Sunday, January 24, 2021

Parliament’s rejection of Magama’s motion a sign of political immaturity!

By now, everyone knows so well how a BDP dominated parliament senselessly shot down a well thought out motion that sought to enhance, develop, nurture, nourish and enrich Botswana’s democracy.
Among other things, the motion sought to introduce the set up of a popularly elected President and do away with the archaic arrangement of automatic succession.

When everything is said and done, the motion by the BNF’s Akanyang Magama favours the ruling BDP given that the party is currently led by Ian Khama whose popularity and public appeal is by all intents and purposes unassailable.
The motion by Magama was driven not by any motives that the BNF would make any particular material mileage out of it.

In fact, if anything were the motion to be implemented and turned into a law, the BNF stands to lose out chiefly because in their ranks they no longer have a figure of Dr Kenneth Koma’s stature that would be looked up to take Khama head-on in public popularity.
The fact that the motion was killed owing to caucusing and partisan debates is to us malicious and regrettable.
It smacks of political delinquency and immaturity on the side of the ruling party who, by far, dominate the House because of their numbers.

It is a matter of shame that people who we used to hold in high regard as defenders of democracy and all its principles have used this motion to show the whole nation how they have conveniently changed if only to increase their chances of endearing them to the party and government High Priests.
To be honest and sincere to ourselves, we did not expect much from such people as Ministers Mompati Merafhe and Jacob Nkate beyond their clich├®d politics of partisanship and lack of grace.

But for us it is a matter of shame that respected and distinguished proponents of civil liberties like Minister Phandu Skelemani and Specially Elected Member of Parliament Botsalo Ntuane turned out to be some of the most vociferous and fiercest opponents of the motion by Member of Parliament for Gaborone South Akanyang Magama.

Even more reprehensible is the fact that these one time friends of liberty were now using their well respected intellectual and analytical depths not just to bend and contaminate the motion but also derail the motion to become an essentially partisan exercise when what was needed and expected of these once leading lights was to rise above petty street politics today consuming the ruling party.

The BDP parliamentary caucus is better advised that as much as they have the mandate to run this country, they also have been mandated to reach out and show grace to the few opposition MPs who have made it into parliament.

There is no better example of statesmanship than showing grace and forfeiting some ground to your opponents, especially in the face of such irrefutable proof that truth and public opinion is on the side of the opposition.

We urge the incoming President, Ian Khama, to listen to opposition, even when they disappoint as they so often do.

Listening to them, taking them along and winning their hearts by way of debating his opinion is the right thing to do.
Simply using the numbers to crash and ridicule them is nothing less than spiting the very people who elected them into office to start with. The situation is worse when the public thinks that opposition suggestions as presented on the parliament floor are in sync with the national mood.

Talk of justice for the winners is a better analogy! That is the last thing we need in Botswana where we have pulled together as a people despite our multi-cultural diversity and, in some cases, deep-seated differences.

And that is certainly not the course that the founders of this democracy had in mind when from the onset and against all fad they chose to make it a pluralistic, multi-party democracy.
We cannot emphasise the importance of Ian Khama listening and hearing out what the fellows in opposition are saying, no matter how passionately he may disagree with them.

It is in the nature of democracy that a person in a position of immense power like the President hears out his opponents without.

This in no way means that he would necessarily be in agreement with them.
We hope that as president, Khama will rein in the creeping irrationalism and exclusivity that threaten to sweep away the party.

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