Can President Khama discipline Tshekedi?
The biggest barometer for measuring any head of state’s ability to govern is how he deals with his ministers in cabinet. Cabinet is a very dynamic body with people of varying characters and personalities.
The biggest difficulty for any president is when you are picking your cabinet at the beginning of your first term. Usually the second term is all smooth sailing and if there be any changes on cabinet, they are usually minor and insignificant. Usually the President at this point would discharge those difficult personalities that make his leadership difficult at the end of the first term.
In some cases, some ministers can be required to resign either out of their volition or under instruction from the President himself. Usually when a cabinet minister refuses to resign out of “will”, the president may have to go the tough route of firing.
These processes that I have mentioned become very easy when the President does not carry with him a cumbersome cabinet. A cumbersome cabinet is one that consists of immediate family members and those with distant relations but carry the same DNA as that of the leader.
Before a president can act on any one of them, they would consider the long family feud that would follow as a result of his actions. For good or bad, there is certainly going to be consequences for firing a family member.
I am by no means raising new arguments here. The same were raised in the public squire when President Khama appointed his brother to cabinet. Even primary school children questioned the wisdom that the President applied in arriving at that decision.
Before we come to Tshekedi’s misdemeanours, let us follow his route to power. It became very clear to political observers that when Khama was vice president, the late Gomolemo Motswaledi was understudying him with aspirations of filling his boots in the constituency. Ian made it very clear to Gomolemo without mincing words that he was going to pass on the vacancy to his younger brother Tshekedi.
Motswaledi moved on with his political career to establish himself in Gaborone Central which was the heartland of the opposition. A few weeks before general elections he was given a tough five year suspension which basically rendered him unfit to try his luck in the following general election.
The theory here is; if Motswaledi would ascend to parliament, he possibly could become a thorn in the flesh on the side of the Khamas as a backbencher. For Tshekedi, he has not experienced any brow sweat to arrive at his current position.
Now that the fellow is messing up our economy with moneys running into several millions, the big question is; will the President brother act to discipline his own sibling? The answer is a big NO in bold capital letters.
For President Khama, family and clan interests come before those of the nation. Because we are a forgetful nation, allow me to remind you of the political wars that Kgotla Autlwetse fought with the Khama/Seretse clan in the Serowe North constituency. Autlwetse fought for his right to represent the people of that constituency at an elevated level since he had been a councillor for many years.
What President Khama is doing by allowing his brother to continue in cabinet regardless of the messes at his ministry is a clear abuse of power. But this unacceptable behaviour runs all over Africa as President Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equitorial Guinea has elevated his son to the position of vice president. If you think that is far off from us, get to Zimbabwe where Grace Mugabe has been appointed Head of Women’s League on her way to becoming Vice President.