The year 2014 is over and New Year’s Eve has come and gone and is now time for Botswana political leaders across the aisle to start afresh and prepare for this year.
Reflecting on the events of the past year and looking forward to the prospects of 2015, it is safe to say that most of the country’s leaders especially President Ian Khama and his government lifted champagne flutes on New Year’s eve to bid farewell to 2014, an annus horribilis (horrible year) for them.
The party’s performance was dismal registering below 50% of popular vote for the first time since it assumed power in 1966. The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) which had a promising prospect of being an alternative government also saw their performance tumbled.
The Patriot on Sunday offers some New Year’s resolutions that might help our beleaguered political to serve and conduct the nation’s business in a better and efficient way.
This is the time for the number one citizen to introspect and strive to leave a good legacy that he will be well remembered for, as at the moment his popularity is waning out. He is left with only two years to do that. Since he assumed power in 2008, the former army commander has done well to connect with the ordinary citizens but along the way sidelined the middle class.
Projects implementation must be his number one priority as billions of Pulas have been wasted on unfinished mega projects. The mega billions projects that failed under President Khama’s leadership include Morupule Power B plant, Sir Seretse Khama International Airport, Francistown Stadium, the Glass Project in Palapye and Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) is about to follow if necessary measures are not taken.
President Khama must reach out to the workers, especially public sector workers and the private media because he has never had any healthy relationship with them. They are also part of this great nation of Botswana and equally patriotic.
The legal battles he has tried to wage against the two have proven to be too costly for the tax payer.
He was embarrassed when the Attorney General had to withdraw a case against Sunday Standard editor Outsa Mokone on charges of sedition.
He has made himself largely inaccessible to the private media and seems to tolerate international media and this will badly affect his legacy.
In his last two years in office, President Khama will need both the government and private media to push his programmes.
President Khama who will relinquish power in 2018 when his term ends, must ensure that he follows to the latter his dubious claim that he is the most transparent leader by always informing the nation on issues of national interest rather than being reactive after something has already got into the public domain.
Another resolution that President Khama should make is to ensure that he leaves the ruling BDP intact. In the history of the party, it was under his leadership that the BDP experienced its first split.
President Khama should have learned that people tend to respond better to politicians who engage their critics. He should desist from frustrating them like he did with the former Speaker of the National Assembly Margaret Nasha.
Unnecessary court cases which cost government millions of pulas must be avoided at all cost and this should be one of Khama’s cardinal 2015 resolutions.
Treasure the wisdom of old age, learn from elder people and be wise. This must be Khama’s guiding principle when statesmen Sir Ketumile Masire and Festus Mogae approaches him this year. 2015 should be the year that he reconciles with the two former presidents because very soon he will join them in retirement. They are there to advise him as they are the only people in Botswana who have once occupied the number one seat and are in a better position to guide him.
Use you bootlicking productively VP
A self-confessed bootlicker, Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi must have enjoyed his festive holidays as he received the greatest gift of assuming the second highest seat in the country.
The arrival of 2015 may be a mere construct of the Gregorian calendar, but for the Vice President it means he has a big task to ensure that he proves himself to be a future President of this country in 2018.
Vice President Masisi needs to impress the public service workers who have been frustrated by the current system which views them as enemies of the state.
In the near future he will be relieved of his ministerial post and be the overseer of all government projects and ministries. His 2015 resolution must be focused on ensuring that Batswana are given better services.
Another resolution that the VP must consider seriously is to be sincere to President Khama at all times. He must tell him the truth even when it is difficult to do so. Vice President Masisi must prove to Khama that he is there to advise him and that means being frank and honest for the sake of the nation.
Clarify this umbrella project before it is too late
In 2014 general elections, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) made a bold statment by garnering 17 parliamentary seats. This was a historical feat for the opposition and it shook the ruling party.
The fanfare has come to an end; one of their 2015 resolutions should be to tell Batswana whether they are going to dismantle the three opposition parties that formed the umbrella, Botswana National Front, Botswana Movement for Democracy and Botswana Peoples Party to have one unified party.
Another resolution that they must really consider is how they are going to keep their 2014 momentum which culminated in their sterling performance in the general elections. They have a chance of snatching victory in 2019 elections. UDC should block all the loopholes within their movement that might lead to a breakaway.
They must ensure that one of their resolutions is to keep the ruling party on its toes on service delivery.
UDC leadership in 2015 should extend an olive leave to BCP and work out modalities on how they can work together. Lastly UDC must keep an eye on their leader, Duma Boko who seems to be closer to President Khama than his lieutenants. Batswana need you to be an opposition party with alternatives and the tenacity to keep the BDP government in check rather than being consulted on cabinet reshuffle by President Khama.
Reduce drivel in Parliament
The 11th session of Parliament did not bring anything to seriously write home about except the usual bickering between the ruling party Members of Parliament and the opposition. The only notable thing that happened was when opposition cried out that they have not been included in Parliamentary committees or were not elected chairpersons of those committees. Response to the state of the nation address was lukewarm from both sides of the aisles. There was also profound baloney. One MP even asked if blankets given to the poor by the president are disinfected. As if that was not enough from the honourable MPs one of them asked if it is true there is going to be floods in his constituency. This year, MPs must show us that they care more about Botswana than their parties and pockets. They must try even if it is difficult for some of them to be relevant and ask atleast near intelligent questions. Their main resolution must be to research before asking questions or responding to the budget speech which will be presented before Parliament very soon.
Mokaila please banish load shedding
Towards the end of 2014, the country experience constant power supply and this continued until the New Year’ s eve and we are happy about that Minister Kitso Mokaila. Knowing this government very well, we are not sure if this will be normal thing or it was just a festive excitement from Botswana Power Corporation. BPC inflicted intolerable pain on citizens and businesses and we are really tired of the endless and unscheduled blackouts. They have a way of sapping all the joy and ruining the nation’s day.
You resolution is to ensure that Morupule Power B is up and running, we are now tired of excuses.
Lastly ask President Khama to pray for rain as we heard from one traditional doctor who has since passed on that Khama is a rainmaker. Tell him that Gaborone Dam is drying up and we desperately need his divine powers to call on the gods to bring rain.
Khama please minimise promises
Since he assumed office, President Khama made lot of promises which unfortunately most of them have not been fulfilled. He once informed the nation that load shedding will a thing of the past but we are still experiencing it. Last year towards the elections he made promises but as the year drew towards its ends he somersaulted and said he will never make promises. But he has since broken the promise not to make promises. It doesn’t look like the President is good at keeping promises; he should just do his job in 2015 and work on building his legacy as statesman.