The state of the impoverished native Motswana compared to his/her wealthy naturalised variety, is the deliberate result of a system aimed at ensuring that only a handful of those within the circle of power will fill their bellies at the expense of everybody else. It is a systemic corruption that will take a revolution to undo. State capture does not consist of only the NPF or Ian Khama and his circle of cronies.
There are recycled players in a system that was never created to benefit Batswana. It is a system created to reward those who support economic injustice levelled against the ordinary Motswana. The new players simply have to perpetuate protection of the interests of the system and those at its helm. As a result, the state can never achieve a government free of corruption unless the beneficiaries are sacrificed in a real revolution. One clear example is in the way political parties have powerful individuals of foreign descent with a tight grip on their inner workings.
The adage, “Show me who pays your bill and I’ll tell you who the master is,” is more alive than ever. When a ruling party is anti-Afrocentrism and fails to question the real origins of its finances for selfish political interests, then we still have a long way to go before we can liberate ourselves as an African state.
It is impossible for a Motswana to hold executive positions in ruling parties in India, in Singapore, in the US, in Israel or even in South African? Of course, as we all know, this is par for the course in Botswana. Some say there is nothing wrong with it, but these wealthy ‘businessmen’ never openly debate their ideas of democracy or the politics of the institutions they play influential roles in. Instead, they shun the media for its role in informing the public and shining a light on corporate shenanigans. Infact, they choose not to comment on political issues while they never miss BDP events where they often donate handsomely. The question is what exactly are they funding that they cannot discuss openly?
The BDP should start by first demonstrating inner party democracy and transparency. It should create an environment where its financiers can speak openly about the party and what their money does or should do for it. That the BDP has had secret funders for over 50 years says a lot. This is because it can never hope to succeed in its stated fight against corruption and simultaneously thrive on opaque political funding. The party ought to lay in the open the identity its backers of foreign descent, the extent of their contributions to the party and what their interests are. It is questionable to have people of such financial might and economic influence playing unfiltered roles behind closed doors.
This is why our policies are influenced to benefit only a handful against the masses as we remain puzzled by the continued growth of their wealth. Students are even more puzzled. Does it not occur to us that the majority of the people that these millennials look up to never much pursued education but keep getting richer? So what, they ask, is the value of going to school when life is about bootlicking to the top or building the right secret connections? President Masisi should uproot corruption within the BDP for him to succeed at fixing the government because this is a problem that he committed himself to tackling.
But it is our position that the simplest way to begin is to audit and put the BDP’s finances under the microscope going back the entire 50 years and more because that is where the rot began. Not least, the BDP owes it to the public to state the role(s) played by businessmen of Indian extraction in our politics such that they hold should hold the executive positions that they do in the party. With whom do they do business, how much of their business is sourced from the government, and how? Until these questions and others are taken seriously and provide us with what is likely to be very rich answers indeed, we shall be groping in the dark and sinking into further poverty until Thy Kingdom Come!