Democracy Should Be Jealously Protected

For some time, concerns about democracy in Botswana being threatened appeared to be confined to a few isolated voices. They were quickly dismissed by the well oiled propaganda machines of the government as wacky and paranoid.

Politicians, columnists, journalists, and the media in general would be labelled anti-establishment, whenever such sentiments were voiced. Even when Mma Nasha, the respected Speaker of the National Assembly, lamented the corrosion of democratic ideals and practices in the once beloved democracy, she suffered the same humiliation and dismissal, categorised with those labelled the enemies of the Presidency or worse still-unpatriotic. When former Presidents Sir Ketumile Masire and Dr Festus Mogae, in successive weeks came out of their cocoons and openly declared that our democracy is under siege, such a clarion call was long over due. The nation, the continent of Africa, the world at large, needed the voices of these two well-respected statesmen to give them their account and assessment of the sate of democracy in Botswana. Government of the day and the ruling Party, and President Ian Khama, in particular, should be embracing this constructive criticism from their own kind, instead of trashing it like they usually do.  A lot has happened in Botswana in recent days that begs for urgent action.

The President has remained silent as reports on the abuse of state funds at the spy agency continue to murmur.  People are killed by security agents willy- nilly and no one seems to care, foreigners are deported without due process, while lawyers, journalists, and innocent civilians live in fear of elimination by the country’s security agents. Reports that the ruling Party has appointed a notorious Israeli company to offer consultancy on how to win elections are worrying. Nikuv, associated with Israeli’s  intelligence agency, has been awarded tenders by government here as well. The company is notorious for its manipulations of voters’ rolls to help the ruling parties rig elections, as it has done in Zimbabwe. These are just some of the democratic worries Khama’s tenure has left us with. At least the former Presidents have joined the voices of the concerned Batswana. Now that’s patriotism.

Editor's Comment
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