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Political rebirth needed (Part 1)

KGOSIETSILE NGAKAAGAE
Few would disagree with the fact that 2020, was annus horribilis.

There’s been very few to take out of the year except a battered economy, and despondent and a debt-ridden population trying to come to terms with a pandemic government could only do so much to contain. I’ve stood here and commended government of its efforts.

I still do. Whatever my misgivings about what else could have been done differently or better. In the end we’ve filled less coffins, even though admittedly, each one death has been one too much.

There’s still a lot of financial accounting to be done, but I guess there’ll be time enough for it all. What’s most significant is that the year was an inevitable distraction from things that really mattered, to something that really mattered. Socio economic development and welfare of the citizenry pitted against the threat to life itself. Some would say it was a false choice.

Honestly, I’ve heard that thought cross my mind. That undoubtedly ugly as it were, COVIDI 9 was given Halloween costume, and used to purchase the government a partial sabbatical from pressing and extant socio economic realities. In essence, it put a finger on the pause button, and whilst efforts were made, to keep a semblance of normalcy in our economy, the reality was altogether different.Most affected, have been the SMMEs. Rental prices have sunk businesses or set entrepreneur in grave debt.

Young people have been taking personal debt to keep afloat. Lending institutions, have not abated in their contractual obligations. There were no massive loan repayment holidays, and classified newspaper sections still scream foreclosures from default judgements. The absence of a string middle class brought to focus the grave void between the filthy rich in the economy, and an imaginary middle class that’s really nothing but a public sector sustained political red herring living from paycheck to paycheck.

The situation is bad. We are not much an economy. We have failed to diversify overtime so much that we had to through our purse open to the world even for the most basic medical needs and pay reverence to European and Asian philanthropists for saving our bacons. Our economy is just a management of faults. Let’s give credit where its due, we’ve not done badly at that.

It’s alright to sulk over it all, but that won’t help much. In the end, the economy must recover. Even as COVID- 19 rages across some swathes of populations in the developed world, there was a glimmer of hope this week. So I was particularly happy to learn that there were in fact at least two drugs that passed clinical trials and should be in the market soon, beyond Remdesivir of which I have personally been a grateful recipient. 1’m writing this column from a hospital bed, recovering from COVID-19 and I’ve felt its full brunt, having had the challenges of underlying preexisting respiratory conditions.

I do not speak of cynicism. COVID-19 is real and it’s not a joke.  We have a duty to be a part of the national effort to stem its advance or we

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might be in this situation longer than we thought weld be, with catastrophic consequences. COVID-I9 can kill you. Better still, you can kill it by acting responsibly and helping reduce transmission rates and allowing our health systems to cope.

The world markets were buoyant, and the global economy seems set for some sunlit days. That means that consumers can spend on luxuries again, or at least begin to think of so doing our diamonds will be bought and there be some money for economic reconstruction. But 1’m only being optimistic. The practical benefits of modern science cannot be monetised overnight. We can only hope that the light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train or that if it is, it’s the one in the right direction. We will need leadership. I pray for our leaders. (To be continued)

More than ever, we need a crisis that brings together the best of our common talents as a people. The present challenges we face transcend politics. There is a point beyond which, a nation must hold hands and politics must be secondary as like bereaved, estranged siblings, united for a moment in grief by the tragic loss of a parent. Its a failing of African democracies that we never rise beyond such.

Sadly, it’s true for my country too. A negotiated, comprehensive response initiative, to the aftermath, is still necessary. Based on the comments to the State Of The Nation Address, you know we are nowhere near all that. It’s all the politics of the UDC and Domkrag; of cynical and unsmiling government men who believe that a political adversary must be vanquished comprehensively and that inter party dialogue is concession of failure and abject weakness. 

A moment of undeniable national crisis has failed to mature our politics, let alone, our politicians. If anything, it’s laid bare how soulless our national discourse is, and how desperately destitute of common sense and decency even the most garbed we have contrived to elect to parliament morph to total dimwits when evangelise by the party caucus. It’s a shame.I genuinely think the country needs a political rebirth.

We need to find and to engender a modicum of core national values that can hold us together and keep us focused on the essence of our being. We can’t be a Republic without a soul; whose destiny and essence must be divined by reference to the fleeting reality of the President of the day or the rancour of semi literate party-liners who can tell the difference between party and country.

Each time we have a new President, the country must shape up around him. It must assume his shape or form. There must be a pause to divine his personal character, which then informs the mould of the State apparatus and the legislative thinking. In the process, there’s no consistency and no abiding national destiny. The destination of the nation is tied to the 10-year temparamental vacillations and idiosyncrasies of a ruler or the lack thereof.



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