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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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Times a changeling’

Ernest Moloi

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Botswana is gradually reclaiming herself – not necessarily her innocence; we know she has been battered, raped, abused and dumped! Perhaps in her reawakening, she will learn to cherish the hard won values of national cohesion, which for a fleeting moment, were at risk of slipping right through her fingers.

Batswana are better off – they have the best and worst experiences of the peoples of the world to learn from. For example, we know pretty well that the atrocities, carnage, calamity and mayhem of 1994 in Rwanda in which Hutus and Tutsis tore at each other were not a spontaneous mass action.

Neither were the Holocaust in which Jews were slaughtered not the Nakba, which continues to this day with the every day dispossession of the Palestinian Arabs by the Israeli occupation.
In fact we can deduce a clear pattern from all these heinous experiences that they were borne of wilful actions of men and women – despots of the first order who think nothing about nation building but are puffed up with arrogance and self-aggrandisement.

If we profess love for our country, which is often referred to as ‘Patriotism’, we must jealously guard the founding principles bequeathed us by our patriarchs, the same with which they laid the foundations of this republic – and if need be, we must be prepared to die for these principles. True independence is a hard fought battle – independence is not served on a silver platter; it is earned by a people with a fighting spirit, a people ready to become martyrs if only to safeguard posterity and the future of their children!

This nation has for a very long time been deeply divided – the healing process will be gradual, just as the systemic oppression has been. We were divided into pockets of tribes; and through an inherent desire to belong; to have an identity, we clasped on to these tribal fixations to the extent of subverting our new found republicanism with monarchical demagoguery. And every time real politics challenges our moral foundation we find refuge in these fixations in our search for answers. We must however, thank God, for He has never forsaken us – He has always provided a guidepost when it was required, and this He will continue doing until we come unto a common understanding of His purpose for mankind.

In Setswana, there is the maxim; ‘Go kgoberega ga metsi ke go itsheka ga one’ meaning that conflicts are not permanent features but passing phenomena in human existence. There is a time for everything and indeed there is nothing new under the sun! The greatest lesson we can ever learn is that the human race must love one another and live together. It does not matter what skin pigmentation you or I bear – we are all human/ homo sapiens; that is why we are able to breed across the colour divide.

Therefore this imagined barrier that separates one against the other on the basis of skin pigmentation is a farce for the worst ignoramus. Likewise, we are none the wiser if we allow material wealth to define our human relationships. We must transcend these worldly possessions because they cannot satiate the hunger that the soul yearns for companionship and fellowship with a kindred spirit.

Therefore, we can only hope that Mma V will find it in her motherly heart to let bygones be bygones, to bury the hatchet with her nemesis, President Mokgweetsi Masisi and let sleeping dogs lie in the best interest of the country at this critical juncture. She has it within her power to end this fight. It’s really flabbergasting and incomprehensible that delegates can attend a regional congress; make nominations for presidential candidates and later claim they did not know about the election that followed and in which they were active participants.

This is a classical joke. It gets out of hand when tribal elders then call a political meeting outside the sanction of their party to try and undo the electoral process of a political party. In one word, such meeting is tribal and has nothing whatsoever with political affiliation.

In any case when a ward, cell or branch of a party feels aggrieved it does not seek recourse from the village elders, but instead uses the laid down party structures to resolve the differences. What we witnessed this past weekend was the worst form of tribal politics; a last ditch effort by a vanquished faction that risks becoming irrelevant, to seek public sympathy. Mma V; Ian Khama, Moyo Guma and all the other BaNgwato tribesmen must pick up the pieces and throw their weight behind the leader of the BDP and the nation for both their own good and the good of the country at large.

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On public displays of affection and kissing babies

Keletso Thobega

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I was listening to Kim’s show on DumaFM a few weeks ago when she was discussing public displays of affection, commonly referred to as PDA.

I found her views and those of her guest and listeners quite interesting. It is one of those topics that people won’t always agree on. In traditional Botswana, public displays of affection such as kissing and hugging are not common. A handshake or slight touch is as far as it goes. Although things are changing in modern times, Batswana are still not the most affectionate or romantic people, and often refer to certain practices, public affection included as “dilo tsa makgoa.”

I personally don’t mind occasional affection but I am not the ‘touchy huggy’ type. I’m conscious of people getting too close to me because I relish my “space”. I prefer to be affectionate with my loved ones, a few close family and friends. Affection is OK and even research indicates that it is good for one’s mental and psychological well-being. But while a simple hug, pat on the back, slight touch or holding hands is fine; some people take it to different levels and their affection borders on intimacy.

There are people with silly tendencies who seemingly use affection as an opportunity to flirt and entice others sexually. You know those people who are a bit too affectionate, and even if they don’t know someone they’ll be all over them like a rash, motho wa teng a batla go go tlamuka o ipotsa gore o ire jang tota! Motho wa teng o tla bo a susumela, a gagamatsa mmele a nnetse go shenama e ka re o tla re: “A ga re potele ka kwa?”

These random “hugs” are controversial. When the person steps in for a hug, the crotch comes before the body and they hold on tightly, sometimes with their eyes closed and you wonder, is this a hug or foreplay?  Hugging or touching people in a civilised manner is fine if they have no problem with it but there are boundaries. This brings me to the point that we have a social habit of picking up, playing with and kissing babies.

There are ways to amuse or play with a child without kissing them. If the child is not yours… e se wa ko ga lona, please, don’t kiss them. No offence but we don’t know where your lips have been. Children have weaker immune systems so a touch of germs and bacteria can spur illness. I recall this one time I was travelling on a bus and one young lady next to me was seated with her daughter, who was probably two-years old or so. The energetic tot kept the passengers amused with her antics and baby talk. She later got restless and started crying.

Her mother struggled to calm her down. Then this one middle-aged man seated on the opposite seat reached out for the child and started hugging her. He then exclaimed: “Suna papa!” and proceeded to put his dark nicotine-stained mouth to the child’s lips!

He lifted the child and made her wiggle before planting yet another wet kiss on her lips and coddling her. I was horrified! All I could see was a paedophile. The mother was also clearly uncomfortable as she grabbed the child from the man. Look, maybe he meant well… or not.

But his behaviour was the modus operandi of a paedophile – he was too affectionate. Kana these people start off kissing people’s children and then next they start touching them inappropriately ba itekanya a mmitsa mosadi wa gagwe. A re, Suna papa…Heedu, tlerere!

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