President Festus Mogae on Thursday received ‘accolades’ for giving vice president Ian Khama special treatment ever since he lured him from his military job.
Contributing to the on going presidential State of the Nation address, Gaborone Central MP, Dumelang Saleshando, ‘congratulated’ president Mogae for a ‘hectic tenure in office’, cushioning Khama from all sorts of misappropriations.
“From his initial years, president Mogae committed monumental blunders. Despite such blunders, he never lost confidence and continued with vigour to throw this country into disarray. He took unprecedented moves never seen in the region let alone the world,” said Saleshando. “Who can not remember the electoral blunder and the subsequent Khumalo Commission that resulted in ex-attorney general, Phandu Skelemani, threatening to sue president Mogae? Saleshando said with his BDP party vulnerable to factions, Mogae brought in Khama from the army to heal the wounds bedeviling the party.
“Surely, president Mogae was having a hectic time as evidenced by the one year sabbatical leave accorded to Khama immediately after being awarded the vice presidency, not to mention his allowance to fly helicopters to attend political party meetings despite the Ombudsman’s directive not to do so.
I, therefore, agree with BDP MPs who spoke before me praising president Mogae for a hectic tenure in office. Indeed, surely, it was not an easy road for the president,” challenged Saleshando.
Saleshando argued such blunders reduced president Mogae to a shrinking president because he sacrificed his administration for his deputy.
“President Mogae fought at all costs to cushion Khama to the detriment of his administration”, he said. “President Mogae even championed for Khama chairpersonship of the party.”
The maverick Gaborone Central MP challenged Mogae over his last State of the Nation speech saying Mogae’s tenure was clouded with political misconceptions at the expense of the nation.
He called the government selection of Specially Elected MPs as a walking example of a president clouded with political misconceptions.
“It, therefore, defies logic for the president to publicly announce to the nation that during his tenure he never allowed political misconceptions to cloud his judgment and service to the nation. Does president Mogae think BDP inclined individuals are better than opposition individuals?” Saleshando called for the selection of Specially Elected MPs to be from across the political divide since “we possess different and unique skills”.
During his speech president Mogae said he had not allowed political expediency and the pursuit of populism to cloud his judgment and service to the nation.
On beneficiation and diamonds, Saleshando said it should benefit Batswana. He lamented that of the companies billed to venture into diamond cutting and polishing operations in the country, only one is citizen owned.
He called for the government to come up with mining dispensation that directly benefits Batswana employees and shareholders.
He scoffed at the out going Palapye MP, Boyce Sebetela, an engineer by profession, saying he did not venture into diamond cutting and polishing because he knew the hurdles and barriers imposed by his BDP government to favour foreigners at the expense of Batswana.
“He is about to quit politics and join Debswana as an employee. If there were no stumbling blocks he could have ventured into the sector,” Saleshando said.
On citizen empowerment, the MP said president Mogae did nothing to empower the citizens.
“President Mogae’s government talked of education and health as citizen empowerment. That is not enough. It is a stepping stone towards empowerment.” He urged the government to come up with better strategies to make empowerment a reality.
He said of the tenders approved by PPADB, only a fraction was allocated to Batswana whilst the foreign-owned companies received the lions share.
The situation is further not helped by remunerations afforded to foreigners at the expense of Batswana with equal qualifications, he said.
Saleshando accused president Mogae of having achieved less in economic diversification saying, in fact, statistics reveal diversification deteriorated during Mogae’s tenure.
He said over reliance on diamonds grew considerably during Mogae’s tenure at the expense of agriculture and manufacturing which deteriorated dismally.
“Should the government have taken agriculture and manufacturing seriously, the two sectors could have diluted the dominance of diamonds,” Saleshando noted.
He charged that recent attempts by the government to resuscitate agriculture were subject to collapse mainly because the youths were less experienced and without passion for agriculture.
He added that “the young farmers fund is an attempt by the government to set death traps for desperate youths.”
Saleshando said time was running out for peace loving Batsawna to revolt and rebel against poorly coordinated schemes not because they spontaneously feel to do so but because economic hardships dictate it.