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Beware the turncoats in your camp Sisiboy!

Joe Brown

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Dear SisiBoy

Rraetsho yo ke mo lopelang, without whom I am a nobody, how have you been lately? Kana once in a while I have to keep checking on you especially every time there are issues that have the potential to mentally drain you. As I said recently, I worry a lot about you these days.

The things that have been happening of late, calculated to undermine your authority and perhaps to render you a Cabbage President, should worry everybody around you. I just hope you considered my advice on the food you eat – that is, to ensure that the food you eat is prepared only by my Mmaagwe Atsile. You know what I said – you have so many hidden enemies they might poison you.
I was actually worried maloba when I heard that the other state president – the quasi president – had dropped from your trip to Zim. Akere there had been so much talk about your haters wanting to erase you from the face of earth; and attendant to that talk was the insinuation that the former big spy and his former boss could use some magical and mechanical portions to fail your aircraft while airborne. When I heard you would be flying with one of them it excited me. I thought it was the smartest insurance move you could make to ensure that if you go down, the architect of the downfall goes down with you. That’s why I panicked when I heard that the quasi one would no longer be in the aeroplane with you. I wonder what it is you had done differently to ensure no threat to your grand existence.

But I have to say I am glad you came back in one piece from that God-forsaken land where bombs can be planted at a public gathering the way it was done that day someone else lost a life instead of the targeted Monankakwa. I wonder how you are settling down to the Bulela Ditswe tidings that have since pitted your men against one another. In fact, I hear people are now celebrating that the centre of power has tilted towards the quasi president. Every Tom, Dick and Harry is currently on analysis mode and coming up with theories of why some MPs and Ministers lost in the weekend elections. Diparo, pundits and analysts alike, are busy sharing their deficient learned observations on what could have caused the turn of events. Ke gore where it suits them, they say Nonofo lost because you did not really want him in cabinet and had insidiously plotted his downfall. Where Kgathi has lost, they argue that it’s because the quasi president is in control and you are not. When I question how you would hate Nonofo and still appoint him a minister within your arm’s reach, they argue that yours was actually a smart move of keeping your enemy closer and ensuring you monitor and control his movements.

I do not want to believe that to be true Kgabo. I just think, as I have always said, that these guys are just jealous and do not want to credit you with anything. When I alert them to the fact that Kgathi was always aligned to the quasi president, they argue that being the lelope that he is, he had long switched allegiance to you, which is why the other state president is so bitter he had to go on an all-out attack on him.

I actually hear the two have soured their relations so much that Kgathi is now seeking that the former returns the 9 Simmental bulls he gave to him as farewell gifts. Eish, and to imagine that even without the Simmentals, Kgathi had gone around his constituency canvassing for more gifts for the big Mongwato’s send-off! You guys in politics live a life of lies waitse. I just don’t believe gore so quickly after that, the two are now at loggerheads, simply because Kgathi realigned to serve you as a sitting President? E le gore what had Mongwato invested in Kgathi so much that when he chooses the sitting President, he is then vilified with the ferocity we witnessed recently? It is as if Kgathi committed treason, which then begs the question: what is it that the big guy had hoped to gain by having Kgathi in his corner? Do you now see why I recently said that these guys never really loved you? That they had planned to use you and mislead the nation into believing that they were not corrupt and nepotistic.

Their plan was to always bring in their own flesh and blood as well as their sycophants. That is why when it looked like one of them was going to lose, he fought with every fibre of his being, including seeking recourse beyond the party. It was a do or die for them who claimed to embrace you by handing you the seat. Remember I told you in my last letter that the grand plan for these guys had always been to hand you the seat temporarily; you were meant to last only until they were ready to take the seat back – not even beyond this year.
I mean, what did you make of those early challenges to your presidency? What of the motion of no confidence? And after I had warned you of these, way before they happened remember, potent rumours would then emerge of who was really behind these challenges to your presidency.

Your biggest enemy right now is bigger than just the UDC. The enemy is more within than is outside and of course the situation has to be met with an equally brutal response. I think you did right to bring in your soldier brother back into the system so that he helps you in dealing with the mind of the soldiers plotting your downfall. Kana ke gore some critics of your brother’s re-appointment did not have the full appreciation of what battles you were preparing yourself for. And I still maintain that you continue to refuse to move into the State House maybe until after the 2019 elections. What if their grand plan is to finish you before 2019? And while at that, I hope you have ensured, as I advised, that the food they buy for you is from retailers, wholesalers and producers you can trust. These guys’ tentacles of hate, I warned you, are almost everywhere and I wouldn’t be surprised if they command that special foodstuffs be packaged for you. As it is, they want to drive you crazy. They want to ensure you do not enjoy peace as State President.

Look at how things have panned out now. About 9 of your cabinet ministers have lost their bid to return to Parliament. What motivation do they have now to continue serving the nation with diligence? Their focus has obviously derailed now and instead they are beginning to think of their lives post 2019 election. I doubt they will even care to visit their constituencies again after this. Even the four other MPs who were not in cabinet will just be focussed on how they sustain their lives after the 2019 election. I mean, what should now motivate Sadique to go and address his constituents on anything, in Lobatse when he knows he won’t be their MP in the next few months? The likes of Setlhomo, Moipisi and Molefi will now be seeking to embark on businesses that will sustain them beyond 2019. That is surely going to negatively affect productivity on your men and for the next 14 months your government could be operating on auto pilot. These things should be worrying you now. I bet the quasi president is celebrating now, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he influences those who lost from his stable to just quit Parliament by resigning, so that your party is thrown into the chaos of parliamentary by-elections.

I mean, right now, what can stop Sadique from saying he is quitting Parliament to focus on personal issues? Beware such things could be coming. Or worse, Madigele and Mzwinila? Then you will have to worry about cabinet and the opposition onslaught. I hear diparo and quasi analysts attribute these results to the influence of Khama. I don’t agree with them entirely. From my knowledge of what has been happening on the ground, Molefhi, Butale, Madigele and especially Kgathi, were always going to lose. No such thing as Khama magic on their fate. It’s a fallacy. But even where there could have been that Khama magic, and even where Khama wants to be credited with making some candidates lose, it should show you that you have bigger problems within the party. You are dealing with hypocrites who know exactly what they are doing.

Of course all you politicians are hypocrites, but the BDP hypocrisy is at another level. They are deliberately putting you in a tight spot. You may reshuffle cabinet to address the matter of demotivated ministers who lost the Bulela Ditswe election, but there might be a revolt from them that may cause you even bigger problems. So as it is, you must be careful what you do next. This one here could be your biggest test, the kind that should make or break you. But should you emerge from the current turmoil intact, I tell you nothing else will trouble your presidency. Forget the fabled threat from the opposition.

They are still dealing with their own demons. You should have seen their circus of a rally in Gabane this weekend. The leaders of the same party hitting at one another! Imagine. So for now while they fail to take advantage of your troubles go go tlhobosa batlhophi, put on your combat gear and go out there to fight back. As it is, the political ground favours no one. The smartest will prevail, and with your superior position that comes with free operational resources, you should be the one to come out strong. Gape I trust the political master schemer that you are. Remember, you are the State President, and you are on pole position. So act like you are the President. And you owe no one an apology.

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Rre Masire, your BDP has gone to the dogs!

Joe Brown

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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

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This festive period often comes with poor service

Matshediso Fologang

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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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