The best way to react to the appointment of Mokgweetsi Masisi as Vice President is by borrowing the words of Albert Einstein who opines that “insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again but expecting different results.”
If at all President Khama went through all these legal pains just to get an obvious result of voting Gladys Kokorwe to be Speaker of National Assembly and Masisi to be Vice President, then I stand firmly contrary to those who often describe him as “strategist par excellence.” I take it that being a good strategist, particularly in the military context does not imply doing extraordinary things to get ordinary results, but rather, doing ordinary things to get extraordinary results.
In fact, even the revered Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu observes in his classic military treatise, The Art of War that “to lift an autumn hair is no sign of great strength; to see the sun and moon is no sign of sharp sight; to hear the noise of thunder is no sign of a quick ear.” The point is, Khama always prefers torturous routes even in simple and straightforward. I Just do not see how it was in the best national interest for him to cause all the legal drama, bureaucratic impasse and political uncertainty only to get such an uninspiring and divisive figure like Masisi to be his assistant.
In this case, it does not matter on how you see the appointment; it works both ways, it serves as a national joke and as well as a national tragedy. Rationally speaking, I take it that it would have served this nation better had the President thought of a person who has proven to be innovative, open and independent-minded and willing to give him sincere advice without fear or favour. The other point the President should have considered in his choice of Vice President is national unity. If the current political mood is anything to go by then one is inclined to say that we are a nation that is very politically polarised and as such we needed someone who could serve as a unifying force; someone who commands respect across political divide and in my opinion Nonofo Molefhi fits the profile.
The way I see it, the appointment of Masisi to Vice Presidency is nothing but a national Déjà vu. I mean besides his famous “ke lelope” speech in which he celebrated sheer parody and praised bootlicking to award-winning proportions, Masisi has proven beyond doubt that he is suffering from abject poverty of thought. In his previous escapades as Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Masisi showed no innovative and life-changing ideas that could help move Batswana forward. His most notable if not flagship programme, backyard-gardening like all less-thought of schemes, proved to be a grand idea on paper but disaster in reality.
As we speak, the much praised programme that was going to spare Batswana humiliation of abject poverty remains in tatters. Reality has proven the project to be unrealistic and unsustainable as many basic factors were ignored, including the most elementary input which is the cost of water. On another point, Masisi has contributed significantly to the current hostile state of labour relations between government and civil service. Instead of using his abundant access to the President to canvass him from his war-stance to a more reconciliatory and working relationship with labour unions, Masisi did the opposite; he hardened the stance to a point where peace is no option.
As things stand, the government and the working class are at an all-out war, where the main casualty is the economy. As far as I am concerned, there is no how government can efficiently deliver services to the people while it is running on low-morale staff. Therefore, both the labour unions and government ought to reconsider their zero-sum position to a more reconciliatory position that is conducive for private and public business. However, with Masisi appointed to Vice President that reconciliation remains a fleeting illusion to be pursued.