Sunday, September 20, 2020

We cannot detach emotions from Constitutional Review debate

If you asked me whether Gomolemo Motswaledi’s maiden court case against Ian Khama has got any influence on my high pitched call for the review of our Constitution I would look you straight in the eye and, without a flinch, say yes. Again, if you asked me whether Ian Khama’s rule irks me so much so that I cannot wait to have the Constitution re-written, my answer would be in the affirmative. I can also confirm that I get emotional when it comes to the Constitutional review debate and that is simply because I cannot avoid the emotions that come with this hot potato. Afterall, emotion is described as any of the strong feelings of the human spirit. I am a spirited human being with strong feelings towards an urgent need to panel beat our dented constitution. Our leaders make emotional decisions that erode our civil liberties and there is no how we, the receivers, can avoid the emotionalism attached to the constitution and where it places us the ordinary mortals.

It is no secret that Ian Khama’s presidency has helped a lot in exposing the defects in our constitution.
Perhaps we should thank Khama for were it not for his strict, and more often unwarranted adherence to our sick constitution, many of us would still be in deep slumber. Khama has gone on record as saying he did not make our constitution only he is relying on what he found when he took over. Nothing can be more true and that is all the reason we have to be grateful to him for showing us that what his father and a lot of other old timers crafted way back as our constitution, has a lot of loopholes that pose a serious danger to us as a nation.

We would be playing fool-hardy to even think of our country as a shining example of democracy anymore. Khama’s reign has reduced us to the most boring, embarrassing, inhospitable and scary country ever. Because our silly constitution allows for it, now Khama leads us like a kindergarten mistress would to a bunch of kids with shallow brains. It is this rotten constitution that gives Khama the leeway to lead us as though we are hooligans who should never be allowed to come together to socialize and be merry. Gone are the days when you could freely visit friends and have a good time over a few drinks. Because Khama abhors alcohol, not only are we not allowed to drink it but it has also become illegal to even smell of alcohol. Before Ian Khama’s presidency the Police reserved all their energies in the Stop and Search exercise which yielded good results. Back then only suspicious pedestrians who walked at night were stopped, asked a few questions and searched without being shot or harassed.

Nowadays, just because Ian Khama doesn’t like alcohol and the constitution makes it right for him to impose his lifestyle on us, the Police have shifted gear from crime prevention to alcohol prevention. The Ministry of Trade and Industry has all of a sudden dedicated a good part of their budget into anti-alcohol advertisements as if that is all their mandate calls for. Just this past weekend there was a Christmas party at my work place and I happened to have been invited for another festive do just across the border.

It should be obvious to you as to which of the two gigs saw my presence. It is painful that we have to travel to foreign countries to have peaceful fun. I am told this year’s Christmas party at work did not record good numbers of staff attendance all thanks to Khama and his disdain for alcohol. Staff members could not attend a party organized to thank them for their year long sweat and toil and this was because the police had vowed to mount roadblocks and perform random sobriety checks on motorists. With our party held in the outskirts of Gaborone and a police road mounted right on the mouth of the venue, many feared for their licenses and decided to stay behind. Afterall you do not expect me to hitch hike to a party when my hard earned car sits idle in the drive way at home.

Everyone who invites me to a party know very well they are not inviting Ian Khama and as such, for me a party without a few alcoholic beverages is a waste of time. I take alcohol yet I am not an alcoholic. I drink alcohol and still manage to pay my bills and take care of my family. Now if our constitution was democratic enough, Ian Khama would understand that there is nothing wrong with him preferring a Fanta Orange while I go for Windhoek Lager. Life is all about different people with different tastes and choices and good democracies embrace that. It is completely wrong for Khama to want Batswana to behave towards him like kids would to their father. To some of us he is just mandated to lead us and his leadership style should be determined and dictated by our tastes and choices, not his sole preferences.

The constitution must be crafted in such a way that would make a president to be accountable to the nation and not vise versa as is the case right now, or all along. It is not for the president to dictate how I conduct my personal life. If I were to shame the devil and tell the truth, Ian Khama is not my father, let alone a father-figure to me, so I cannot comprehend why I should allow him to tell me when to sleep and what not to drink. It’s a pity that Mogae fought and dedicated much of his time on the war against the disease which was threatening to wipe out the entire nation while Khama is fighting foot and nail to end alcohol consumption and in the process disregarding our individual choices and civil liberties just because the constitution is an open cheque to him.

I strongly believe that even a hardened witch must have felt sorry for Motswaledi at the way in which he was ill-treated in the process that brought an abrupt end to his otherwise blossoming political career. Because our oppressive constitution allows the president to mete out his personal anger on anyone without the intervention of Courts of law, Motswaledi has been booted out of the party, not because he did anything wrong but allegedly for posing a threat to Khama’s succession plan with his insurmountable admiration by the public. Apparently Motswaledi’s sin was merely to be a people’s person who was bound to be elected BDP president in the near future, thus rendering Khama insomniac.

Those big bellied representatives at parliament ought to know that there is no how we could have called for the review of the constitution were it not for their president, ok, our president’s way of interpreting and applying the constitution. I therefore urge them to stop harassing those who want the constitution reviewed because it is only now that we realize what a farce our constitution is. As much as I have no reason to hate Khama, I believe those MP’s who are advocating for the review have nothing personal against Khama because afterall, it is not all about Khama but the country and the nation. I have said it before, I and Khama are going to die at some point but the country and its nation shall continue to exist. Again, I find nothing wrong in bluntly declaring that we want the constitution reviewed so as to keep Khama on the leash. If ever there was a president who legally terrorized his people it is Ian Khama and for as long as the constitution remains in it’s current form, there is no way we can legitimately blame him and for now my only solace remains with the brave MP’s who I hope will not be intimidated by the scolding from Khama’s lieutenants at parliament.

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Sunday Standard September 20 – 26

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 20 - 26, 2020.