I hate to write this essay because it addresses an issue that makes me angry and I hate being angry because anger can lead to evil.
But I have to write it any way lest I come to hate myself at some later stage in my life.
A pestilence of divisiveness has waved its way into our lives and we have come to suspect, distrust and hate each other. It is men against women; oldies against young people; tribes against each other; teetotalers against those who imbibe and Botswana against her neighbours.
Perhaps before I go any further, permit me to make reference to my essay titled ‘Enter Honourable Khama the magician’ run in the Sunday Standard of October 8th, 2006.
In the said article I posed a few questions among which were the following: ‘Will Khama offer the leadership that Botswana needs?’; Does Khama have an ideology or put differently, is there a central strand of thinking that informs his politics and policy choices?; Can he articulate a clear vision for the country? These questions remain relevant and pertinent but yet unanswered.
A part of President Khama’s inaugural speech identifies some of the social problems in our society as ‘the use of abusive language in public discourse, defamation, slander and false public statements in the media’.
We still recall the president telling the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) members that they should reject Daniel Kwelagobe as party chairman because he was power hungry, old and sickly. A little while ago he has alleged that members of the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) were planning to cause a civil war. It is wonder that a whole State President could make such inflammatory, unsubstantiated and potentially destructive comments.
He has been telling people, with monotonous regularity, that he dropped former Assistant Minister Guma Moyo from Cabinet because of suspected corrupt practices.
Now you tell me who is guilty of abusive language, defamation, slander and false public statements?
President Khama has a penchant to rule by fear and patronage and this method of rule is intended to ensure absolute control of very aspect of society’s life. He places himself at the center of everything. Talk about the BDP, his name has become synonymous with the organization; talk about social welfare programs such as Ipelegeng, his name features many times than the program itself and you would be excused to think that he is actually financing the program from his pockets.
When the debate about extra-judicial killings raged, his name featured prominently. Pose and think about this good people! ‘Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked man ruling over a helpless people’ (Proverbs 28:15)
President Khama’s desire to rule by fear has made him the most divisive president Botswana ever had. He has taken to making people fearful of some imaginary wars.
He promises everything to everybody who is ready to kill for him. Thus, he has successfully instigated bitch-fights, petty jealousies and rivalries amongst us and as a result Botswana is hostage to Khama’s unpleasant and dishonest tricks.
His dirty tricks manifest in painting all those who do not approve of his style of leadership as power mongers and merchants of murder.
He revels in publicly shaming the private media while presenting representatives of the government media as the only people who deserve to be treated with dignity. His intention is to deliberately set people against the private media.
He has deliberately influenced his lackeys to question the nationality and citizenship of other Batswana and in the process fuelling xenophobic attacks on those believed to be Batswana of foreign breed. Should Khama’s overzealous supporters set Guma Moyo’s property on fire or necklace Sydney Pilane with a burning tyre, the president will have to take personal responsibility.
On many occasions, he has questioned the patriotism of his critics, hinting that such people would be too happy to auction Botswana.
It is ill-timed and dangerous to whip people into believing that those who question the way things are done are saboteurs hell bent on setting Botswana on fire.
This is utterly irresponsible and un-presidential behavoir that has the potential to incite his sycophants to form hit squads in the shape of Zimbabwe’s war veterans who went about severing people’s arms and forcing them to feed on human excreta.
It is disgusting for a State President to have so much paranoia about his critics and everyone who is not BDP. It is really unbelievable to have a State President who always boasts that he has damning information about other people; a State President who gets fascinated by mischief.
It is nonsense to treat citizens as enemies of Botswana only because they have decided to form their own political organization. The President has a right to discredit them as hopeless and worthless but should do so in a clean, unadulterated and civilized way. The President should not get personal with former BDP members who had decided to leave the party because the BDP is a voluntary organization whose members join and leave of their own free will.
It is a pity to have a State President who articulates high principles while practicing the lowest and most shameful skullduggery, interspersed with mudslinging and character assassination. The President challenges people to be disciplined and self-respecting yet he comes out the most ill-disciplined, mischievous, cruel, naughty and vindictive.
President Khama is on record stating that if people don’t vote BDP candidates, they will be starved of development to teach them a lesson.
God have mercy on us!!
Isn’t it tragic to have a State President who prides himself in threatening everyone including other national leaders? For all we know, rule by fear and patronage is a safe haven for dictators and small-minded people.
For far too long we have allowed President Khama to get away with murder, which perhaps explains why he continues to peddle untruths about his people. The President has now become a threat to the wellbeing of the people of Botswana and to the peace and security of the region.
For these reasons, President Khama must be called to order or Botswana is destined for disintegration.
The President must tender a public apology in relation to his comments that BMD people are preparing for a civil war. In the event that he is unwilling to apologize, President Khama must present more facts to back up his outrageous claims.
We do not want to believe that the President is clandestinely causing panic in order to use his powers to declare a state of emergency and in the process outlaw all political formations and gatherings and usher in a one party state or police state.
We recall that at the height of the Zimbabwean crises President Robert Mugabe presented the MDC as a threat to national security in order to outlaw their meetings.
It seems Botswana is moving in that direction where the State President intentionally distorts reality to create public panic, fear and uncertainty.
President Khama’s claims of a possible civil war are likely to cause panic, especially in the rural areas where the effects of civil war such as indiscriminate rape, systematic murder and kidnapping are often severe. People might start deserting their homes and cattle posts for the towns in fear of insurgents.
In the likely event that President Khama refuses to apologize or fails to provide concrete evidence to back up his claims, and taking cognizant of the seriousness of the allegations, opposition MPs should explore the possibility of hauling him before Parliament to explain his remarks. I am not too sure if our Parliament has the power of impeachment but given the gravity of President Khama’s claims, the doctrine of impeachment, which is bound to the principle of a responsible government must be explored.
We can no longer afford to allow one person to destroy our nation by his narcissism and divisive politics unless we don’t care about our lives and those of the future generations. It should be noted that a majority of our troubles have been caused by people who present themselves as more important than others.
We need a State President who is ready to live in peace with his people and continental neighbours. We need someone who takes himself and his office serious; someone who respects the rights of others.
I want to believe that it is the constitutional duty of Parliament to make the executive answerable for their words, actions or omissions. The comments made by President Khama, unless supported with hard facts, amount to indictable offense and, as such, Parliament must prefer political charges against him, which should result in his removal from office.
He has eroded the trust of the nation in him and cannot be allowed to carry on playing with our emotions. He has lost his political relevance and has become a subversive and divisive national icon.
To use one of the Proverbs of Hell, let it be noted that ‘what is now proved was once imagined’ and in religious circles we say ‘don’t give the devil a ride he would want to take over the driving’.
Our country is buffeted by a storm and need a change of captain sooner than later.