Friday, March 15, 2013

Phandu Skelemani and Botswana: A Napoleon Complex Writ Large

Way back in my clubbing days I was always weary of attracting the ire of short people. I knew that if an argument broke out in a night-club it was always the little guys who wielded a knife (or even worse, a gun). You see, short people always have a point to prove and the same can be said for the little countries that most people have never heard off. It's always the Qatars and Botswanas of this world who make the most noise in the international arena, despite their having small populations.

Just this week we witnessed the bizarre tale of Botswana's Foreign Minister, Phandu Skelemani, threatening to arrest Kenya's President-elect, Uhuru Kenyatta, if he dared to set foot in Botswana. One could almost imagine Uhuru Kenyatta sitting in his office, straining his eyes and trying to find Botswana on a map of Africa! The fact that little Botswana (population1.8Mil) could dare to throw the rule-book at Kenya (population 41 million) was a shock to many people. What gumption!

The truth of the matter is that, in the wider scheme of things, Botswana simply does not matter. No-one gives a rat's ass what the Foreign Minister of that little country thinks or says! Most people in East or West Africa would have a hard time naming the sleepy capital of Botswana (Gaborone) or even one MuTswana who has ever achieved any fame (I couldn't).

Let's leave pontificating on Continental issues to the big boys of African politics, the Nigerias, South Africas and Ethiopias of this world. They have the clout, size and Continental heft to make their voices heard throughout Africa. Small nations like Botswana, Lesotho and Eritrea should speak only when spoken to.

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