Saturday, June 15, 2024

Succession will inevitably be untidy because the incumbent does not like sharing power

The country is currently clutched and mesmerized by an ongoing succession drama over who will become the Head of State, post 2018.

Sadly, while that debate rages on, and along the way has assuming all the features of a canon existence, an all too important element of that succession is being overlooked ÔÇô which is the current President’s declining influence over what the outcome shall be.

For those of us who make a living writing about politics, nothing is more enthralling than watching a man who under normal circumstances should be at the centre of the theatre having effectively locked himself out of it all. Nothing is more fascinating than watching the anguishes of an insider who has all of a sudden become an outsider.

President Ian Khama has no one to blame but himself.

He is a victim of a control freak bent that inexorably pushes him to want to micromanage every event under the sun.

Indications are that he would prefer his younger brother, Tshekedi Khama to succeed him. But it has become too late.

With just over two years left in office, President Khama has effectively entered a lame duck period.

The long list of pretenders is testimony to the fact that a large swathe of ruling party members has begun a process of discounting the current president in the long term plans of their party.

Ahead of all of us, a majority of this people are already coming to terms with a life after Khama is gone.

The bottom line is that owing to his own personal defects, President Khama’s options on succession have now narrowed so significantly that the man is no longer such a big player on the matter.

The unintended upshot of it all is that at least from a distance, that succession is going to be anything but clinical.

Even for a reputable smooth operator, sacking the current Vice President and getting a new replacement without destabilising the party, government and indeed the country has now become almost impossible.

The fact that it is now too late in the day for the president to play a trump card is perhaps what informs vice president Mokgweetsi Masisi’s ham-fisted bullishness to publicly state that he now is now considers himself the heir to the throne.

This should serve as a resounding lesson to those of our political leaders who in future might want to micromanage succession.

For a man who spent ten years of his political career being prepared for the top post, there can be no explanation other than selfishness, self-centredness, megalomania and possibly greed that the current president has not seen it fit to give his successor the same benefit.

President Khama does not like sharing power.

He also does not accept that as his days in power come to a close, it is inevitable that he will become less and less relevant.

For a man accustomed to public attention and all the glare that he clamours, nothing is more painful than seeing a potential successor being showered with the attention that he views as his birthright.

The man will simply never see himself as finished, much less vanquished.

Yet this is same the man who saw nothing wrong when for ten years his cast a long shadow over a sitting president, hogging all the attention as every human being looked up to him as the real embodiment of the future.

This is not only an affront to smooth succession, it also is an affront to civility and decency.

While we brace ourselves for the chaotic succession coming our way, we can at least take solace in watching a man who is used to power all of a sudden become helpless all because he never wanted to defy the forces of nature.


Read this week's paper