Former Special Advisor to President Festus Mogae and spokesperson of the Botswana Democratic Party breakaway party, Sidney Pilane has accused President Lt Gen Ian Khama of dictatorship, despotism, telling the nation blatant untruths and launching an unlawful secret investigation by public officers.
Pilane has challenged the president to a public debate so that Batswana can tell who is telling the truth between Khama and the Barata-Phathi faction.
In a scathing written response to President Khama’s recent statement on the breakaway party which was aired on Radio Botswana and Btv, Pilane states that “the tragic story of our country is that he (Khama) has never earned anything in his life; he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and all has been handed to him in a silver platter because he, purely by accident of birth, inherited the name “Khama” from one of the great heroes of our country. Mr. President, for once in your life work to earn something- transform into a true democrat, revive, enhance and modernize our democracy, give Batswana the opportunity to review and overhaul our national Constitution instead of sheltering behind it in order to avoid the scrutiny of your decisions, innovate and come up with economic initiatives in order to overcome the recession instead of excusing your non performance on it while spending scarce national resources indulging your pleasures and populist ego! Earn something for once in your life!”
Pilane says he has been forced to respond because of “the false and objectionable nature” of much of Khama’s statements. “Give us access to Btv and Radio Botswana in order that Batswana should hear our side of the story. Debate me on the state of the nation to enable Batswana to judge who is right as between you and Barata-phathi, and who would serve the country better.”
Pilane further states: “That the President “ordered” (typical choice of word) an investigation would seem to be correct. What he does not say is that the investigation was secret, was conducted by individuals who are members of the Intelligence Services of the country, and that he has kept the Report secret. The institution of a secret investigation of matters internal to a political party by public officers is characteristic of the President and his scheming and cavalier ways.”
It emerges in Pilane’s letter that the three members of the Barata-Phathi faction who were investigated Member of Parliament Botsalo Ntuane, erstwhile party activist Kabo Morwaeng and Pilane, requested a copy of the Report.
In Khama’s letters suspending Pilane and Morwaeng, the president allegedly promised to furnish them with copies of the report when the charges were served on them. “When the charges were eventually served, the Report was, not surprisingly, not attached. He dared not attach it for three reasons. It resulted from an unlawful secret investigation by public officers, and it did not contain any evidence of the allegations that he had made against us. He also did not disclose the Report, we are told, to members of the Central Committee. Producing it would have revealed the identity of the Intelligence Agents who had conducted the investigation, and the fact that it contained no evidence supporting the allegations of “sedition” (he initially had called it “treason”), both of which charges are outrageous-but then the doing of anything, however innocuous, which does not accord with the President’s wishes is the most serious of crimes.” Pilane further states that “the Report, apparently, comprises one paragraph in which is set out the allegations conveyed to the investigators by the President, and states only that Hon. Olebile Gaborone refused to cooperate. Such a Report constituted the only evidence upon which the President suspended three then members of the Party, and charges of “sedition”.