Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Chief Whip, also a Member of Parliament for Letlhakeng-Lephepe, Liakat Kablay, regrets equating former President Ian Khama to Jesus Christ.
Kablay made these remarks in 2015 after being mesmerized by Khama’s humanitarian and charitable gesture to ordinary Batswana. The fascinated MP could not contain himself and compared the then President to Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Kablay statement was a subject of public commentary.
A few years later, the legacy of a statement made, “kindly and in jest”, haunts the same orator in his backyard, at the Letlhakeng-Lephephe constituency, where Khama’s Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) is making inroads, the soundbite has become a campaign platform. Kablay’s controversial remark is perpetually highlighted to Letlhakeng-Lephepe constituents to endear the new party to them on the campaign trail.
Admittedly, Kably believes this is working against him and might cost him his seat in the next elections. BPF has launched a series of campaigns in Kweneng West, an area with settlements that dominate Kablay’s constituency.
Kablay, who was first elected to the lawmaking house in 2009, told WeekendPost recently that the remarks are causing him trouble, both in the party and in the constituency he is representing. “It is tough. The statement is causing me trouble. I know my opponents use it to score points in their campaigns in my constituency to canvass support. It was a mistake. They (BPF) want my people to join them by using that statement, but they will never succeed,” he said.
“Even in the party, I know some are not happy with the statement, but they have not yet come out to criticize me, but I am aware of it,” he added. It has come to the attention of this publication that in the BDP MPs meeting with President Mokgweetsi Masisi in late June, Kablay was one of the greatly concerned MPs. Kablay was worried by Khama’s campaign crusade and wanted the party to respond with the same might.
It came from the meeting that several MPs are greatly concerned by Khama’s continuous attack in their constituencies. The development forced them to ask President Masisi to give them the green light to fight back to protect their constituencies, which they say are at risk.
The MPs even asked Masisi why Khama and his party, BPF, always hold rallies with over 50 people in attendance. They said this is against the laid down COVID-19 protocols aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus. “We should be able to hit back at him and address him politically. He visits our constituencies and dishes propaganda; we ought to do the same because it may seem whatever he is saying is the truth, and that could kill us in 2024. Now we asked President Masisi to allow us to protect ourselves,” Kablay said then.
Khama and BPF are currently traversing the length and breadth of the country, campaigning and recruiting members. They are primarily targeting BDP members; a party Khama ditched in 2019. Kablay is one of the longest-serving MPs in the current parliament. The maverick legislator has borders on being labelled controversial, especially that he likes calling some Ministers to order.
The outgoing President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ian Kirby, shares his thoughts with us as he leaves the Bench at the end of this year.
WeekendPost: Why did you move between the Attorney General and the Bench?
Ian Kirby: I was a member of the Attorney General’s Chambers three times- first in 1969 as Assistant State Counsel, then in 1990 as Deputy Attorney General (Civil), and finally in 2004 as Attorney General. I was invited in 2000 by the late Chief Justice Julian Nganunu to join the Bench. I was persuaded by former President Festus Mogae to be his Attorney General in 2004 as, he said, it was my duty to do so to serve the nation. I returned to the Judiciary as soon as I could – in May 2006, when there was a vacancy on the High Court Bench.
Botswana’s civil society is one of the non-state actors that could save the country’s democracy from sliding into regression, a Germany based think tank has revealed. This is according to a discussion paper by researchers at the German Development Institute who analysed the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes In Botswana.
In the paper titled “E-government and democracy in Botswana: Observational and experimental evidence on the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes,” the researchers offer a strongly worded commentary on Botswana’s ‘flawed democracy.’ The authors noted that with Botswana’s Parliament structurally – and in practice – feeble, the potential for checks and balances on executive power rests with the judiciary.
Bangwato in Serowe — where Bamagwato Paramount Chief and former President Lt. Gen Ian Khama originates – disagree on whether they must send a delegation to dialogue with President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s family in Moshupa. Just last week, a meeting was called by the Regent of Bamagwato, Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane, at Serowe Kgotla to, among others, update the tribe on the whereabouts of their Kgosi (Khama).
Further, his state of health was also discussed, with Kgamane telling the attendees that all is well with Khama. The main reason for the meeting was to deliberate on the escalating tension between Khama and Masisi — a three-year bloodletting going unabated.