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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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Ag, shame Kgathi!

Ernest Moloi

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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!

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Of today’s men sharing beer with women and children

Matshediso Fologang

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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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