Mmegi Online :: Khama still has time
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Friday 16 November 2018, 13:42 pm.
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Khama still has time

This afternoon, as he gives his State of the Nation Address for 2014, it can be safely assumed that President Ian Khama will stick to the well-beaten and thus, comfortable path of previous such speeches.
By Mmegi Editor Thu 13 Nov 2014, 11:14 am (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Khama still has time








As per tradition, he will doff his hat off to Parliament, before moving to issues of governance and how splendidly the country is performing before going to the assessments of sectoral performances. In conclusion, he will perhaps recite or touch on a biblical note of hope and exhort Batswana to unite in pursuit of more inclusive development. While such an approach is generally acceptable if not hackneyed, it has worked in the past and will have some positive impact today and in future.

However, Khama would do much better if he used today’s address to confront the elephant in the room; the question of what his legacy will be as he enters his second and final constitutional term as president. Where Mogae is famous for the successful and epic battle against HIV/AIDS and the beneficiation of local diamonds, it may be argued that Khama’s legacy is yet to crystallise.

In his inaugural address in April 2008, Khama introduced hopeful Batswana to the four Ds, which many immediately latched onto as indicative of his policy bedrock and thus his legacy. However, in implementation, Khama has generally continued his predecessor’s policies – wrong or right. Where he has introduced his own, a number of them have either been piecemeal, transitory, populist, unsustainable or poor. The Ipelegeng and backyard gardening projects for instance attract most of the above criticisms, while the poverty eradication drive has been hamstrung by the absence of supporting legislation or statute ensuring its longevity after Khama departs office. The President’s policies have been sharply and repeatedly criticised, such as the

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introduction and subsequent escalation of the alcohol levy, amid revelations of its lax management.

However, Khama still has time – just over three years until April 2018 to establish his legacy. As a start, he should revisit the policies he first articulated prior to ascending to the presidency. At that time, Khama championed the Botswana Excellence Strategy, which promised “to diversify the economy to ensure that Batswana continue to enjoy the fruits of sustained economic growth post depletion of minerals”. As Vice President, Khama was in charge of government business and his mandate generally revolved around the economy. We humbly suggest that Khama’s legacy could be the economy. Indeed, much needs to be done on the economic front, where power stations and general service delivery are dysfunctional, competitiveness is waning, business is still dependent on public procurement and the general citizenry remains spectators in deciding their destiny. His legacy could also be the fight against corruption, which has grown under his tenure, apparently fortified by the lack of aggressive prosecution.

                                                  Today's Thought

"It is true that we live in challenging times, but so too did the generations who came before us. Thanks to them we today share a nation whose socio-economic progress over the past five decades has been second to none."

                                        President Ian Khama, SONA 2013

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