Tuesday, August 11, 2020

With opposition in disarray, victory has become an easy shoo-in for Masisi

The crumbling opposition has by far become the biggest prop for the governing Botswana Democratic Party.
Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi who will be ascending the presidency early next near year will now have no reason not to focus one area that the country needs attention on; the economy.
With official opposition now on a deathbed, and all distractions swept by the wayside, Masisi can confidently climb down the high horse of politics and concentrate on creating jobs, fighting corruption ÔÇô including by the way from his inner circle and even mend Botswana’s international image which the current President has done so much to obliterate beyond recognition.
Regionally and in an ever growing pace, far afield, Botswana has fast descended into an international pariah. The circus into which attempts by foreign minister Pelonomi Venson quickly became when she tried to become Chairman of the African Union Commission, should be a quick reminder to Masisi of the strong focus he would need to invest on international relations.
The chaos that recently befell Botswana as a result of ill informed, and thankfully aborted decision to welcome the Dalai Lama of Tibet here remains vivid.
That decision will for long be a lightning rod of what promises to be stormy relations with China going forward.
Unsustainably high levels of unemployment and joblessness especially among young people that have made these youth so susceptible to be rented out for all kinds of ill pursuits, including, sadly, political thuggery by both opposition and the ruling party alike should give Masisi sleepless nights.
Our unemployment levels are not only scary, they have all the ingredients that make a civil war a reality.
A celebrated American General, James Mattis, now Secretary of Defence once told his civilian masters, “If you spend less on diplomacy, then I need to buy more ammunition.” He was painfully correct.
This in a way is what has been happening in Botswana.
Because the government is spending so much less on creating jobs, then they are bizarrely right after all to be spending so much more on weapons and arming an intelligence services that terrorizes its own people.
The bigger story however  for now remains opposition.
It is  a story of incompetence, lethargy, indolence, ineptitude and absolute failure.
Since 2014, we were told opposition, in whatever derivative was destined to take power in 2019.
Instead of working at that, they spent more time not working at winning that power, but rather at plotting among themselves at how they would divide positions and the spoils among themselves once in power.
Quite shamelessly, some of them are reported to have already gone abroad to make deals with international capital in return for offers once in power.
A coalition that had been painstakingly put together by selfless people almost all of who had no direct interest in laying their hands on power has overnight been torn asunder by a small cluster of political journeymen with no inkling of what public duty means other than use of politics for self-enrichment.
This disintegration of opposition has no doubt caused distress among the well meaning multitudes of goodwill who were told and believed a change of Government would bring better things.
The vehicle that was supposed to be used for that change of power has now become dysfunctional, irredeemably so, one might add.
This has of cause mortified many people who had wanted to give opposition a chance at the wheels of power.
Ahead of the 2014 General Elections opposition prided itself about talking more about creating jobs for the young people, fighting corruption, improving worker’ conditions and overhauling the country’s collapsed education system.
Now in total disarray, that same opposition does not talk anymore about those issues.
Rather, more and more time is spent planning against one another within the same opposition ranks.
Gossip rather than public policy pronouncements now occupies centre stage.
If they are not busy with gossip, time is wasted fighting those in the media who dare to hold them accountable.
In a very sad way the opposition has become a shadowy of their pre-2014 self.
For a majority of opposition Members of Parliament, acceptance that prospects for a change of Government has been squandered by their own leaders has been painful enough.
They know so well that they will not only be expected to take a full share of responsibility for a squandered revolution, but also that they will be among the chief casualties.
This week one of them, Isaac Davids jumped ship.
In despair he joined the ruling party ranks.
Prior to his defection, Davids had for months been asking for a meeting with his political leaders.
But they were too busy for him.
Only God knows what they were busy doing.
Distressing as that might sound, even then, that is only just half the story.
The story can only be complete if one begins to talk about an already widespread sense of betrayal that the public is feeling.
Whatever the excuse they might proffer ÔÇô and already there are many such excuses and indeed scapegoats, the opposition, by whatever name they prefer to call themselves know that they have let this nation down. What they have done is unpardonable. If they cannot run their affairs as a party in opposition, how then can they be trusted to run a country and government!
For now they are crafting their skills at becoming masters of the blame game.
Some of us in the media are top there as targets for the ensuing blame game.
The truth though is that opposition was given too much benefit of doubt than they could have deserved.
Much of the trust we gave them, they had not earned.
Their mistake was to think such goodwill was unconditional or infinite.



Read this week's paper

Sunday Standard August 9 – 15

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of August 9 - 15, 2020.