Sunday, May 9, 2021

Wanted: a president who can reconstruct Botswana’s image!

As July approaches, all eyes are set on the Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) elective congress, in particular, the high profile contest for the position of the Chairperson underscoring a view that the winner of the tetchy contest for this position will affect Botswana future in many ways. While the opposition parties will also elect their leaders, theirs are more of a lonely rigmarole and an act of emotional triumphalism for perennial under-achievers. At the BDP, stakes are high not less because the heir to the ultimate throne who happens to be the current Vice President is in the race ostensibly to occupy this position and become the undisputed state presidentÔÇôelect. This is a grotesque prospect I loathe with my all. I cannot just imagine His Honour Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi succeeding President Khama.

More than being a cruel order of succession to the Botswana presidency, it would make Botswana a butt of jokes. You do not retire a failure and bring in an insolvent clown as a replacement. Until 2008, Botswana was relatively prospering in every sense of the word, under a fairly rational leadership that was alert to the dynamics of the external environment and well alive to her limitations that continue to frustrate her accomplishments. Fast forward to 2015 and you get a completely frightening picture of a Botswana that is in the hands of a very deceitful and self-seeking political leadership that is only good at muddling through like evolving creatures.

Under President Khama Botswana has become a failed state of repute and there is not the slightest hope that there can be any positive changes while he is still in charge directly or through his chained proxies. In effect, this means that there is need for a radical departure from the current mode of operation and breed of leadership and this invariably entails defiant restoration of the Botswana state crowned with a virtual ejection of President Khama’s agents. Equally, important, this demands that our state institutions be re-oriented so that they are cleansed of President Khama’s poisonous influence.

Thus, Botswana needs a fresh start devoid of President Khama’s infectious habits and behaviours including his political pupils such as Mr Masisi which is why Vice President Masisi should never be chanced. Mindful that while the safest way for Botswana is to banish the BDP, the party can still rule for many more decades and it is reasonable to appeal to the BDP members to give Batswana a better leader. Logically, the BDP Chairman’s position stands as the first port of call to block VP Masisi’s accession. Admittedly, His Honour Vice President Mr Masisi is a President Khama famed pupil, a showman, a self-professed, loud-mouthed unashamed bootlicker. Over the years Mr Masisi has worked hard to placate President Khama with embarrassing confessions that made him a sophisticated and versatile tea boy.

In the process, Mr Masisi stopped being himself and became a veritable stooge with no head of its own. His excessive loyalty, profound commitment to parrot President Khama and a determination to excel as a ball boy damaged his reputation as a man capable of independent thought which perhaps explains his campaign theme that is based on the stature his position as VP rather than what he promises to offer to the party once he is the party Chairperson.

In effect, VP Masisi want to be propelled to the position of party Chairman not because he has what it takes to inspire the party and the nation at large but simply because he happens to be the Vice President. The BDP must be serious and give Batswana someone who takes leadership role seriously not someone who wants to ride on an insulting sense of entitlement. This implies that without President Khama, Vice President Masisi is as good as a toad especially that he lacks originality and pass more as a faint copy of our esteemed populist President Khama.

Pompous, self-conceited and overly contemptuous, Vice President Masisi has a knack for self-seeking partisan politics that places national interests last in his priority list and a passionate resolve to marginalize everyone who has no association with the BDP. By his own deeds and words, Vice President Masisi appears to be more focused on working for the BDP than the Botswana nation. In short, he is petty and is small-minded leper who rode on President Khama’s charisma. He has no vision for Botswana and would have a psychological disadvantage of being a ‘political orphan’ once his godfather is out of sight.

Thus, the presidency of Mr Masisi would mean retention of President Khama’s philosophy and thus, a consolidation of the values that have contributed to our impoverished public discourse. It will be a consolidation of the principles that reject accountability usually by deflecting attention away from topical issues and onto momentary pleasures such as serving soup and handing out blankets to needy members of our society, often interspersed with annoying laughs that are intended to soothe the poor man’s hunger pangs. That said, Vice President Masisi would never be the right person for the huge task of reconstructing Botswana’s image for posterity because he is a President Khama’s prot├®g├®, a peeping sergeant with no identity of his own.

Thus, he is an obvious risk, a tried and tested liability whose only contribution would be to accelerate Botswana’s looming demise. Botswana needs someone with requisite leadership skills to mend broken relations and build new relationships with stakeholders locally, continentally and globally. The other contenders carry no much clout whatsoever and Botswana would be better off without them as much as without Vice President Masisi as our next state president.

However, these others are not much a concern for while they are part of the equation for the key position of party chairperson, they are mere pretenders to the throne and their contribution extends as far as legitimizing the winner. Botswana needs a fresh face, a political apprentice for the state presidency. Under the present circumstances and bearing in mind that the current state of affairs stems from a profound passion for partisan politics that sought, first and foremost, to build a formidable party (BDP) rather than propel Botswana to greater heights, the future Botswana President should be someone who is more a Motswana than a BDP and they are very few of this kind in the BDP family. Nonetheless, the Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Mr Eric Molale to some extent fits this description. He is a trainee BDP at least in matters of freedom square politics. He is still learning how to ‘jack’ and identify more with the BDP and less with the only country he has got. In short, he is yet to be wholly corrupted by the BDP politics of greed.

Minister Molale has fewer traces of President Khama’s bad traits and therefore he is not a Khama-camouflage. While he has, like all of us, his own baggage, he is not a demagogue and not yet a political clown born out of extreme loyalty to President Khama. He is still more a Motswana than a BDP and is thus likely to be more interested in creating conditions that are favourable to national development than focusing more on parochial party interests. Honourable Minister Molale has enormous experience in the operations of government accumulated over the many years as a top civil servant. Thus, VP Masisi’s loss at the BDP congress would be a boon to Minister Molale and Batswana under the BDP rule.

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