Balopi Should Behave!

That the BDP under President Mokgweetsi Masisi is a failed government is obvious. Corruption, poor performance and dishonesty characterise the government. It came as no surprise when just last week, senior minister Mpho Balopi promulgated to his constituents that Botswana is broke and there is no money for development.

In his tirade, he also pointed an accusing a finger at the opposition and blamed them for the devastation visited upon the nation by COVID-19. Dishonesty and lack of accountability are vices that define a failed government.

Leading to the 2019 polls, alive to the fact that he was facing a United BNF-BCP axis and a revolt at their bastion of GaMmaNgwato due to his fallout with his predecessor HE Dr SKI Khama, HE Masisi introduced Ntlole and Pemandu in a vote-buying gimmick which resulted with our foreign reserves taking a massive hit as our wage bill increased astronomically. The IMF had before warned the Botswana government to reduce its wage bill but the BDP did the opposite.

The assertion of lack of funds attributed to Balopi is not only false but misleading. How else is government creating overnight millionaires during SOE with tendrerpreneurs cashing in from supplying masks and other medical equipment, the president’s sister being among the beneficiaries? How else is government able to purchase Tautona Lodge for an exorbitant P58 million and further renovate it for and extra P20 million?

As if that was not troubling enough, the government has acquired land the size of Gaborone at the Okavango to build a presidential resort for the head of state to holiday with his family and entertain his guests like Steve Harvey at a time we are told the government is cash-strapped?

The problem is not lack of funds but lack of foresight, twisted priorities and indifference to the nation’s plight. A visionary regime would not have depleted our reserves in a futile vote-buying gimmick, endangering our future in times of emergency. As a consequence, we failed to prepare for a wave of the coronavirus. We could not even build a single hospital specifically to deal with COVID cases, install oxygen tanks and purchase beds for patients, resulting in loss of lives and despondency.

We have failed to protect and vaccinate a population of 2 million. The UDC, led by BCP president Dumelang Saleshando, warned that the draconian SOE was a vehicle to purloining state funds. The opposition never denied the existence of the pandemic but were against the SOE and continues to be so. What has ruling by decree achieved in the last 18 months? Even President of South Africa has failed in this regard? The leader of economic hegemony in the region and epicentre of COVID-19 derided government under SOE as being irresponsible. The SOE was unnecessary.

Balopi should be honest. Lying with a straight face won’t placate tensions between him and his boss. He will forever be outside looking in. Honesty might just save what is left of his presidential ambitions.

Banks Ndebele