from Cape Town by train and their mission was to capture Tshekedi Khama if he resisted arrest but he yielded.

Tshekedi had whipped a white man going by the name of Phineas McIntosh for serious sexual misdemeanours. The British were so offended by this action even though McIntosh had given a disclaimer in that he chose to be treated like the tribal folks in the village.

This year we have seen a serious tussle between the descendent of Tshekedi Khama and the descendent of Mosielele’s subject people. No one would have thought that this would be the case in this day and age. The dispensation of democracy is by its nature a non-incentive for political conflict and therefore we never expected to find ourselves at this political junction.

The Masisi/Khama feud is really an embarrassment to our democracy. I am a man who is known to have thrown everything at Khama and right now I would like to distance myself from him and focus on those who have allowed themselves to be used to fan the flames of political turmoil. It is the blind followers that I have issues with. The people that are prepared or have allowed themselves to be used as cannon fodder in the battle between the two leaders are the ones to bear greater blame.

Khama has his own issues with the man he handed power to and that started happening a few months after the transaction was completed. Had Khama’s subjects stayed indifferent in this whole issue, we wouldn’t be where we are now. Khama has been moving phase by phase and at every level he has been receiving the wind he needed for a lift.

This man warns that Botswana must be ready for a serious crash landing. In short he was agreeing with an article I published regarding Masisi’s inauguration which was titled; Boko overshot the runway in his landing. Now Ian the pilot is talking of crush landing. I have flown with Ian before and the one time I can vividly remember was when we came from Tete, Mozambique where we had gone to check on Botswana troops who were doing a UN Peacekeeping mission in that country.

I was used to flying the Britten Norman which is known as the Defender in Botswana’s military and being in the Spanish Casa 235 made a big difference. Khama told me in that journey as I had gone to join him in the cockpit; that he would never want to take part in any crush landing. I was very inquisitive and was asking a lot of “if” questions. He said nothing is guaranteed in life and part of the pilot’s training prepares them for the worst case situation such as crush landing.

Very few crush landing stories have a happy ending. Around 1993 an Air Botswana aircraft was forced to do belly landing at Gaborone International Airport with one of the cabinet ministers on board. A belly landing is equally as bad as a crush landing but it is always better because it is done with all the fire engines on the ready.

I spoke to one of the old pilots at BDF who has a wealth of experience in flying. Though he is retired, his flying hours added up together will exceed the sleeping hours of some of the readers in their entire lives. Asking him about the consequences of crush a landing he said; “you only do this when you have no other option left and it is done because the aircraft is irrecoverable.” He says it usually happens with loss of life and commonly the aircraft can never see the light of day in as far as flying is concerned.

But is this what Khama wants to put our country through? Khama clearly understands the consequences of such actions in flying and he can in no way ascribe them to the land of his father’s birth. Interpreting Khama’s intentions from an aviation perspective, all that he wants to achieve is to obliterate our country by destroying its economy and the international reputation that we currently hold.No matter how wronged he may be in the political and legal context he was speaking from, we are not his subject to wish us such unthinkable things.

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