One Country Or Two?

He also railed against divisive tribal practices, which would militate against the creation of a State where everyone was in harmony with each other. (Seretse Khama in 1975). That was Seretse’s reaction to the revival of bogwera by the Bakgatla.

His fear then was not born out. But it most certainly is today. Events are moving very fast so that, I for one need to pause and take stock.

Instead of a straightforward personality conflict, as at first portrayed, we now have what seems to be a carefully prepared and orchestrated plan to unseat President Masisi by dividing the Cabinet, the party and the country.

But how is this intended to work out? Get rid of the current President and a new one must replace him, ex-president SKI, his brother, Tshekedi or someone else already agreed upon? But clearly this could not be achieved without dividing the party with the probability that contesting the next election would be the Democratic Party Mark 1 and Mark 2, the one led by the new President and the other by the recently displaced President.

This could happen if the Masisi loyalists refused to lie down and be trampled on. But what might happen if the ex-president fails in his attempt to displace the current one? What options would then be left to him? One would be for the Bangwato to secede and to create a new, independent State. The idea might be set aside as ridiculous but it is only commonsense to try and work out where this mess might be taking us. With Orapa and Letlhakane a Khamastan might just be viable. With Bobirwa and the Tswapong it would have a shared border with South Africa as well as with Zimbabwe.

Were those two areas to remain as part of the present country, the new state, even with its section of the railway line, would be precariously isolated. Without water, it could not possibly survive. The same would probably be true of the rest of the country. Everything then would hinge on the new dams in the North East and in the Bobirwa/Mmadinare/Phikwe area and which part of the country would gain control of them.

That said, it would be the North South pipeline, which would probably determine the outcome of such a divide. Cut the pipeline at Mookane and the south would have water only from Molatedi and the Gaborone, Bokaa and Lobatse dams. It would not be enough. Compromise could become necessary when it is fully understood that the one part of the country could not survive without the other.

Gamangwatoland may now resent the way that it is being treated by the rest of the country, which in turn may resent being bossed around as if the country and its Presidency is a personal possession. Such a situation would not have arisen if there had been a different kind of colonial history and a genuine Tswana state had emerged without the Kgalagadi and without Bokalaka.

It didn’t happen that way and it is certainly my impression that the British Administration was always aware of the dangers of a one tribal group dominated State.

What might now happen? It has been repeatedly stated by well-informed commentators that for the ex-president and his substantial following there can be no compromise, no backing off. It seems obvious that the same factors apply to President Masisi and his numerous backers.  It must also be obvious that this is a ‘war’, which can only be won by destroying the country. Sadly, it does seem that one party to this conflict is ready, Samson like, to accept this outcome so long as he emerges the winner.

Defeat would be a personal humiliation. But which of the two elements would secure control of the BDF, the DIS and the DCEC? A recent report suggested that the staff members of the DIS have divided loyalties.

(The Gazette 22.8) Possibly the same is true of both the BDF and the DCEC. Those loyalties will remain the same whichever element comes out on top. And that possibility must be extremely alarming for anyone who marvels at what we are doing to each other and why?

Can all this stem from the government’s rejection of the ex-president’s choice of Personal Secretary and his rejection of the candidates proposed for him? Is there anything, which debars him from directly employing Rre Kgosi? It would of course be expensive but all his generous Benefits and Gifts were, I believe, tax free. Can so much stem from so little? And what about the supposed broken promise or promises?

In the circumstances, should anyone sensibly demand promises from a successor? And would a successor always be in a position to fulfill them? I can think of only one precedent and that, whilst long ago, provides no cheer. Harold Godwinson supposedly promised Duke William of Normandy on oath that he would be the next King of England. 

Harold reneged on the promise and crowned himself King. William invaded and in 1066, defeated and killed Harold, crowned himself King and subjugated the entire country. Many of his thousand-year-old military bases have survived to this day in some form or another, The probable moral? Ask for an unrealistic promise and then have it broken can prove to be catastrophic. That’s where we are now.


Editor's Comment
Seamless Business Environment Needed Post-COVID

The country was also classified as the least corrupt in the world with strong anti-graft checks and balances. With these assurances, investors were guaranteed safety on their investments and returns. That is no longer the case. Several countries like Namibia, South Africa and Mauritius have done well over the years and overtaken Botswana as attractive places to do business.Therefore, when countries that Botswana is competing with for a piece of...

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