Botswana: The Pride of Africa

by Adekunle Akinyemi

It is so nice and gratifying to come across the heartwarming stories of an African country with so much success that make tears of joy come out of one’s eyes.  This is the case with the foremost African country known as Botswana, a country with 2.2 million people, located in the southern part in the heart of South Africa.  This is a nation which can beat its chest that corruption is taboo (off-limits and offensive) and anyone who has visited or lived in that country can attest to this.  Incorruptibility is in the DNA of the people of Botswana.  More grace and progress on that glorious and gracious country called Botswana.  You have become the cynosure of all eyes, world over!  Congratulations.

Ian Khama (65) out, Mokgweetsi Masisi (55) in: what a noble display of selflessness and sense of awareness of the prime time to be of quality service to one’s nation and the public in general.  Not even America can boast of this, with Donald Trump taking up the reigns of America at 70 years from Barack Obama 48 years or so!  Kudos to Botswana for such continued display of magnanimity by the Batswanas – the beautiful people of Botswana.  We, the people of other African countries are proud of you.  You have confirmed and maintained Botswana’s reputation for good governance, development, stability and peace among your people.

Change, we all know is the only thing that is permanent and hence should not catch us unawares.  As the Boy’s Scout philosophy goes, ‘Be Prepared’, how easy or how difficult a transition will be, can be predicted by the time available to transit.  The incoming President (Masisi) is waiting patiently while the outgoing President is comfortable leaving the seat of power.  How one would wish that other African leaders emulate the good examples set by the Leaders of Botswana in the last half a century or so.  Constitutionally, the Presidency is slated for ten years and no past President has violated this or tried to cross any boundaries without the knowledge and concurrence of the Batswanas!  This is quite a commendable example of how not to be greedy and corrupt.  Even when many citizens of Botswana are clamouring for the current President Ian Khama to continue for more years, he has chosen to honourably leave, when the ovation is loudest and as per constitutional provisions.

How I wish other African leaders would borrow a leaf from his decency and the gentlemanly gestures and attributes of President Ian Khama of Botswana.  He has been showered with legitimate gifts of different descriptions.  We pray that he may spend his retirement in good health and in peace, as he gets ready to serve Africa and the world as a Goodwill Ambassador from time to time.   He deserves to be acclaimed the BEST PRESIDENT IN AFRICA and the world?  He is a rare gem!

Sir Seretse Khama, the first President after Independence, Ketumile Masire, Festus Moghae, Ian Khama, have set the pace and laid solid foundation for Mokgweetsi   Masisi and we hope and can be assured that the good works of Botswana’s past Leaders will not be allowed to get tarnished with the entry of Masisi, the incoming   Vice President.   How can anyone forget the Billboard that welcomes you into the Kingdom of Botswana from the Airport?  “BOTSWANA HAS ZERO TOLERANCE FOR CORRUPTION”?  This conspicuous Billboard alerts visitors to the Kingdom, that you are going to be held accountable for all you do. There is no room for fraud, greed, nepotism, favoritism, tribalism, and all such laxities in Botswana.  I am a living witness to this as I lived there for three and a half years.   How I wish other African countries can emulate this!  Alas this is seemingly impossible!  May be sooner or later, the rest of Africa will accept Botswana as a MODEL for Africa and shape up accordingly.

Botswana is a land of equal opportunities for her citizens.  You do not need to know or be related to anybody to get a job, get admitted to Institutions or get your due from government or any workplace.  For example, getting your dream house is possible without any ordeal or delay.  Qualifications have to be established and the construction is automatically funded on a first come first served basis.  Projects are then supervised for quality and compliance by the designated government agencies and authorities.  Strictly, no favours of any sort, it does not matter your tribe, location, religion, sex or economic status.   Everyone is equal before the law.  The rule of Law is paramount and your rights are guaranteed everywhere, any time and any place.  Other African countries have a lot to learn from the Botswana experience.  Their President and other high government and political officials do not have to go about with large entourages and fleet of cars with deafening sirens from one place to another!

Regardless of people’s reactions about whatever shortcomings of President Ian Khama of Botswana, his approval rating is very high and commendable.  It is absolutely impossible, to satisfy everybody, as a Chief Executive and as a number one citizen.   Decisions are not expected to be in the favour of all, in the process of governance and dissentions are not aberrations in any democracy.  There is more than enough evidence that President Khama has done very well for his people.  His bye-bye visits to the 57 localities of Botswana, without his being stoned in any of the localities, like many other African leaders, is sufficient evidence of his outstanding performance and incontrovertible approval status among his people.   He was hailed, applauded and showered with GIFTS (not bribery) from all localities.  We pray for other African leaders to learn from this exemplary leadership qualities of the Batswanas and make Africa a better place to live in.  May God grant African Leaders the grace to show love and compassion to their people so that peace can reign and progress and development may prevail.

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