This is the last piece of this column for the year before I take a breather for the festive break. Phew! It has been an eventful year that was full of drama, chaos and madness, all thanks to our political leadership. They made us laugh with some of their insane moves. They made us angry with some of their thoughtless decisions. They made us happy with their political demise during the primary elections at their respective parties. The president of the country upped the game and proved he was no different from the rest of African leaders who have no shame in using public funds to soothe their personal tastes. While South Africans went up in arms over Jacob Zuma’s extravagance in his home village of Nkandla, Ian Khama didn’t want to be outdone and replicated Zuma through the controversial construction of an airfield at his private home in Mosu, using public funds in a very typical African leadership manner. I had therefore hoped to use this opportunity to solely reflect back on what has been happening in our country in the last twelve months.
My intention was to remind Batswana, whom I have come to accept they have dwarfed memories, about all the mess that has been taking place right under their noses and in the glee of their eyes. Batswana are a nation that forgives and forgets very easily. I bet many of them have even forgotten their salaries have been stagnant ever since Khama became president in 2008. Many of them must have already forgotten that we went through serious bouts of power load-shedding that was not necessitated by any natural causes but only because some people decided to loot our money instead of procuring electricity for us. There are times I find myself all teary and dejected when I look at how Batswana have elected to be mere spectators in the running of their country. It saddens me to realize how my people seem to have resigned their fate to the politicians. Our leaders are on the rampage looting the national coffers and in some instances raping Botswana’s long-held democratic credentials and sadly, Batswana remain indifferent to all these anomalies. Batswana remain helpless in the midst of all these injustices. We are a hopeless nation. In fact, there are times I just feel we are a useless nation in that we allow politicians to get away with murder even where we have the power to reprimand them for their wayward behavior. I will never understand Batswana and their docility. Batswana tend to believe seeking answers from the leadership is tantamount to disrespect and insubordination. Batswana have been made to believe that instead of showing their leaders where the toilets are, they themselves must become toilets for their leaders.
They take all the crap that’s doled out by their leaders no matter how detrimental it is to their livelihood. Examples of such crap are in abundance and another clear example of how Batswana are such an easy nation to swindle is the case of the establishment and operations of the Directorate on Intelligence Services (DIS). While the DIS may have been established with good intentions, it is safe to suggest the other reason for its establishment was to create an easy way for its overseers to misuse, or should I say steal, public funds. It shocks me that Batswana don’t see anything wrong with the DIS being excluded from publicly accounting for its expenditure. It is so ridiculous that the DIS cannot even state the amount of money they spend on their furniture and stationary and Batswana agree to the silly notion that divulging such information would pose national security threat. The Mmegi newspaper of last week Friday exposed DIS Director General, Isaac Kgosi’s seemingly dubious financial transactions which to me do not appear normal and proper. Just to show how Batswana do not give a hoot about their country’s resources, it has been business as usual for Isaac Kgosi since Friday when the Mmegi newspaper revealed his financial deals which read like a script from a mafia movie. The people are not pushing for him to provide answers. The situation is not helped by Kgosi’s behavior where he chooses to throw tantrums when questioned by journalists over his questionable financial transactions.
Kgosi knows very well that some of us who refuse to be fooled by his ‘secrecy in the name of national security’ have always suspected he is using that excuse to misappropriate public funds. Now if Kgosi was as intelligent as he wants us to believe he is, he would have come out to explain or even lie about his financial sources because his failure to do so provides some element of truth to our suspicions that he may be looting public coffers.Look, given a chance to be custodians of money that belongs to a clueless and submissive people, many of us would take advantage of the people’s ignorance and misuse those public funds. For me, and I’m sorry for that, I never feel sorry for people who fall prey to fraudsters and get swindled of their hard earned money through dubious transactions, some as stupid as the promise to multiply money. In most cases, people are swindled of their money not really because the fraudsters are smart but more significantly because the victims are irritatingly ignorant even to such levels that border on stupidity. To be blunt, fraudsters target stupid people who easily fall for their tricks. The same happens with leaders who swindle the national purse. Leaders steal from their people when they realize that the people are in deep slumber.
Nations that do not hold their leaders accountable are always easy to be swindled by their leaders. When the people give their leaders the lee way to do as they please, it is always a given the leaders will use national resources to their pleasure, knowing truly well the nation will not seek answers. The moment I heard that the Directorate on Intelligence Services (DIS) is not compelled to account to the nation for their expenditure, I knew this was a straight forward way of misusing public funds. The United States of America is the most security sensitive nation in the world but the expenditure of their security organs is not as secretive as ours in Botswana, a country which, really, has no sworn enemies to warrant so much secrecy on the operations of our intelligence organs.
I have written here before that the way we allow the DIS operatives to use our money without accounting for it, leaves room for misuse and abuse. I pointed out that at the rate the DIS is allowed to spend our money without accounting for it, it is plausible they could at times take our money to spoil themselves with the services of prostitutes and even if we may get to know about it, they will readily refuse to account because we have allowed them to use ‘security reasons’ to cover up for their misuse of our money. So really, even if it turns out that indeed Kgosi’s personal bank accounts are full of public funds, I would not blame him.
He would only be taking advantage of Batswana’s stupidity in believing that the DIS cannot account for its expenditure because of ‘security reasons’. I therefore repeat, I never feel sorry for people who are swindled out of their money on account of allowing themselves to be fooled by the fraudsters. To me, there is no difference in someone who loses money to people who promise to multiply money and to a nation that allows a State organ like the DIS to refuse to account for its expenditure. If Kgosi is ‘eating’ our money then I say it serves us right because we have stupidly created room for it.