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?
Rre Masire, your BDP has gone to the dogs!
Dear Sir Ketumile Joni Masire
Greetings to you Quett. It’s been a long time since you and I last confabulated. I remember the last time we did was when we were at Alec Campbell’s residence in the Lion Park enclave, where you gave me invaluable insights into the life of this larger than life historian.
I still remember how you made fun of me for being too slow and shallow in my comprehension of the Setswana idioms you threw into our verbal intercourse. How I miss you now that I am thinking of that day! But I find solace in knowing that all is well with you up there with the heavenly angels. And oh, I must share that I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent with your ever so jolly brothers, Basimanyana and Bontlogile on the backdrop of your grand relocation. Everything about them reminded me of you, and I must say there is a lot I also learnt about you from them – even the fascination of knowing for the first time that they each use Joni as their middle name – just like you.
Anyway, I just thought you would appreciate an update of what has been happening here since you left us, and I regret to tell you that what I will share is not anything pleasant. Sir, your country has gone to the dogs; and so has your dear party, the BDP. The peace-loving nation you oversaw is crumbling under the weight of fanaticism, tribalism and factionalism. There is no longer any peace and neither is there Democracy in the form that you envisaged.
I am not sure if this is true but on the whole, popular opinion suggests that all this evolving mess in the country is a result of Ian; that son of Sir Seretse Khama whom people feel he has not yet accepted that he is no longer President of Botswana.
In case they never told you, he did move out of State House in March this year when his presidential term elapsed. But it is a general feeling of the citizens that he has in truth not relinquished power in the quiet and smooth manner you and your successor Festus Mogae did when your time to retire had arrived. Remember Setlhomo’s son Mokgweetsi? That younger brother to Tshelang who was Ian’s deputy at the time of your relocation to Heaven? He is the one who in the peaceful tradition of your party and country’s constitution eventually took over as President of Botswana, but I tell you, he has never known peace as Head of State the way you let Mogae be, and also the way Mogae let Ian himself be.
It is different now. Ian does not seem to want to retire quietly as did yourself and Rre Mogae. He still remains as politically active as he was and recently he even said ene he has never resigned as BDP President.
As I speak, there is a court case by some bitter loser in the Bulela Ditswe elections in Lobatse, who is in cahoots with Ian, challenging the legitimacy of Masisi’s position as BDP President.
According to court papers, Ian is a witness intended to attest that indeed Masisi is not the legitimate president of the BDP. You can see how ugly the situation has become, and your people are on the edge.
In fact, in the recent past, Masisi was compelled to suspend from the BDP, some small boy reported to have been bosom buddies with Ian at the army barracks – I am not sure if you ever knew him, gatwe keene Mabaila – because he allegedly acted on instruction from Ian, to incite both BDP and UDC MPs to table a motion of no confidence against Masisi.
This motion was eventually tabled by Opposition Leader Duma although the motion would end up unsuccessful. While it was difficult for many of your people to believe that Ian could have played a part in that motion, they were irked by the bromance between the opposition leader and Ian when further reports revealed the two were meeting regularly and that Ian even sponsored some BNF congress to the tune of P2 million. Ian even went public to declare his admiration for Boko.
This I tell you has divided your party and the opposition guys are revelling in this slow death of the BDP you so painstakingly built. It is amazing how everything seems to point to Ian in this mess – the son of the man with whom you built the party. There are just too many stories that revolve around him seeking to have a say in what Masisi does and Masisi on the other hand wanting to prove he is a man with a mind of his own.
Kana e bile wena Rra Gaone, this feud has even reached bo CNN, Fox, BBC le bo France24. International media has even poured scorn on that ‘shining example of democracy’ label, with one South African media outlet even remarking that Ian and Masisi’s reported tiff is proof that African leaders are all the same – that they are all selfish people who always put themselves first and want to cling on to power. Actually it is so bad that we now have a divided nation where some feel that Ian is being unfairly treated while others want him to let Masisi take charge of the country’s affairs without interference.
Those who back Ian argue that it was unfair for Masisi to sack that DIS guy Isaac, from the spy agency, saying Masisi only did it because Ian is a close ally ofthe spy guy. After firing Isaac as the spy agency boss, Ian then demanded that Isaac be employed back into the civil service as his Private Secretary. Masisi refused, almost saying Ian can go hang! Ian also wanted to fly the aeroplane meant for use by the State President, and again Masisi refused, saying he should use one of the three official vehicles given to him by state.
Seretse’s son has not taken this kindly. Akere he is not used to being told No? So it was a bitter pill for him to swallow that his wishes were disregarded by a man he supported to be the next President after him. It would seem Ian does not like traveling on our roads, he just wants to fly; to the extent that he is reported to have placed an order for his own aeroplane. So Ian’s supporters say Masisi should accede to the demands of the former president, while others ask why it is so important to Ian that the spy guy continues to be on government payroll. They also wonder what it is that’s so important about Isaac to even make Ian this angry when Masisi refuses to hire him.
It is as if removing Isaac from government affairs will cripple Ian, which makes people wonder what it is the two are doing together that should allow them to be working together on the peripheries of government using state resources. So the nation is divided Rra Gaone. You can see le wena gore this does not come any close to the democratic ideals you preached on smooth transition. While you left the presidency and quickly slipped into the background, just as did Festus after you, Ian has held on, and refuses to be forgotten. And I wonder, since you have worked closely with his father, would you say this is what Seretse would have wanted?
Kana this ugly tiff has put the nation on the edge. Akere you know gore gape Ian is a Kgosikgolo? He has now taken to using the bogosi hat when it suits him, to go around the country addressing his subjects on a plethora of issues, some of which are literally political. I mean, not long after he had retired, he went to Shaw Kgathi’s constituency where he literally decampaigned him and instead endorsed some overzealous chap named Kgoboko.
He practically implored the constituents to disregard Shaw whom he labelled many unpleasant things, saying the people should go for the Kgoboko guy who eventually won in a re-run of the party’s BulelaDitswe elections. This has not only upset Shaw, a number of your party’s people were also not impressed, saying Ian wants to rule from the grave by putting into parliament people who will feel indebted to him and therefore would give him everything he wants.
Of course there are those Khama fanatics who enjoyed every moment of Kgathi’s humiliation. I hear the bone of contention, between Ian and Kgathi, is that the latter openly pledged his allegiance to Masisi when Ian had sought his support on matters of security, where Kgathi is minister; and that Shaw supported the move to remove spy man Isaac from his position as Director of DIS.
I hear this stance
This festive period often comes with poor service
Power has always been associated with leadership. In the traditional Setswana setup, royalty wielded a lot of power within the society.
It is quite interesting that despite the powerful nature of master-servant relationship that defined interactions between the magosi and their people, there was never a time when respect for leadership was forcefully demanded. The general understanding was that “kgosi ke kgosi ka batho” meaning that kgosi derives his role from the will of the people he led. This was despite the fact that succession in bogosi was hereditary.
Batswana in their nature were respecting and always worked together for the common good of the society. The general understanding amongst Batswana was that whatever was done for the common good of the community had to be done diligently and jointly. It was expected of every citizen to be part of any work/duty/activity done for either the kgosi or morafe. It was always done through the spirit of volunteerism. If any payment was ever made it could have been in the form of provision for feeding those willingly engaged in such duty.
There was never a time a kgosi would mete out punishment to those who were truant. Society had in-built mechanisms of control. These were times when traditional mephato were used to promote discipline and unity among age mates, who would bring into line their peers who were seen to be wayward. As each mophato had a leader before the matter could be taken to bogosi, such regimental leader had the obligation to bring order amongst his mophato.
This system was beneficial in that all public works were run through this system. Each man and woman knew he/she had to participate in the tribal duties and activities. The kgosi or kgosana rarely imposed orders. This was generally an oiled machine, which carried out the development works within the community. It should however never be assumed that there were no dissidents. Such deviant behavior was minimized by the mophato system, which we do not see in this modernized and money economy that we live in.
Unfortunately in the modern Botswana we have moved on. We no longer live a communal life like our forefathers. We have a well established civil service that is governed by modern rule, laws of employment and conditions of service. These instruments define rules of engagement. We are a people with workers’ rights which are also human rights. Unlike in our traditional setup where labour was provided for no reward, our civil servants are paid for the service they provide. I have no problem with these relations. It is a worldwide practice.
However in this modern society I have heard and experienced the wrath of bad service. I wonder if the public service as it is lately is conscious of the society’s expectations. On a number of occasions those that are supposed to be served are not receiving such. As we prepare for the festive or any holiday, these servants become more of masters than servants. Lately I have heard that even the management cadre of government departments has adopted an attitude whereby they wouldn’t care fokol.
The mood in government offices and other public enterprises during this festive period is that of impatience on customers. Yet conditions of service do not change with seasons. The public expects the same kind of service as has been offered throughout the year. We should have love for our work so that we serve people with love, no matter what time of the year!
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