Saturday, September 26, 2020

“Botswana and i-governance!”

The era of irrationality is upon us. I call it i-governance. Nothing epitomizes this irrationality more than the suspension of National Development Plan 10. Never before in civilized memory has our country been run without a long-term blue-print. By suspending NDP 10, the government has effectively abandoned strategic thinking. Decision-making is whimsical and short-term.

Priorities are set on the altar of egos and given the fallibility of human beings; this is an open road to hell. Without a plan, recklessness, populist pandering and muddling through rule the day. We cannot afford to be without a plan. Crooked logic suggests that because we are facing a crisis of global proportions, we do not need a plan. Hogwash! The necessity of a plan is even greater during difficult times for it is the plan that imposes predictability, certainty and prioritization.

Our government is using the global financial crisis to entrench a culture of “surreptitious serendipity’” in conducting national affairs. The National budget, Vision 2016, National Principles and National Planning objectives are ignored in favour of ill-conceived directives and initiatives. Our country needs a plan, a development plan and an economic stimulus plan (package) that is constructed, owned and known by Parliament and the citizens of this country. The sooner we all wake up to the reality that our country is on an irrational gear, the better. How do you explain current decisions coming from the government enclave?

Without notice or consultation, a 70% levy is imposed on alcohol and later reduced to 30%. Without any plausible explanation 200 million pula is forked out to the newly established DIS. How about the new traffic fines? They are ridiculous, aren’t they? Then there was the rejection of judges recommended by the JSC. Remember Ntuane, Moatlhodi and Kwelagobe and the treatment meted out to them. All is not well. We have had an unprecedented three cabinet reshuffles in a year. In the process, a woman professor and another one, an educational administrator, were condemned to the back benches. Yet we are asked to believe that the BDP leadership really wants women in positions of power.

How about the Ministry of Education? Close to a billion pula supplementary budget! It’s abnormal. Then there was the issue of cut-off points and sponsorship of tertiary education students. The hasty retreat thereafter was humiliating.

General Merafhe really looked out of sorts at that press conference. Yet another national scandal – the President and his cabinet are refusing to cooperate with the Directorate of Public Prosecutions. They are refusing to write statements. This is unbelievable and, yes, unacceptable. This is not all. The president of the Republic, in a recent interview with the foreign media, wondered what he was still doing in politics.

As for the PSP, he is reported to have told senior civil servants that they are paid for “Bockorol”-whatever that means but it is certainly unpalatable.
Where is Botho? What is happening to our country and its core values? We must all ask ourselves this question. We are losing it. Look at the Media Practitioners Bills, the abuse of public media by the ruling party and the atmosphere of fear induced by the operations of DIS

We are certainly walking in the valley of the shadow of darkness. The future of our country is uncertain. We seem headed for the painful collapse that the rest of Africa has experienced. It is getting clear by the day that, after all, we are an African country and, as such, very prone to the political and economic vices that have brought this continent to its knees. Autocracy, assault of democratic institutions, personalization of governance, fiscal indiscipline and an absence of strategic long term planning have become a feature of our existence as a nation. The response from the citizenry and the political leadership has been somewhat muted.

Fear and self-preservation are certainly taking precedence over the defense of our common heritage. It is time that rational men and women from all political persuasions transcend themselves and blow the whistle against i-governance.
This they should do for posterity and for GOD.

Taolo Lucas
BCP Secretary General

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