Khama’s five Ds: A flop

Khama
Khama

Upon assuming office in 2008, President Ian Khama introduced his roadmap hinged upon the five Ds-Democracy, Discipline, Dignity and Development, with the fifth D for Delivery introduced a year later after Botswana’s 10th general elections. Mmegi Staff Writer RYDER GABATHUSE writes that Khama’s roadmap, which was apparently his pointers of delivery meant to guide his term of office, has failed to deliver the desired results.

When President Khama took over the reigns of power in 2008, he promised to continue the democratic tradition of Botswana by allowing the country to continue existing as a shining example of democracy. He promised that he would not change much in terms of the national vision.

There was a lot of hype about Khama’s Five Ds in the early days of his term. But the hype has died away leaving many questions about the viability of the roadmap even before the President’s term ends in 2018. When he was the vice president with former president Festus Mogae as his principal, Khama raised the bar of government projects implementation and supervision.

He kept the civil servants on their toes ensuring that there was delivery of service across the government sectors and parastatals. He broke bureaucratic hurdles and ignored laid down protocols to ensure that the bar of service delivery was kept high.


In addition to delivery, Khama’s areas of emphasis included strengthening the scope and productivity of the agricultural sector and investment levels therein; human resource development; greater use of ICT to propel Botswana into a knowledge-driven economy and as a key engine for economic diversification.

He also ensured that job creation and poverty alleviation were the outcome of the government’s investment initiatives in the various sectors of the economy; advocating mindset change as imperative to improving the nations work ethic, productivity and service delivery; and greater exploitation of empowerment schemes and opportunities for the youth.

Khama was time conscious and focused. Across the civil service he became feared as his action(s) encouraged prompt action as he was equally probing, especially to those who failed to account for their failure to deliver.

Khama visited any office or service point unannounced and this approach kept service providers on their toes instead of resting on their laurels for fear that they may be caught off guard and possibly suffer the consequences.

Since Khama ascended to the highest office in the land, his story of service delivery emphasis has changed. He has a penchant for initiating schemes and programmes that appear good on paper but unfortunately fail to bear the desired results.

Commentators are adamant that they long saw the collapse of the Khama roadmap as he simply set his eyes on smaller projects like backyard gardens when the picture of the country’s challenges was far much bigger and more complex than that.

Gaborone-based political commentator, Anthony Morima acknowledges that when Khama took over the reigns, he rightfully stated his line of delivery and unfortunately he focused on projects that were not sustainable.

 

Delivery

Morima is not convinced that Khama as the state President has really delivered as promised. He is convinced that Khama is vacating his office in 2018 leaving a trail of failures behind.

He acknowledges that when Khama was the VP, he delivered but only for him to collapse later on.

“As the VP, Khama pushed projects and he shook the civil service in particular as his approach was not straight forward. He would rather have surprise visits than make formal appointments which kept them on their toes,” he says.

He is adamant that Khama has failed to deliver and in the process rendering Botswana a failing nation. He says after failing to deliver in part of his two five-year term, Khama is hoping that the recently reported Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP) will be a panacea to the failed Five Ds.

“I see the ESP as a means for Khama and his government to address poor project implementation over time,” observes Morima.

“ When you look at the projects to be addressed through ESP a good number of them failed within their scheduled time and now they are pushed through as if the ESP is a panacea.”

This is despite that Khama emphasised delivery as a crucial element of the nation’s strategy.

 

Democracy

The commentator is convinced that Khama’s relationship with the local media is at its lowest ebb. He describes the relationship as the worst in a democratic dispensation given the fact that the media plays a special role of checks and balances as a tool of democracy.

He is particularly irked by the government’s silent ban on advertising targeting critical private media houses which he says is hurting media freedom.

He says Khama has displayed no respect for people suspected of offences giving an example of John Kalafatis who was shot and killed by the security agents. He was a suspect in a number of offences that the state preferred against him. His brother Costa Kalafatis would later be shot and seriously injured allegedly by state agencies.

Tabulating some of Khama’s failures under democracy, Morima says the number one citizen has signed the deportations of a number of foreigners whose deportations were shrouded in secrecy.

“Some of them might be possibly justifiable deportations or denials of renewal of work or residential permits,” he said. “The offending factor is that they are shrouded in secrecy.”

Morima’s position is that he is far from suggesting that everybody should come here but the deportations should be properly done.

 

Discipline

“His priority of discipline was given a lot of weight and when you regard yourself as a disciplinarian you get vulnerable to violate other people’s rights,” he added.

He notes that although under Khama’s government, alcohol hours were reduced in an endeavour to control alcohol abuse, Khama’a stringent approach to discipline ended up violating the rights of the people.

 

Development

Morima says under this element Khama came up with progammes that unfortunately lacked sustainability seven years after the global economic recession. He listed Integrated Support Programme for Arable Agricultural Development (ISPAAD), Livestock Management Infrastructure Development (LIMID), Ipelegeng, and backyard gardens as some of the so-called impact projects that collapsed.

“I want to tell you that through the ESP, it is simply an acknowledgement that Khama’s major projects through ESP have failed,” he says and declared that worse, the cereal production in the country has gone down.

Through the establishment of hubs in the ministries of education, agriculture, innovation, diamond, transport and health coordinated through the national strategy office, Morima is convinced that Khama’s administration tried to develop the country and the economy but failed.

“Khama’s intentions are clear. He wanted to bring changes but unfortunately his targeted projects were not sustainable. You can’t have a whole VP, Mokgweetsi Masisi running around the country promoting backyard garden projects when there are issues of national interest calling for his attention.

“Low projects such as backyard gardens should have been supervised by low officers.” The political commentator’s analysis is that Khama has good plans but execution is bad.

 

Dignity

In Morima’s view, dignity is difficult to measure at value level. “It’s a cross-cutting value and difficult to measure as a single entity.”

He insists that Khama has failed to achieve his set targets admitting that he was popular when he came in.

“He had sufficient political capital but over the years he lost it due to poor planning,” he said. “This is the danger of being hands on as a head of state.”

Morima is worried that even VP Masisi seems to be a ‘duplicate’ of Khama as he has been a hands on man pushing the backyard garden or poverty eradication projects which have since collapsed due to acute shortage of water.

A University of Botswana (UB) political science lecturer, Leonard Sesa, concurs with Morima that most of Khama’s projects appear good when they start but says unfortunately they simply collapse before long.

He is worried that no proper evaluation is ever done to check on the viability of the projects.

“When Khama starts a project or say when he introduced his roadmap of 5Ds, it was like the school having a new school head who will be chasing people around enforcing compliance and delivery strategies and only for his/her power to fade away,” he says.

Sesa thinks that it was only the first excitement of bringing Khama’s projects and unfortunately his projects collided with those that were already in existence.

“Look, the 5Ds overshadowed even the country’s national vision-Vision 2016. Now it’s the ESP. Where are we heading as a country?” wondered Sesa. Government spokesperson, Dr Jeff Ramsay is adamant that Khama’s 5 Ds are still the pillars of his roadmap.

“Just recently in the introduction of his State of the Nation Address, the President emphasised his roadmap and this is a telling statement that the roadmap remains relevant,” Ramsay said this week. He insisted that Khama has not abandoned his roadmap, nor has the 5 Ds collapsed at all.

“It’s only in the imaginations of some people that the 5Ds have collapsed. Otherwise, everything is still intact 100 percent,” he says stating that Khama has been talking about the 5 Ds at a number of forums. Ramsay says the emphasis in the President’s roadmap is delivery across all government sectors.

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