Friday, July 12, 2024

Venson’s last throw of the dice: are the numbers adding up?

It looks like it will go down to the wire, pretty much.

And probably that is a good thing.

Any attempt to settle it by negotiations was misplaced.

It will require an election to settle all the phony noises.

There is no longer any hope of a ceasefire.

In fact the war has to be fought to the end so that there is a clear winner and a clear loser.

The most legitimate of all the groups to try any peace accord were the BDP elders.

The clergy like Bofepusu after them who are now said to be lining up to broker a peace deal between President Mokgweetsi Masisi and former president Ian Khama are nothing more than self-seeking busy bodies that are on an ego trip driven by self-obsession rather than any sense of altruism.

Not only do they lack political legitimacy, but also what lawyers like to fancifully call locus standi.

A negotiated peace deal between Masisi and Khama was always going to be fraught and uneasy, requiring to be nurtured and subjected to the irrational tantrums and all the volatile and irascible instability that we have come to expect from the former president.

It’s impossible to see how any settlement was going to be possible without Masisi submitting himself to the irrational caprices of Ian Khama

As he was going around bidding the nation a goodbye, Khama said something that people took for granted.

He said he was not going anywhere, and that he would be going back to the army.

Many people dismissed that as a joke.

With hindsight, the man was dead serious.

The Americans like to say “one president at a time.” And not without a reason!

We see Khama fighting that there be at least two presidents.

That cannot be.

It would be better for Masisi to lose and then go to his home village than submit to being a junior partner.

The real story in this mess is neither Khama nor Masisi. Rather it is Pelonomi Venson.

We should never rule out a possibility that Venson, a very clever and cunning woman has received a handshake for her to participate in this mess that ion the hand will only cause immense pain and public embarrassment to her name and otherwise distinguished career that is now coming to pitiful end.

Her ongoing attempt to become president is for her the last throw of the dice.

Except for once in her long public service career when she fell foul and got sacked, Venson has otherwise been a true embodiment of fastidiousness.

Her chances do not stand up to any real detached scrutiny.

So far the numbers are not adding up. Possible, others might believe. But I do not see how her path will pan up.

One thing that we should credit Venson for is her boldness.

Of course there is also a possibility of naivety and even revenge in it.

We all know that her relationship with Masisi was never easy.

The situation worsened when a few years ago a clueless Khama put the two at the Ministry of Education following a public backlash over deteriorating standards.

The fight for turf became callous.

Even if she ever had a chance, Venson’s image in the eyes of the public is clouded and complicated by the legacy of Ian Khama.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Masisi often gets confused who between Khama and Venson he is really up against.

The blurry line between Venson and Khama reminds me of the contest between Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton in the primaries for the Democratic Party.

At the height of it all Obama often complained that Hillary’s husband, Bill Clinton was too often speaking and behaving like it was him who was the candidate.

“Honestly, I often get confused who my opponent on the other side is,” Obama grumbled.

Pelonomi Venson has variously been dismissed as a Khama clone, a Khama proxy and perhaps most uncharitably a “mini-Khama,” who would take the party and country back to the much reviled days of isolationism and combative nationalism that eschewed globalism, multilateralism and media freedom.

In more ways than one, the two are similar.

They lack empathy and often appear awkward when outside of their close circle of wealthy friends.

Khama is an electoral liability ÔÇô a real political baggage that in other countries would not be traversing the country making political statements, but sitting in jail. He no longer has any political capital to expend.

Yet bizarrely Venson still treats Khama, her friend like an electoral asset.

Venson would do herself a favour by checking if so far the numbers are adding up.


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