Mmegi Blogs :: PHK: ‘Let the people speak’
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PHK: ‘Let the people speak’

In many of my writings on this column, there is one political character that I have not attempted to discuss even though he has been for many years a prominent figure in the political landscape of Botswana.
By Richard Moleofe Fri 28 Nov 2014, 18:02 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Blogs :: PHK: ‘Let the people speak’








That is a man many in this beloved country love to refer to only as PHK. A tower of  a man and a figure you cannot miss amongst the crowds. Kedikilwe is both a tower of a man in the literal sense and a lot in a figurative way. I did not own the tenacity to write about such a colossal figure until I found the residue of his debating remains in parliament on a hot topic of discussion. And he has certainly left an enviable legacy both within the BDP and beyond the party he served with passion.

In my previous column I discussed the issue of special nomination of councillors and I have received an amazing volume of feedback from many of my readers and was challenged to research this topic further. I stumbled upon a copy of a parliamentary hansad in which Hon Kedikilwe tabled a motion which sought the abolition of the system of specially nominated councillors. I found this to be an interesting piece of presentation, not only because I seem to agree with the idea, but was mesmerised by the tone and content of the language applied there in. 

When I read through Hon Kedikilwe’s presentation, I often burst into periodic laughter because of the manner in which he applies his language to the subject matter of the debate. This man is an orator by the gifting of the Creator, and worse than that he is a professor in linguistics. In his presentation to parliament, he clearly defines his thesis. He states; “Let the people speak” and does not deviate from this to the very end. He spices his speech with periodic Latin punctuations and also goes on to say in Setswana, “Lentswe la batho le utlwale.”  He further states that; “The voice of the people being the voice of God.” He did this with great emphasis and passion.

However, Hon Kedikilwe made a dangerous U-turn on a political highway by suddenly abandoning the motion by way of withdrawal. And why withdraw such a motion when certainly God and the people were behind it according to his initial assertion when he introduced the motion? Certainly something happened. With my military experience I could say the honourable MP clearly lost communication contact with his Creator and the very people that he purported to represent. In simple military terms, he experienced some electronic jamming with which he was left with no other sensible option but to abandon the mission before reaching the objective. Certainly the jamming originated from the BDF Headquarters; I back your pardon, BDP Head Office.

I was raised in the era of radio and one of the good things about this gadget is that it sharpens your imagination because it only projects voice. But let us imagine a situation where PHK’s motion went through, the playing field would be totally different from what it is now.

Let us face it, the ruling party is unduly benefiting from this system. That is how unfair democracy can be. Out of the 113 places available, the ruling party appointed 110 of their own. And as if that was not enough, they immediately changed the rules to add an extra six of their own. I am not vested in the area of law and I would like to give my opinion on this, subject to correction, that the right procedure would have been to publish these amendments in the Government Gazzette before this hasty implementation. As I read Laws of Botswana, Cap 40:02 Sec 6 (3)

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b, it becomes apparent to an unlearned mind such as mine that the increase was legally flawed. Let me leave this to learned minds to delve upon.

I am still of the opinion that the system was originally intended for a good purpose and therefore should be reformed rather than abolished. This will entirely be upon the ruling party as they hold the majority in parliament. What the will of the people is on this matter is that the system should not be for the benefit of a single party but must be allowed to freely flow across party lines.

Proportional representation is not part of the makeup of our democratic order but if we allow ourselves to be progressive and permit our country to have a hybrid system, it could be allowed here on the special nomination of councillors.

When you visit Gaborone City Council Town Hall (not City Hall because it has never been upgraded since Gaborone reached the city status in 1986), there is a plague that notices all the names of the first councillors of Gaborone. The three specially nominated councillors were Rev Samuel Makgaola Snr, Rev Geoffrey Mogome and Rev Jones of the UCCSA. It was imperative that the new government of independent Botswana recognise the importance of setting up a council which was inclusive of the clergy as representatives of the church. Be mindful of the fact that before independence the entire health and education infrastructure was run solely by churches. Examples are Moeding College, Debra Hospital( also known as Dibora by the local tribes people), St Joseph’s College and many more are examples that the church had previously been involved in governance. The government of the day was sensible enough to take note of the special skills that the church could provide. The ministers themselves may have not possessed any special qualities, but they represented a cosmopolitan community in their congregations.

Similarly, Hon Kgoroba had nominated someone with skills in dealing with land matters in view of the outstanding land problems in his constituency. The candidate was not taken but rather the ruling party chose to nominate two ladies from the constituency who are not likely to add any value to council debates. The only useful thing they will successfully do is for one to open in prayer at the commencement of the council meeting and for the other to close or offer benediction at the tail end of the debates.

The offices of the District Commissioners around the country had requested the winning MPs to forward names for council nominations. The DCs must now account to both the MPs and the public on what happened there after. In fact this raises the question of why civil servants are actively involved in doing political appointments. They will certainly soil their hands and tarnish their image if they allow themselves to continue to be used as conduits of a political outcome which they definitely have no effective role in shaping the results thereof.

At the end, it clearly shows that as according to Hon Kedikilwe, the voice of the people was never allowed to be heard as he was shepherded away by his own party from perusing this noble parliamentary motion which would clearly represent God’s wish and that of his people. In the end when Hon Kedikilwe stood down his motion because of the internal pressures from his own party, he should have known at the time that he was undermining the Creator and his people.

*Richard Moleofe is a

Retired Military Officer

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