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Khaman gents, this country is bigger than bruised egos

Joe Brown



Dear Sisiboy

Heela, kana in my letter to you last week I forgot to tell you something. I was carried away by my concerns on the wasteful tendencies of your government where millions of pula continue to be splashed on those luxury BMWs when a little less could be spent on utility Fortuners.

I hope however, that you understood my logic. Especially given that even with the BMWs you buy for the ministers, you still have to provide alternative vehicles when they travel to rough and generally unfavourable terrains. As I said, the Fortuner will go anywhere and you won’t need to spend on complementary modes of transport.

And besides, your political party funder, from whom you buy these BMWs, will have no reason to worry as he is the same guy who also sells the Fortuners anyway. You don’t have to worry about hurting him when you withdraw the use of those German vehicles. Gape ene tota he is supplying you and the government with everything under the sun. I mean anything you can think of.
Where government needs loads of eggs for various purposes, he delivers. Menoto, mala le melala ya dikoko, he is in that business too. Stationery, he delivers. Offices for government to rent, with him you are covered. Almost every car model, he sells. So you don’t have to worry that the guy will withdraw his party funding. He will always be there to supply government with anything, including even water!

Kana these are guys who own this land. I hear he sold one of his luxury cars to that flamboyant advocate-cum-politician for a song – tsaatanki! He has done that too, for your BDP at election time – providing a car for each constituency. Guys with money papa. And make no mistake, they worked hard for it. If only I were a lelope like you, I would have targeted this man a long time ago and I would be a multi-millionaire by now. Which brings me to what I should have shared with you last week.

Heela tlhe rra! Kana you once bragged gore wena o lelope. Let me tell you, o ngwana mo bolopeng morena! There are plentiful out there better than you. Have they shown you the video shared by Ian Khama on Facebook showing Prince a mo lopela? I tell you when Khama shared that video he had wanted to prove something – that ene o na le more and more malata le malope aa ipokang mo Kgotleng tsatsi le penne.

Aaah, Prince ene o worse. That man, I tell you, if he was my friend or brother I would have disowned him. Kana in his short-sightedness he doesn’t realise gore he is burrying any chance you would return him to cabinet after he wins the elections next year. I mean, even Khama himself wouldn’t appoint him to cabinet after that pointless trumpeting.
I tell you Khama must have had fun watching Prince speak like that and even thought: nte ke ba bontshe ba mo utlwe. Kana much of his Vote of Thanks speech at that gathering Khama occasioned to share some soup and bread with elders in GooMoremi, was dedicated to selling his soul to the former head of state – the same one still holding on to the throne despite his sell-by date of March 31 earlier this year.

I tell you the PrinceyBoy was in his element – going on and on about siding with the former, obviously against you. Could it be that he is still angry you dropped him from cabinet after that dustbin money scandal? Kana it was embarrassing to hear a man of his stature speak like that. And this is the same guy who had given Khama about P250 000 as a farewell gift earlier this year. Whatever Khama has made him drink must be very strong.

I hear the guy is working very hard to ensure Khama’s anti-SisiBoy movement stands on its feet. Why the guy allows himself to be used this way beats me. You must have long seen this weakness about him, hence your decision to drop him from cabinet. If it is bitterness he was displaying then it was at another level. It only scares me that he might have kissed goodbye, any chance he had of returning to cabinet. But he claims he doesn’t care anyway. As reckless as his trumpeting was, I wonder if he hasn’t sat down after that to review his words and realise he was an embarrassment even to himself. He even embarrassed Khama, the very object of his exaggerated praise. What will he do and where will he go should Khama come to his senses and finally decide to retire from the leadership position of the party and the nation?

Kana misplaced excitement can sometimes be dangerous. What if you decide to spite him and arrange to have a kgotla meeting in GooMoremi tomorrow? Will he change tune at seeing you or will he continue to say the things he said? I bet his master will advise him to boycott the kgotla meeting the way he himself did when you were in Serowe. These people I tell you, must grow up. This thing they do, even as they say you betrayed them, is a disgrace, and why they don’t see it that way amazes me. People are busy behaving like a jilted lover when they should be proving that their lives do not depend on government positions. I mean, do they not have any other lives to concentrate on and move on?

Batshu has moved on and he holds no grudges. Because he has a life outside political or government office. Botsalo has moved on. DK has moved on. Mogae has long moved on and any headline about him is on helping rebuild South Sudan or about consolidating his position in the Choppies Group. Why can’t these chaps do the same and leave you to govern the country so that we judge you squarely on failures of your own – if at all their aim is to make us see you as a failure?

Right now the nation is divided, more than ever before, and I tell you we are a nation on the verge of a civil war. And all this for what? Greed? A desire to cling on to power? Or perhaps a need to ensure people avoid possible prosecution and to safeguard their inappropriately gathered riches? As I have always been saying over the past weeks and months, I have no qualms that you lied your way up to the presidency – every politician is a liar – I worry more about the civil strife we are facing should this childish bickering be left to blossom. If you lied to become president, fine. We are used to being lied to by politicians. And life goes on. Why should this specific political lie be glorified to a level of polarising the nation?

You say this today, the next day he says something else. The private media writes this today, the next day the fighting president counters it. Kante rraetsho ga se ene a neng a re ene he never reads anything written by private media? And that ene he will never trust the private media? To the extent of even stopping the private media’s lifeblood – advertising. Waitse politicians and their lies! See what I mean? Le wena SisiBoy a ko o itshupe gore you had nothing to do with this private media advertising ban. You have reneged from a number of things you say you did not really believe in. Since the infamous ban persists, does it mean you wholeheartedly endorsed it?

Or now that the man who masterminded the ban is receiving wide unprecedented private media coverage – that even undermines your authority – you have decided to hit back and maintain the ban? I bet you must be shocked too, that the same media is now feeding the mouth that bit them to paralysis. But then again, life has to go on. The media accepted the situation, and the scribes hold no grudges. That’s what these other guys should learn. Jaanong o tle o utlwe – gatwe ba tla ka New Jerusalem to spite you. But I tell you it’s the nation that will feel the brunt. Common knowledge is that the city of Jerusalem has for time immemorial been a hub of conflict and a flashpoint for global tensions.

That place has never known peace and to learn that these chaps are coming up with a new Jerusalem in Botswana must scare us all. War is certainly coming our way. The Scottish battle as captured in Macbeth by William Shakespeare was branded “another Golgotha” (New Golgotha) and there was a good reason for that – the bloodshed as similarly alluded to in the Biblical Golgotha where Jesus and others were crucified.

Incidentally, this place is in Jerusalem, and the Scottish battle that took place long after the epic deaths would later be labelled ‘New Golgotha.’ I shudder to think what might become of us with this ‘New Jerusalem’ upon us. I tell you, we will never know peace in this country. Just like in Jerusalem. What soothes me is hearing that stalwarts in your party are refusing to be a part of this new dispensation. And I hope as you promised while in GaNgwaketse some days ago, you will deal with these national security threats once and for all.

And I also hope their blinded fanatics will make time to introspect, and realise that this country is bigger than bruised egos. Re solofeditse banyana ba le bantsi magodimo, and while they were at the height of blissful expectation, we dumped them for other women. We remain alive because the ladies moved on and did not waste their precious time and dignity by fighting back. O ntumedisetse MmaAtsile foo, ngwana wa ko garona ko GooMadisa.

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Batswana’s sorry lives

Keletso Thobega



For scores of Batswana, life is a mundane routine of trying to make ends meet. An economist once indicated that many Batswana are a meal away from poverty.

In fact the 2016/17 report of Botswana Statistics indicates that most Batswana in urban areas live below the poverty line. Meanwhile, unemployment among youth stands at 23%. The report also indicates that a great number of Batswana earn on average of P4000 while a lot more still live in one-room dwellings. The gap between the poor and the rich is ever widening and incomes are not enough to cover the high cost of living while prospects are few and wide apart.

Thabiso Makatse came to Gaborone in search of greener pastures but has been disappointed. “After two years of unsuccessfully applying for jobs, I decided to move to Gabs from my home village. I did odd jobs – from store cashier to petrol attendant. I also dabbled in entrepreneurship, selling car parts and clothes.”

Faced with taking care of his younger siblings, parents and child, he had to try everything to make ends meet and he is still riding that boat. Makatse says that the stress of being anxious about an income and being unemployed with nothing stable in the horizon had a negative effect on him. “In the world we live in, you only make sense when you have money. Even in relationships it is difficult because women don’t like broke men who cannot take them out or give them money. It can be stressful when a woman expects money for nails, hair or clothes while you are worried about where your next meal will come from.”

Depression brought on by socio-economic stress is widespread in the country. A source at the Sbrana Psychiatric Hospital in Lobatse says that in the past decade, the hospital has registered a higher number of patients, most of who come with stresses related to money, work and other issues affecting their socio-economic status. “Issues such as retrenchment, debt and bad financial decisions in business can land one on their back. We see more people struggling to keep in the socio-economic landscape, and it affects their psychological well-being and brings on mental illness brought on by compounded stress.”

Psychologist Thelma Tlhaselo-Majela concedes that unemployment or inability to generate an income can have a negative effect on individuals. “The most significant is the realisation that one may have all it takes to find a job including wishes and desires to do so nonetheless are unable to work because of circumstances beyond their control. In some instances, the situation may push one to opt for jobs that are far below one’s qualifications thus compromising potential and inner capacity simply because they want to be engaged.

When one realises that they cannot get meaningfully engaged, this may provoke residual effects because employment has some invaluable benefits in balancing the equilibrium for quality life.” She further says that it is crucial to recognise that gainful and fulfilling employment contributes to shaping the foundational state of the socio-psychological and economic well-being at individual, familial and national level.

“It is in our work, job or occupation that we willingly spend long hours of our time and this grounds structural patterns for daily routine hence people deriving corresponding fulfilment for purpose and existence. The disruption of this patterned routine has potential to throw one in a state of chaos and disorientation especially if one is not well-prepared to adjust and handle the situation well.”

Majela explains that when these stressors set on, no matter the existing savings, the financial resources are bound to witness a gradual decline and depletion. The struggle begins in meeting basic needs while lifestyle orientation demands corresponding alterations. The key indicator in the family lifestyle change often impacts on children because some may not fully comprehend what is going on. Lifestyle reorientation may demand moving from large to smaller houses, private to public schools, smaller cost effective cars, humble meals and clothing and these new dynamics may shake the familial structure into diverse difficulties and conflicts.”

Majela explains that our occupations and work spaces constitute the inseparable nature of our psychological identities due to the intra-inter-personal development that happens especially if one loves and enjoys what they do.

“The psychological identity connects with the socialisation processes where we received messages, positive or negative, early in life from people around us. In our daily social activities, the purpose and meaning of life is then shaped by and through the communication we internalise through our social space.” She further points out that being ‘judged’ can worsen the situation in people who are already struggling to make ends meet.

“Anyone who receives verbal and non-verbal communication that undermines their inner worth contributes to the onset of anxiety and depression. The psychological state of rejection, discouragement, coupled with deterioration in hope, pride and self-esteem impacts on mental well-being.” Majela points out that a deep sense of depression expressed through hopelessness and helplessness can throw one into psychological damage expressed through self-harming behavioural patterns such as self-cutting, hair pulling, addiction to alcohol and drugs, sexual and eating disorders to mention just a few. “The loss of employment on the other hand provokes psychological pain leading to grief and bereavement, which can be just as real and actual as loss of death of a loved one.”

She adds that it is not uncommon for people to begin to experience mental health issues because often their thought patterns may become irrational and distorted and may dig into suicidal ideation.
Majela suggests several ways that people with depression related to their socio-economic situation can be assisted that include acceptance of situation. “When people are thrown into chaotic states of life, they unconsciously engage psychological defence mechanisms which often work on short term basis and can be detrimental when applied on long term basis.

These defence mechanisms include denial, repression, reaction formation and intellectualization. The quick psychological acceptance helps to propel one to shift into being open to seeking, receiving and committing to the necessary and available intervention support.” She also recommends seeking counselling and psycho-social support. Majela also suggests transformational thinking with cognitive reordering.

“Any new life orientation bringing change in our lives tends to provoke discomfort and often people are tempted to resist the change. It is necessary for people to challenge their thinking patterns by redirecting, refocusing and re-establishing new ways of processing information. Transformational thinking influences us in relooking at situations sometimes with the ability to let go and forgive which requires a new mindset in looking at situations of life,” she said. She also recommends regular physical exercise, journaling, and spiritual connection.

Majela notes that a stress free life may not be a reality hence it is necessary to have a proactive, systemic and holistic approach to managing socio-economic landscape and its associated challenges to reduce the bumpy impact of life stressors.

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BDP elections in doubt



Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is a party in disarray at the moment, and uncertainty reigns over what the future really holds at Tsholetsa as the 2019 general election looms large.

Tensions abound within the party, with glaring factionalism taking centre stage and prompting a call by some, for the party’s elective congress to proceed without election of a new Central Committee. The BDP’s Secretary General Mpho Balopi has since revealed that party members will use the impending National Council to deliberate whether to hold an elective congress or not.

As per its constitution, the party holds an elective congress every two years. Already, some democrats have shown interest to challenge the current Central Committee members for office.
Even though the party has not given the green light for campaigns, democrats vying for office have started speaking to fellow party members to lobby for votes. The divided party’s break or make elective congress is expected in the month of July at a venue and date yet to be decided.

There have been calls by some democrats for the party not to hold an elective congress, even at their other structures. This year the party is expected to have a Youth Wing elective congress, Women Wing elective congress and a National Elective Congress. This publication has established that there is a lobby for a compromise, but chances of the compromise deal succeeding are very slim, inside sources say.

This is because despite Balopi’s assertions that the party emerged united from the Palapye retreat, there is a strained relationship between the current leadership and some members of the party including ministers, Members of Parliament and Councillors.

Those who believe the current central committee has failed the party are pushing for the elective congress while those sympathetic to the leadership want a compromise. Their contention is that since it is election year, they have to focus on general elections to win with large numbers instead of being distracted by inner party elections.

However the opposing side has stood by the party constitution and wants it to be followed to the letter and respected above all else. In the past, compromise deals were made and elections were avoided at the request of then President Ian Khama.

Balopi told members of the media in Palapye after the party’s retreat that the National Council which traditionally is held in March, would deliberate on the question of the elective congress. “We have tradition as BDP that during election year we avoid elections internally and focus on general elections.

The issue of the youth wing, women wing and national congress will be discussed during our national council,” he said. Balopi stated that the democrats who attended the in-house meeting were on the same page that the matter should be taken seriously because of the impact it could have on the performance of the party in the general elections.

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