Mmegi Blogs :: There is no Choice - We Must Give Him a Chance
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Friday 21 September 2018, 15:09 pm.
There is no Choice - We Must Give Him a Chance

The last ten years as a de facto experimental executive monarchy has now come to an end. It may be open to question as to whether it was explicitly agreed that such a major constitutional experiment should have been made.
By Sandy Grant Mon 09 Apr 2018, 17:59 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Blogs :: There is no Choice - We Must Give Him a Chance

But given the personal background of the now ex-President, which was known to everyone, it cannot be claimed that the country’s ten-year experiment occurred without its awareness and concurrence. Perhaps it could also be claimed that the experiment was no more than a development of the role of the Dikgosi in the pre-Independence years.

 Otherwise it may be suggested that the country walked knowingly into this entirely new situation in order to usher in a new dawn or to obliterate the supposedly disastrous years of the Mogae tenure.

But now we are getting the varied assessments of that ten-year reign.

There have been the two hardline viewpoints, that the reign has been a marvellous success and the other that it has been a total disaster.

In between, there have been the fudges, that the past incumbent was a very good President who did some bad things and bad President who did some good things - with one or two commentators holding on to both views simultaneously.

There seems to be general agreement, however, that corruption has increased exponentially during these ten years, that personal accountability has dramatically slipped – perhaps a characteristic of an executive monarchy -  that the country is disillusioned, and its self-respect hugely reduced. 

Some have referred to his encouragement of the arts (excluding craft) and the considerable success of his housing appeal. Some have referred to the devastating strike by the unions and his punitive reaction to it.

Some have referred to the astonishing and baffling Motumise affair, to the ripple spread of self-advancement, to the unrelenting personal exposure and to the closure of the BCL Mine. Others to the fear factor and the ever present and listening DIS.

And then there has been the grime and the antagonism with the press. There has been mention of his well publicised fireside chats although it was never made known, at least to me, what they had achieved. There was the polka dancing, the cycle ride to Old Naledi and the quad bike racing.

But the one event which, for me, stood out above everything else was his instruction to the Attorney General to take legal action against the National Assembly over, can you believe it, its seemingly innocuous and uncontroversial method of voting! Am I taking matters too far to find a parallel with the intrusion of King Charles I of England into the House of Commons in 1642 accompanied by armed soldiers, in an attempt to arrest five of its


members? Has there been a precedent anywhere in the modern world for such an action by a Head of State?

Sorry for the English parallels. But now there is a change which, this time around, is being greeted with hope mixed with caution and optimism with real concern. It can hardly be otherwise. So much now depends on his – not anyone else’s - understanding as to what the last ten years of truly Shakespearean tragedy, has done to this country - someone who meant so well.

Is it to be more of the same or a drastic overhaul of the nature and structure of government, of its oversight and security organs and on an insistence on personal integrity and accountability. The issue of land and corrupt Land Boards has to be addressed. MPs must be made responsible not just for those who elected them but to everyone in their constituencies.

Over the last few weeks, we have had press reports of the horrendous, disgraceful condition of two major institutions, the Palapye Hospital and the Shoshong Senior Secondary School, both being in constituencies represented by BDP MPs and Assistant Ministers. How can this be possible? Do those MPs have no responsibility for what goes on in their constituencies or are they powerless to achieve change and improvement?

In that case, why have constituency MPs? Sadly, the disastrous condition of those two institutions is probably replicated elsewhere where the press is yet to visit and report. Presumably the ex-President’s visit to these two constituencies never touched on these two crucially important public needs! And then too, so sadly, there has been BUAN.

What is it that we are doing wrong which heaps one humiliation after another on us – the Gaborone, Francistown and Molepolole stadiums, Morupule, the SSK Airport terminal and so on and so on?  But now we have no less than 27 Ministers and Assistant Ministers in a National Assembly comprising just the 57 elected and the four nominated members. We have to speculate why the year by year increase in the total number of Ministers appears to have coincided with a decrease in effective and proper governance? Is it because the last ten years reduced many of them to them to passive figureheads? 

What do they now bring to turn matters around? So many questions and as yet so few answers. But we have to hope. So much is now in the hands of just one man. 

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