Wednesday, September 23, 2020

“We need Discipline in the

Just a few days before he vacated office, former President Mogae came out strongly against media commentators who sign their articles with pseudonyms for the sole purpose of spreading lies and assassinating the characters of other persons. He threatened to approach the courts to compel newspapers to reveal the identities of such people. Precisely, Mogae was irked by people who conceal their identities solely to abuse their targets. Thus, the use of pseudonyms on its own is not evil but if used to deliberately conceal ones identity for the purpose of abusing and attacking the personalities of their targets, it becomes unlawful, grossly inappropriate and sinister.

The individual who goes by the pseudonym Peter Mosarwe has come out with blazing guns aimed at critics of Khama’s administration. In fact he comes out as a learned fellow but his decision to conceal his identity and nurture a compulsive habit for frivolous accusations against his targets makes him a mercenary, or a kind of a neglected guard dog that occasionally becomes a rogue mate and an embarrassment to its master. Instead of discussing issues, he overloads his essays with threats and verbal violence which compromise his integrity and honesty.

In labeling me a fake intellectual, Mosarwe knows fully well that I may not be in an informed position to tell what he is because his identity has been concealed. Nevertheless, the devil who seems to be a very senior government officer will be unmasked soon. Of course, it must be made clear to this self-styled Khama’s minion that he has the privilege to coin such labels if that is what makes him feel good. It doesn’t bother me an inch. After all, the criterion he uses to judge me a fake intellectual is simply that he disagrees with my views. My only worry is that it is insincere and unprofessional to engage demons in public discussions. His line of reasoning is very simplistic, self-belittling and betrays his otherwise learned mind. His participation in public discussions is motivated by malice. While he may, by virtue of his seniority, have little respect for me as a nonentity, he must respect my opinions and keep his temper within reasonable bounds.

Generally, people who derive maximum pleasure in delving into personality issues are often petty and like geese, have big heads with very tiny brains. Such people normally resort to editing people’s work for poor expression, wrong spelling and typing errors because they can’t think smart. They employ mudslinging to intimidate and marginalize others.

Mosarwe claims that the public show of confidence in Khama makes some of us uneasy. How mistaken! Such show of public confidence in Khama is not a recent phenomenon. How then could we fret about it when it has been a part of us for so long? We are only worried that once the euphoria about his presidency is over and our people mature into well informed citizens, the cracks on the walls would appear much bigger than would actually be the case. We do not plan or pray that Khama fails because, if he fails, Botswana goes down the drain with him. To the contrary, our criticism is intended to mould him into the greatest of all for the good of Botswana. Precisely, we pray that Khama succeeds in turning around our economy so that Botswana becomes prosperous and, by extension, Batswana, including Khama’s critics, prosper but those prayers would not insulate him from constructive criticism.

It is not true that we hold the view that anyone who agrees with Khama on certain issues is necessarily close to him because we do agree with some of his ideas and policy pronouncements yet we cannot profess to be close to him. In one of his essays, Mosarwe claims to be in regular contact with Khama and the gist of my submission was that such people who are overly excited to be close to Khama are distracting him. Like novice couples who relish in new love, they are always unnecessarily tailing him and showing off their immoral friendship. That is why in my essay titled ‘Khama needs a wife’ (Mmegi July 2007), I argued for Khama to get a wife who would shield him against thugs who masquerade as trusted friends and advisors.

Mosarwe refutes that I ever stated that Khama stands a good chance of becoming the greatest Botswana president and accuses me of plagiarism. Yet this is what I said in 2006 ‘thus, Khama may as well become the greatest Botswana President of all times’. I also commented that ‘…Khama has the entire world on his side. His designer outfits, awesome and supreme self-confidence as well as his sense of authority would earn him respect …’ (Sunday Standard, 30 October 2006). When I commented on the Intelligence and Security Bill in January 2007, I expressed my support for the proposed law and reasoned that ‘here is a potentially great man whom the state continues to pervert and destroy by giving him more powers through deliberate acts or badly timed decisions which are thereon associated with him. Certainly, this is not fair to Khama because some of these things associated with him are, in actual fact, the creation of the bureaucrats’ (Mmegi, 11 January, 2007).

As well, in my essay cited earlier, ‘Khama needs a wife’, I prayed that Khama gets himself a wife to chase away the Brutuses (self-styled acquaintances and friends) ‘if he is to become the greatest of them all’. That Khama needs a wife to ‘protect him from sycophants who are distracting him from focusing on crucial national challenges and delivering with aplomb’. Yet Mosarwe would have none of my sincere appreciation that Khama stands a good chance to excel. Perhaps, then, Mosarwe was not born when these articles were run in the cited editions. No, it can’t be! Perhaps he was not yet baptized as a daredevil. Most probably!

Significantly, it could be due to his prejudiced mental faculty or an irritatingly short memory. Did I forge my own thoughts and expressions Professor of hallucination? Thus, Mosarwe’s charge that I relish in plagiarism is unethical, wrongful and has all the hallmarks of cold-blooded recklessness. A mere expression of an opinion does not oust other people from holding and expressing a similar view. One may not simply lay claim to such an expressed view as one’s original idea. Be careful not to mock yourself.

Yes, I still maintain that people were made to believe that Khama would instantly fix problems. This is certainly why every single individual who is aggrieved wishes to approach Khama for help. Remember the story carried by Mmegi newspaper sometime in 2007 about a chap who approached Khama to report that he is owed by a certain MP? I have said Khama did not help the situation because he had repeatedly said that the doors to his office are open, somewhat implying that people could lodge any complaints with him in a way that suggests he has solutions to all problems. It is now common knowledge that Khama was kidnapped into politics, first and foremost, to fix the BDP’s recurrent diarrhea and, perhaps at some later stage, to fix the seemingly incurable poor service delivery in the public service.

Truth be said, Mosarwe is not irked by persistent criticism leveled at Khama and his administration. The honest truth is that his latest bout of nappy rash is caused by the revelation that people like him are distracting Khama, which is precisely why he mischievously claims that I associated myself with Khama’s bashers. This is an absolute falsehood, a deliberate fabrication and deceit. Of course, I have, on many occasions, questioned Khama’s ways of doing things but this is no justification for the likes of Mosarwe to concoct association fallacies in particular, guilt by association.
The disclosure that people like Mosarwe are distracting Khama is what causes them pain most, which is why they brand some of us ‘Khama’s born-again advisors’ ÔÇô a clear indication that Mosarwe and his ilk are scared they are losing their privileges as exclusive membership of Khama’s kitchen cabinet.

So scared they are that, now, they are ready to use every trick to malign those others they consider to be new comers. People like him feign their friendship to Khama while in actual fact they are lurking for his blood. They will be the first to celebrate his tiny missteps. I repeat, dear ‘Honourable Khama, please, fear not those who speak ill of your ways of doing things, but those who sing you endless songs of praise’ (Mmegi, 20 July 2007) for they are conspirators and saboteurs.

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The Telegraph September 23

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 23, 2020.