Sunday, September 27, 2020

Nchindo suicide? Somebody pinch me

In line with the tenets of humanity, I start off by sending my heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family of Louis Nchindo and those who were still his friends at the time of his demise.

I didn’t even have a nodding acquaintance with Nchindo but, still, I cannot come to terms with his death and, surely, it must be very difficult for those who were closer to him.

May I also ask his family to bear with me for disregarding their request for privacy during this trying time as I here peep into some intriguing observations in the death of Nchindo.
In any case, we are not trying to be insensitive or inconsiderate to the feelings of the mourning family when we talk about Nchindo’s death. No. The truth is Nchindo was not a Joe Blow. He was a prominent public figure.

His life and, indeed, his death were bound to arouse public scrutiny. I, for one, cannot seem to be able to put together the jigsaw puzzle that is Nchindo’s death. The maths just doesn’t add up here.

I cannot make sense out of Nchindo’s suspected suicide.

In fact, I got horror-stricken the very moment Radio Botswana broke the news of his disappearance. Immediately they told us Nchindo was missing I knew there and then something was amiss.

Like I said, Nchindo was by no means an ordinary folk. He was not a mere mortal. It should even be permissible to suggest Nchindo architected Botswana’s economic and political landscape to what it has since turned out to be.

As the man who stayed at the helm of the country’s cash cow (Debswana) for decades, he undoubtedly played a pivotal role in the way our economy shaped up.

As an influential man with unfettered access to the country’s political leaders, no doubt Nchindo had some influence in this country’s political make up.

Love or hate him, the fact remains Botswana’s history will be incomplete without the mention of Nchindo. Though he seemed to enjoy working behind the scenes, there is no doubt Nchindo influenced many decisions in the running of this country for quite some time. I have no reason to doubt that Nchindo knew why and how the presidential baton passed on from Masire to Mogae and eventually to Khama. With due respect, Nchindo was a kingmaker of some sort.

I proclaim ignorance to Nchindo’s personal life but one thing that I can attest to is that he loved life. And he lived it his fruitful way. From my distant observation, Nchindo struck me as someone who valued and never compromised on his happy life.

Nchindo had the money and the money took good care of him. If a man who has been without a job for almost five years could still manage to maintain his prestigious lifestyle and pump millions of Pula into his business projects and legal representation without whining, then it is crystal clear money was the least of his problems, though I cannot vouch for that assertion.

Nchindo conducted the public side of his life with a sense of pride, dignity, pomp and elegance. Nchindo was “big” and he seemed to relish the status. Louis Nchindo was neat and fashion-conscious. Nchindo cared for and loved his body. To sum it all up, Louis Nchindo looked well-preserved.

Naturally I expect Nchindo to have become increasingly disillusioned with life as his name started to attract scandals. Just when he was still parrying legal blows from government in his corruption case, disturbing reports about his shenanigans with some South African nubile broke out in the media.

It was around the same time that his sour relationship with former President Festus Mogae played out in the media.
All this happened in the wake of media revelations about dirty deals between Debswana and former leaders. It was the same newsfeed that left many of us mouth-agape in disbelief when we learnt of how the BDP had been amassing secret sponsorship from Debswana.

All these damning information seemed to have created more enemies than friends for Louis Nchindo as he became the prime suspect of the information leak.

I have said this before, Nchindo, by virtue of his previous relationship with the high command of this country from way back, knew everything about everyone at the upper echelons of government and it goes without saying that when suspicions of his intended bean-spilling surfaced, jitters took its toll at the government enclave.

There we had Louis Nchindo who was being dragged on hot coals through his corruption charges, whereas he bottled up on deep secrets about “big” guys in the country. Those whose secrets were beholden to Nchindo must have become restless at the thought of Nchindo spilling the beans. While others must have stayed all night praying for Nchindo’s demise, others plotted it. We might never know exactly how Nchindo died but we know either the plot or the prayer worked out. If the prayer prevailed, it might be true Nchindo committed suicide but if he died because of the plot against him, then someone’s hands are blooded.

But then the question that begs for an answer is, why would Louis Nchindo commit suicide? Was he a troubled soul so much so that he had become suicidal?

Latest information suggests that Nchindo feared for his life. What this therefore means is, Nchindo still wanted to live and he feared that someone wanted to see him dead. How strange then, that someone who cries out to have his life spared can be the one who pulls the trigger on himself?

How plausible is it that a person of Nchindo’s stature can go all out and commit suicide in the bush?

Nchindo liked his body in life and I doubt he would have willingly donated it to wild animals even in death. A dignified and image conscious man in life, I want to believe Nchindo would have loved to be buried a dignified and intact corpse. Why did Nchindo lock his vehicle and take his own life outside the vehicle? Why couldn’t he just lock himself in his bedroom or his vehicle and shoot himself?

We hear reports that Nchindo had approached Ian Khama seeking protection as he feared for his safety. It would be interesting to know the president’s response to this allegation because as it is now, it shows Nchindo had no protection to his life and that is why his precious life was taken so cruelly either by himself or someone else.

If my memory serves me well, the Police’s justification for extending protection to one local High Court Judge is he, just like Nchindo, feared for his life. They also assured us that this protection can be provided to any person or citizen. Why then was Nchindo denied such protection?

We also hear that his memoirs were on the verge of being published and this caused a lot of panic in some quarters. What caught my curiosity in the story is to hear that Nchindo had a meeting with Khama to allay his (Khama) fears about the book.

He is quoted as having said, “I had a meeting with him recently to allay his fears about my book. ‘I told him, don’t worry, I have not written any nonsense.”

This is quite revealing. Did Nchindo imply that the president had something to fear about what Nchindo might have written? What is the “nonsense” that Nchindo had to assure the president that he didn’t include in his book so as to allay the president’s fears?

Was it just a coincidence that after Nchindo alerted Khama to allegations that DIS and a certain local lawyer were plotting against him, the DIS Director General, Isaac Kgosi, issued a press statement telling us that they do not go about killing innocent people? Was his press statement informed by allegations leveled against his organ by Nchindo?

Talking of DIS, it would be interesting to find out how long their lines were cut from the BTC grid and how it affected their operations. During this cut off, didn’t they miss some information that could help unravel Nchindo’s death?

Many of the questions that I would love to pose would best be answered by Nchindo himself and unfortunately he is not here to give me the benefit of the doubt.

I would have asked Nchindo why he wanted to part ways with his initial legal representatives. Was it just a case of trying to shift gear and fight the establishment with the anti-establishment hero that Bayford is?
Louis Nchindo is said to be dead. All indications point to possible suicide. Reports of his death have thus far brainwashed us to believe he committed suicide.

What makes it even more difficult for me is to hear that no suicide note was found. It scares me to believe a well informed person like Nchindo would commit suicide and never leave a note.
Was he in such a hurry to embrace his Creator? I doubt.

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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.