Former president Ian Khama was last week given extensive coverage by the regional media powerhouses enroute to India.
He was on his way to honour an invitation from the Central Tibetan Administration to officiate at the 60th National Uprising Day in Dharamshala, India.
During a stop over at Oliver Tambo International Airport, he had a chance to field questions from the media. We think what he said during the rare media briefing were unpatriotic to say the least. Even his visit to the Dalai Lama when he knows Botswana’s One-China foreign policy was out of order and unpatriotic.
We will demonstrate why we say he was unpatriotic. Patriotism was the hallmark of his presidency for 10 years. Here we reproduce his speech in Parliament in 2009. “Our consistent standing in the community of nations amongst the world’s most stable democracies has been nurtured by our own devotion to our country and the underlying values that have long sustained it. These include our traditions of tolerance, consultation, and respect for each other and the rule of law.
“As citizens of a republic we are united by our patriotism. In its historic derivation, the word ‘patriot’ is associated with ties of family, as well as territory. As with members of a family, patriots through the ages have been joined not only in their loyalty to a motherland or fatherland, but by their collective obligation to the welfare of fellow citizens. This is an ideal that is consistent with our deepest traditions and values as Batswana.
“Let us here recognise that while the nation can be united in
Khama never shied away from throwing the word patriotism to rebuke critics especially opposition parties, Botswana Democratic Party factions, the media and the labour movement. To him at the time, divergence of views meant lack of patriotism. We submit that Khama cannot throw the whole country under the bus because of his grievances with President Mokgweetsi Masisi. That is uncalled for. He cannot go to a friendly neighbour like South Africa and harm the image of Botswana. It was unpatriotic to do such a thing.
To make matter worse, he threw in the mix the name of the Namibian President. In his feud with Masisi, Khama is throwing out the baby with the bath water. The country is worried about this feud, but we never thought that ‘Mr Patriot’ will drag the country’s name in the mud. He has to be censured before it is too late.
“It is only through labour and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.”
– Theodore Roosevelt