Mmegi Blogs :: Up, Down or Where It was Before?
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Thursday 13 December 2018, 12:33 pm.
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Up, Down or Where It was Before?

Itís been quite a week although for me three events take precedence. First the Grand Tour with the Patriot stating that it had already encompassed 22 settlements with many more still to be visited.
By Sandy Grant Mon 12 Feb 2018, 17:08 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Blogs :: Up, Down or Where It was Before?








I blundered last week in suggesting that neither of the two ex-Presidents could have undertaken such tours. My apologies.

There have now been at least four newspaper comments insisting that people, without qualification, must be free to give the President anything they want.

And then came the hitch with Assistant Minister Kefentse Mzwinila giving the President a toy gun which demonstrated that gift giving has to be, after all, qualified, the gun being regarded as one which was inappropriate and apparently ill received. Other questions which needed to be asked about the Grand Tour were pushed aside.

The Water Utilities Corporation, not at its best in recent weeks, announced that it was cutting supplies to all its customers who are in arrears. Self-evidently this meant that every single one of its customers would have their taps turned off because the WUC has an arrears payment system rather than one which is up front! The government, in one or another emanation, owes 40% of the P850,000 owed to it but the WUC has had these huge debts sitting in its lap for maybe 12-15 years without attempting to do anything about it.

The WUC should first tackle these really big offenders, charging them an additional 10% a year, and then work slowly downwards. Government Ministries, Departments and Institutions are likely to claim that they are unable to pay because no budgetary provision has been made.

The WUC should then take the whole lot to court and get the issue sorted out once and for all.  But this wasn’t the only mess. The Gabs City Council decided to take immediate action against all its vendors. Reports on the issue revealed an unholy mess with neither the Council nor the vendors having much clue about what was actually happening. A communications failure was, as usual, one of the problems involved but it was also obvious that the Council has exercised non-existent management supervision for years past. It needs to recognise how much it has itself contributed to the problem it now seeks to bring under control. It should think again.

The Swedish Grippen fighter jets were again in the news with the Minister of Finance confirming that they will be purchased whilst the Guardian suggested that the Swedish Government was, after all, wobbling.

It has been a disturbing feature of this authoritarian democracy that the government over the years will not back down, compromise or adjust regardless of the degree of public unease

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as with the really major issues such as the DIS and the EVMs. Ndaba Gaoalathe’s aspirational speech, as reported in the Patriot, was of much obvious interest but it might have been of greater value if it had also reproduced the new Policy itself. We could then have got the correct context. Right now, however, the Alliance does have the field almost to itself with both the UDC and the BDP pre-occupied with their own affairs. The Alliance now has a rare opportunity to make an impact with the voting public.

The BDP is in a bind of its own making. If it is obligated to affirm that the last ten years have been hugely successful, it has no option but to continue on the same path.

But by doing so, it will give the opposition the freedom to lambast it for the policies and practices that it has endorsed but which the voting public may have most resented.

Working towards the next election, the division between those who advocate more of the same and those who insist on change will never have been so obvious. But so much hinges on the Grand Tour. Clearly this is a remarkable national coming together although the emergence into the open of an exceptionally wealthy part of the populace vividly demonstrating the yawning gap between rich and poor.

 For the BDP the tour presents it with a peculiar range of problems.

If it is wholly personalised which it obviously is, the party is inevitably left in the shade. But if it is essentially a BDP triumph, the President’s role and personality is immediately reduced? Having been brought in to save the BDP, the President may, in fact, have played its last card. As his profile is raised so that of the party either remains static or sinks downwards.

This does not mean that the opposition will win the next election. But it will mean that a BDP victory will give us a government which is ham strung by its past.

Having brought in a super-sized figure, the party gained 10 years in which to sort itself out. It will soon be obliged to assess whether those last ten years have left it in better shape, with no meaningful change or worse off? If the first, it will be in great shape to sweep the election. If it the latter two, it will be difficult to know what it can do next?

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