Dear Sidney Pilane
After that recent storm, I now write to tell you that I am happy for you. You see, you have once again proved to be the only Advocate in politics who understands the law. And yet you never make too much noise about it. It is for this reason that I admire you the same way I do the famed American stealth fighter jet.
Obviously because you too, go about your business like the stealth fighter jet! You see very little of it; you hear almost nothing when it approaches for attack. And when it finally strikes, it will be too late to hit back. That’s the time you hear its roaring engines… long after it has caused damage. Ahead of the landmark decision on that controversial constitution shoved under the cover of darkness into the Registrar’s bag of many file folders, the B-52s, the R-9s and S-5s were making all the noise in the sky, exciting their fanatical admirers who were cheering blindly at their raucous trails, while the stealth fighter was loud in its silence of deceit, with only a few even believing it could overpower those noisy ones with their superior numerical strength.
Now the irritating noise of the loud bombers is subdued, while the stealth fighter continues to leave all in suspense, wondering where it will strike next. It’s indeed true mister, that empty vessels make the loudest noise. Didn’t I assure you in my last letter to you that you will soon be proving your haters wrong? You see why, Dlodlo, I always implored you to remain calm in the midst of all the misplaced hatred on you? Now they are all clutching at straws, each man trying from their own corner to find something else to pin on you. These people should have learnt from Ndaba and Co, that wena ga o wa bana.
Those guys were not as foolish and timid as they were purported to be. They knew that dealing with you on matters of the law was no child’s play. I heard them call Ndaba and Co. some names, among them Ditete. The tables have since turned, and now they are again blaming the poor Ndaba for letting you loose and letting you to take charge at the orange movement, which has by extension allowed you to be in the mix of those in control under the tattered blue umbrella. They bragged that bone they were going to deal with you constitutionally, and I warned them, you will recall, that where the law is concerned, you are never wrong.
I warned them against fighting you legally, and even painted them a picture of you being the alligator in a raging river, while they are only mongrels trying to fight you inside the water. Kana even if the mongrels were to try to wrestle you out of the water, they would slip and fall back into your trap. So tota the mongrels were always bound to lose. You see, mongrels, like those fighter jets, are always the noisy ones; barking and scratching the ground in animated fashion, but without the killer bite, while the alligator, like the stealth fighter, would always be calm, and silently lying in wait, until the time is right to strike.
Now look at the mongrels as they scurry away with tails tucked between their legs! They do not even want to look back. They are now thinking of rather forming alliances to fight from a different turf. When they were warned of your Terminator powers, and that you were out to dismantle their umbrella, they teased those who warned, calling them CryBabies. Now the Terminator Alligator has struck, and The Gladiators are seeking refuge at the older enemy territory. So well done, Mr Law who doesn’t brag about it! You once again proved that you are a man of few words and more actions – after all, they say, actions speak louder than words. Banna ba ne ba tsositse modumo, ba ikgasola ka go itse molao, not realising that what they claim to know is not even half of what you know yourself. Nna tota as you will attest, I have always read petty jealousies in all of this. Your success story is too complicated for them to comprehend. They can only fight you politically now, by perhaps making decisions that are legal, but will leave you with little control of things. I now hear they are in talks with those they called CryBabies.
I hear too, that you are also talking to them – the ones you called renegades. Isn’t it ironic then, that the one constant feature in all of this, is the very one you and The Gladiators gave unpalatable names? Come to think of it; for different reasons, the Alligator and The Gladiator hated the purple guys. Now you are both courting them. For self-serving reasons of course! When it suited both of you, the Ndabas were cry-babies and renegades, now they are the go-to guys for meeting an end? This politics thing really is confusing.
I mean, look at you – gatwe you are busy o phosha Ndaba whom you labelled a renegade and a rebel; on the other hand, The Gladiator is busy cajoling the very same man he labelled corrupt and greedy. Elsewhere, SisiBoy o shimega the same guy he used to praise and worship as the incarnation of God. Tota lware lo ntse jang mapolotiki lo tshameka ka ditlhogo tsa rona jaana? Just look at this other one: the very same media houses he used to scorn, ridicule and stifle of business are the ones he is running to for cover when the tables are being turned on him. And like the ever gullible electorate who always vote back the very people who make them suffer, the same media houses are entertaining his proposals for engagement.
The same media houses that have become destitutes because of him! SisiBoy is reading the script and realises that even if he too can supress the press, the same press will in future come out to give him the platform he needs to hit back at detractors. But what can we say? We are a forgiving nation. We forget very quickly. A man sneaks into your house to sleep with your wife, and the next day when his wife sends him packing, you are the one giving him shelter again in your own home? You have to admire us, Batswana, for such a forgiving spirit.
Check out how Kgama has out of the blue forgiven The Gladiator for all the things he used to say about him. He is even on record saying he admires The Gladiator. Look at how The Gladiator himself has forgiven that Lime Party Leader who once called him RaBaki. The same Lime Party Leader who once told The Gladiator to fok off and shut up for good on that day you guys were discussing the Moshupa by-election. And look at how Ndaba has forgiven you for calling him a rebel. In all this, it is always us, your followers, who are left with an egg on the face.
The one moment we praised you, Dlodlo, only because that Lime Party Leader and The Gladiator, our leaders, were praising you as well. Now they are vilifying you, we have to do the same. Eish… Waitse I admire men like you – men who like chameleons can change colour and allegiance several times and still keep their followers. Yet tota nna I still believe you guys are playing on our ignorance, naivety and fanaticism. Nna tota the way I see it, you guys have always been buddies and you have always entertained each other when we are not looking, and then come out to pretend you abhor one another.
From way back we have heard of that Lime Party Leader sharing business interests with the Kgamas and Seretses; we have known you, Dlodlo, to fight on the side of the Kgamas; I have known The Gladiator to be bosom buddies with that Sadique guy he recently labelled corrupt; we have always known you and The Gladiator to be associates who even trade cases; we have always known you to be close to Kgosi; I have always known Kgosi to be close to The Gladiator; and even you, Dlodloman, have confessed to having intimate meetings with the Lime Party Leader.
I have known The Gladiator to be close to Kgama, even at one point reported to have sought financial assistance from the man. Kana e bile at that time, he is said to have been close to joining Kgama’s party. Yet somehow, somewhere at some time, you guys present a picture of people in combat. I mean, what is this thing we hear that The Gladiator is working on a political strategy with Kgama now? Kana e bile maloba I was thinking aloud, gore: if indeed The Gladiator represents Kgama and Kgosi in court, and they win the case, will he go on to prosecute them again should he end up becoming President in 2019? Akere he has promised to start with them on his crackdown on corrupt people?
Kante wena oe leba jang kgang e Bra Dlodloman? It is in times like these that I am reminded of the likes of Gabriel Kanjabanga. Kante ene o kae? Could he too, like you, be stealth in his approach to all these political shenanigans unfolding before our eyes? Could his be an insidious move that will come out in the open at the eleventh hour? Kana these political games of Botswana need one to be always vigilant and on their toes. I am only waiting for your next move as well. I wonder what it is you are cooking now, but whatever it is, it must be intriguing. I see some men are having sleepless nights over your silence. What could it be you are planning next Dlodlo? A resignation from the BMD perhaps?
Ag, shame Kgathi!
How the mighty have fallen! This past weekend’s Botswana Democratic Party’s Bulela Ditswe primary elections were a demonstration of democracy in action. We need to get accustomed to the painful truth that in life you win some, you lose some!
But somehow, we have built a culture that of anti-change, we equate change with collapse, destruction or maybe it’s because we fear the unknown. Like our good MELS president would say, you move from the known to the unknown, but somehow that statement rings hollow for him considering the length of time he’s been MELS’ president!
Domkrag has been in power for over 50 uninterrupted years. By now it should have built a critical mass, a pool of leaders from which to select in the wards, cells, branches and regions. Democracy is a work in progress, being perfected every time.
Like our late former Vice President the General, Mompati Merafhe would say, “No one has a monopoly of knowledge.” The BDP must take heed of this counsel if it is to survive post Bulela Ditswe. The Old Guard must remember, and take the cue from people like the Mother of the House, Mma Venson-Moitoi, who has served this country diligently but is wise to know when it is time to hand the baton to others in this relay called politics.
In the same vein, the Young Turks, in their brash and radical ways must learn that there’s absolutely nothing new under the sun! They must learn to bide their time and do their bit when their turn comes. They should never think they are reinventing the wheel. Like we’ve said, democracy, like any other political system, is a work in progress.
But the vainglorious and big-headed don’t see this. They are self-centred, conceited and arrogant. They despise the mass of their people. They neglect their constituencies, only visiting them when elections are due and thereafter go on with their lives without a care in the world!
Worse still, their political parties also influence this attitude in that in some instances candidates are selected in Gaborone and dispatched to go and represent their respective native villages. This is not good enough and can never be a solution. We need home-bred leaders, we cannot be importing leaders from Gaborone! My best wishes go to all the runners-up in the past weekend’s primary elections. These men and women showed character. Certainly I feel very sorry for Shaw Kgathi because he was de-campaigned by BaNgwato Kgosi, Ian Khama. I am afraid this is a clear indication that BaNgwato hegemony in some parts of Central District remains entrenched even in the 21st Century.
But, the victor must tread carefully. I think it’s too early to raise Champagne glasses! A fractured BDP may become easy picking for Botswana Congress Party in 2019 in this constituency especially if UDC comes to the party! My sympathies also go to Biggie Butale and Tirelo ‘Scania’ Mukokomani in Tati West who I understand were floored by a Young Turk, the president of the BDP Youth Wing, Simon Mavange! I think both gentlemen can still be useful in other enterprises outside politics!
There was also my good friend Itumeleng Moipisi in Kgalagadi North losing to transport magnate, Talita Monnakgotla. I am not sure why Talita would want to go into politics, all I know is that she’s a savvy businesswoman, but as for Moipisi, I think we have lost a wise man in government. I won’t say anything about Nonofho Molefi. We all know the mastermind behind his demise. He dug the pit that would swallow him up the day he dared to challenge then Vice President, now President Mokgweetsi Masisi for the chairmanship of the ruling party.
When all is said and done, I am very happy with the outcome. I know some are worried that too many loyalists of former president Ian Khama have won and that this could somehow resuscitate his hopes of gaining influence in his father’s party and ultimately government if BDP wins in 2019.As for me, I say the sun has set on Khama’s political career. He must just continue with his charitable and altruistic cause. It fits him perfectly especially that he’s also a Kgosi. He must steer clear of dirty politics and do all within his power to dignify the seat of tribal power!
After all is he not the one that taught us this dictum? BaKgatla will be celebrating KgosiKgolo Kgafela’s 10th Anniversary this September in Moruleng and I suppose in Mochudi. It would be an honour to have Kgosi Khama grace this occasion; after all he is the one that installed Kgafela back in 2008 and draped him in a leopard’s skin!
Of today’s men sharing beer with women and children
The world in which I grew up is no more. This weekend I met with my boys – most of whom are now senior citizens – at the usual Motswere tree. I am not known to imbibe in alcoholic beverages of any kind, but every time I find myself with these boys, each will have brought himself a bottle.
Where we are all very broke, we contribute towards the drinks using the motshelo model. We make contributions to be used to purchase a few litres of traditional beer commonly known as maswe a dinala in Ramotswa, or mukuru as in Serowe. These meetings with the boys have become regular and because I am always there, a lot of people who are not my close friends have always wrongly assumed I also take the stuff.
As we have always done without fail, we were at the Motswere tree again recently. The mood this time was triggered by an activity at Tashy’s Gardens near Boatle. The Speaker of the National Assembly was host to the CPA Africa Region Conference in Gaborone. As part of the activities they were treated for a culture day at the gardens. Our culture has this thing of bringing us together through music and dance. Also in our tradition, there is always a lot of eating. Actually we like our Basotho cousins who believe that “mokete yo o senang nama ga se mokete,” literally meaning that a feast without meat is no feast at all.
Eating at this CPA outing was in typical African fashion. The diverse nature of our society through food, music and dance was on display to the excitement of the guests. Groups from across the length and breadth of this wonderful country were there to display their talents and styles. Truly the CPA Africa Region delegates went back mesmerized. This is however what was in our minds this weekend at Motswere tree. It was just a coincidence that we the boys from that area were part of the traditional groups specifically asked to entertain the guests. In our group we always have to end the day with lots of bojalwa, which was in oversupply on the day.
On the day, quite interestingly, my guys waived a lot of ‘protocol observed’ in the consumption of the holy fawn stuff. In the days of our growing up, young maidens could not sit amongst men to freely drink. We have as a group agreed that we should accommodate modern things. Some young ladies joined us and asked that we fill their bottles with the bojalwa. It was just wonderful that there was no single objection to this. Women and mostly from our neighbours South Africa, wanted to taste the local traditional beer. The stuff was frothing which is always considered good. All and sundry praised the stuff as the best.
As the day ended, we the Motswere boys asked for an extra provision of 60 litres of the bojalwa. We then ferried it to our secluded Motswere place, where we would later spend the evening freely singing our traditional festive music. Despite having allowed women earlier to freely drink during the day at our fort, we resorted to our practice of not sharing bojalwa with children and women. It will take us long to understand gender neutrality at Motswere tree.
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