What makes Ian Khama tick
When former President Festus Mogae chose our current head of state to succeed him, it was to close the rift within the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) structures.
This decision to heal the ailing BDP backfired as the Party was not healed but rather resulted in a split which ended with the formation of the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD).
I was among those who were happy with Mogae’s choice of President Seretse Khama Ian Khama as his successor.
I, like Mogae and a few others thought Khama would bring stability to the country as he was an outsider in Botswana politics.
Although I had my reservations about a former army commander leading the country, I thought the country needed a shake up in service delivery and a clamp down on corruption.
Before stepping down, Mogae took the first big step by bringing the late former Debswana Managing Director, Louis Nchindo to face charges of corruption.
All hell broke loose and this act ended in the mysterious death of the diamond magnate.
Slush funds and the like became newspaper headlines. The Botswana of the past where issues were swept under the carpet was no more.
Skeletons came tumbling out of the cupboards and for the first time, the Directorate of Economic Crime and Corruption (DCEC) started investigations into dealings by those at the top.
However, to date, none of the big shots have been prosecuted and judged. It was like dangling sweets at a toddler and expecting the child not to take them.
As Botswana goes to the polls disgruntled BDP members have joined forces with the Botswana National Front (BNF) to form the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).
The death of Gomolemo Motswaledi, President of the BMD dealt a blow to Botswana politics and also ignited an anger in Batswana I have never seen before.
People live in fear. Social media is ablaze and the hatred and bitterness posted is a reflection of what Botswana has become today.
Social media posts cannot determine the results of the coming elections. But one thing for sure, if the BDP wins, it will be by a thread and largely due to the rural voters.
The media has gone viral in their reporting. As the President goes around the country taking a swipe at the media, they are also retaliating. This has resulted in our country, well known for peace becoming a chaotic state.
The animosity between Khama and the media has reached a point of no retreat.
Detaining Outsa Mokone, editor of the Sunday Standard is the straw that broke the camel’s back. The arrest of the editor is contrary to laws pertaining to press freedom.
Whether the Sunday Standard’s story which culminated in the arrest is credible is now besides the point. The question is, how many more journalists will be arrested for articulating their freedom of expression?
Arresting journalists and confiscating their tools of trade is a statement of intimidation.
If the President blasts the media at public meetings how does he expect the media not to retaliate.
Whoever gave the order for Outsa Mokone to be arrested is not Khama’s friend. Whoever it is, wants to see and cause the downfall of the great Khama.
The thing about Khama is that we expected a lot from him.
We are disappointed of how he has plunged our country into darkness, with no light visible at the end of the tunnel.
Khama’s bootlickers makes it difficult to access him. His mistrust of the media makes us wonder what it is he is hiding?
But what makes Khama tick?
How can he be so compassionate and give out blankets, a trend that will earn him votes in the rural areas and dismiss the fourth estate?
Who is giving him this bad advice?
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe must be licking his mouth in anticipation of what will become of our diamond clad Botswana.
He will be the first to say… “we are birds of the same flock, what made you think you are better.”
What is different about Botswana today and Zimbabwe? The arrest of journalists, the torture and killing of opposition party members as well as expulsion of foreigners is what we have in common with Zimbabwe.
With just over five weeks to the elections, Khama must change his spots. He must realize that Botswana is big enough to accommodate him and the media.
He must know that the days of doling blankets to the disadvantaged who are then displayed on the national television are numbered.
Some of us thought that since he was born with a silver spoon he would eradicate corruption.
Unfortunately, we realised a little too late that this was not the case. Corruption has escalated and those chosen powerful few loot as if it is getting out of fashion!