Guma’s bluff


Two months after announcing that he would resign from Parliament and active politics, Tati East Member of Parliament Samson Moyo Guma, is yet to do just that. Mmegi Staff Writer CHAKALISA DUBE asks whether Guma lied to the nation about his impending resignation

Despite his recent pronouncement to quit politics before end of his term in 2019, Tati East legislator Samson Moyo Guma is yet to make good on his exit, despite the media publicity it attracted.


Was Guma bluffing?

Guma made the shocking announcement in June this year that he would resign from Parliament and active politics.

At the time, the Tati East Member of Parliament (MP) dismissed talk that he was quitting politics because of his troubles with the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC).

He insisted instead that he wanted to give attention to the African Democratic Institution, an organisation in which he serves as board member.

Guma is still an MP and active politically, contrary to what he told the nation. It was not just in media interviews where he peddled his ‘I quit’ stories.

Then, in June, Guma called a meeting with some members of his constituency and other stakeholders informing them about his intention to quit politics before the end of his term.

He told Mmegi then that he had communicated his intention to quit to President Ian Khama and his deputy Mokgweetsi Masisi. Then, many believed that Guma was a man clearly on the move.

His impending departure was widely covered in the media. And, possibly intentionally, Guma omitted to tell the public when he intended making real his threat.

Probably at his best, Guma was playing a psychological game to pre-empt pressure from his constituents and his party colleagues.

Here is why. Just before the pronouncement, legal troubles were already festering like abscesses in their initial stages as his business dealings were subjected to criminal investigations.

His company’s bank account was frozen pending investigations. Charges have been laid against Guma and his business associate Thapelo Olopeng, the minister of Youth, Sport and Culture.

The issue is now squarely before the courts of law.  

If he quits office Guma will not be the first sitting MP to do so. Several other MPs have done so in the past and they were however honest to themselves and the nation about their actions.

MPs who resigned from their positions for various reasons include David Magang, Obakeng Moumakwa, Boyce Sebetlela, Joy Phumaphi and lately James Mathokgwane.

They made their cases very clear and there was no ambiguity about their intentions as they chose to pursue other interests besides politics.

However, two months down the line, Guma is still to make a commitment as to when he will exactly call it quits.

Yesterday when asked when he intends to finally quit Guma reacted angrily: “Why are you so interested in the issue. Is it of public interest?”

When reminded that the issue has attracted public interest because he was an MP, Guma said before abruptly hanging up, “Time is not a factor. You are wasting my time.”

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) secretary general Botsalo Ntuane told Mmegi that Guma has not indicated that he would quit the party despite his announcement two months ago.

“He still behaves and talks like a fully fledged BDP member,” he said.

This is not the first time Guma has threatened to resign and later decided not to.

In 2008, just months before the 2009 general elections, Guma threatened to resign from BDP and Parliament after President Ian Khama dropped him from cabinet following allegations of corruption.

He did not resign as MP, but did decamp from the BDP to become one of the founding members of the break-away Botswana Movement for Democracy.

He retraced his steps three years later.

In 2012, Guma indicated that he would not contest a third term as MP but later somersaulted.

Political analyst Ndulamo Morima is of the view that it was wrong for Guma to say that he would quit without stating the exact date he intended to do so.

“We may not know why he (Guma) did not state the date of his departure from office, but it is a bit untidy for him to state that he will leave office without mentioning the exact date.

“It leaves his constituents in suspension,” he said, adding that it would have been best for Guma to consult before threatening to quit.

He argued that Guma’s decision not to state when he intended to quit also leaves the party and those who want to contest the election in suspension.

“Both the party and those interested in contesting the by-election to replace him have to know when he will quit so that they prepare themselves for a life without him,” Morima said.

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