A lot has been said about the legacy or lack thereof of outgoing President Ian Khama.
Last month we advised that the incoming President Mokgweetsi Masisi must not repeat Khama's pitfalls and we reiterate the same counsel today.
Batswana are divided on what it is really that Khama leaves as his legacy. There is no doubt there is not much to talk about as far as Khama’s legacy is concerned except from the arts and cultural perspective.
His critics, especially in the academics and opposition are not hesitant to liken him to brazen dictators such as Robert Mugabe and Mobutu Sese Seko.
He is the man who single-handly killed the entertainment industry through his thoughtless alcohol levy and introduced stringent measures aimed at reducing alcohol abuse against liquor traders.
The poor liquor traders were left counting their losses after Khama enforced rigid shorter trading hours for liquor outlets and nightclubs.
This is because he blamed alcohol for lack of discipline by some sections of the community, hence he declared a total jihad against alcohol.
It is common cause that Kgalagadi Breweries Limited (KBL) and Botswana Breweries Limited (BBL) continue to retrench hundreds of workers and close some depots around the country.
The effects of Khama’s holy war against their intoxicating legal products have immensely affected their profits. hence they continue to produce sluggish results every year.
During his 10 years in power, he also killed the spirit of self-reliance by creating dependency programmes through handouts. Khama created a society of beggars.
Not only did KBL and BBL hit a slump during
That is the legacy he has left for this former small copper-nickel mining town. The ripple effects of closing BCL and Tati Nickel Mines are still profound today.
On the health and education front, there is nothing to write home about. Catastrophic best describes the recent performance results of our public schools released every year.
Even the government agrees that the standard of education in the country is catastrophic. What they do not want to say openly is that this is the legacy of bibliophobic President Khama. If Masisi also hates books, he must not openly declare that in public. We do not wish our students to be influenced to hate books by another Head of State.
On the other note, we appeal to Masisi to open avenues to work with the media. The media plays a crucial role in Botswana’s democracy.
Trying to kill the private media is akin to muzzling the growth of our democracy. It is Masisi’s chance to enhance our democracy by listening to even his critics. Go tsile go nna monate!
“Democracy is not an event, but a process. Through participation people create, enrich and define their democratic moment and direction!”
– Michael Kitso Dingake