Tuesday, March 2, 2021

“Fiddling while Rome burns”

Power outages that have happened over the last few days have been devastating. The whole country is now in a state of both shock and confusion. Botswana Power Corporation keeps changing the story of the causes. But at this juncture not many people are really interested in what is wrong. All people want is to now when power will be restored. Households and businesses alike have suffered immeasurable damage. By the day that damage becomes irreparable. Businesses especially small ones are destined to go belly up.

It is difficult enough trying to keep afloat as a small business. For many businesses it is unbearable when over and above the difficult economic climate and trading conditions that obtain additional pressure is put on top by way of having to contend and put up with outages that stretch sometimes for days on end. We have to remember that this comes at a time when government policy on employment is either absent, dysfunctional or at best just disjointed. It also happens at a time when the economy has not yet recovered following the worst recession in years. That said, the current outages are the most glaring failures yet of President Ian Khama’s ability to coordinate and implement large scale projects.

The irony of it all is that Khama spent almost ten years as Vice President with no substantive portfolio other than to coordinate projects and government business. During those ten years however, Khama never made a single inventory that resembled accounting to the nation on his portfolio. As a result nobody knows the outcome of his coordination efforts. If any accounting happened at all it was confined between himself as coordinator and the then President Festus Mogae. It has not escaped our attention that in the current state of crisis, President Khama has gone into hiding. Those who claim to know him say it’s all in his nature. By keeping quiet the man is wholly keeping in kind, they say.

This is a man who his nature likes to be an exclusive bearer of good news. He does not dissonance or any inkling that removes him from his traditional comfort zones. He never wants to take responsibility least of all that of being the one to break the bad news especially when he is aware that pointed questions are likely to emerge. For someone who threw caution out through the window and used a key address to his party to tell the nation that the days of load shedding were over, his absence in the current national power difficulties is amazing.

The troubles besieging the country on account of the outages now amount to an emergency. The problems are way beyond Minister Kitso Mokaila. It is time the President stood up to address the nation by way of assuring them that he feels their pain, but more importantly by saying what he is doing to normalize the situation.

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