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Khaman gents, this country is bigger than bruised egos

Joe Brown

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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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Gays, Lesbians look up to Masisi

Yvonne Mooka

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Lesbians, gays, bisexuals, trans-gender and intersex persons (LGBTI) want President Mokgweetsi Masisi to allow same sex relationships which to date, are deemed unlawful in Botswana.

Masisi had recently called for the respect and protection of LGBTI persons’ rights at the launch of the 16 Days of Activism against Violence on Women and Children last week. His utterances on the matter, enlisted words of praise and admiration from the LGBTI community would then pen him a letter of gratitude while also laying bare some of their nagging concerns.
“There are also many people of same-sex relationships in this country who have been violated and have also suffered in silence for fear of being discriminated. Just like other citizens, they deserve to have their rights protected,” Masisi stated at last week’s launch.

In their letter directed at the president, members of Lesbians Gays Bisexual of Botswana (LEGABIBO) thanked him for these words, saying they were thankful to his affirmation and mentioning of their ordeals and suffering. The president’s public acknowledgement of violations directed at members of this marginalised community, and his recognition of the discrimination and the resultant fear generated by all these, were particularly a source of inspiration to the concerned group.

These LEGABIBO members added that they are grateful to hear a sitting President speak openly and publicly on the need to protect those in same-sex relationships who have been violated.
“We are pleased that you named aloud the violence that members of our community suffer in their daily lives. We are writing this letter to encourage you to continue your efforts in ensuring that the human rights of all persons are upheld regardless of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

This is an example of good governance and respecting the rule of law,” says their letter. They further urged Masisi to raise expectations within Parliament for zero-tolerance of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, verbal or otherwise, urging his office further to make efforts to decriminalise consensual same-sex relationships, stating that Section 164 of the Penal code, which criminalises such relationships, fuels the violence, discrimination, suffering and fear.

“We are particularly interested in what you will do about this section of the law. Because this unjust law is the basis of violence directed at members of our community, your planned actions regarding this matter are of our primary and highest interest,” stated LEGABIBO. They also impressed upon the president to address the gender markers on their birth certificates, Omang and passports, adding that these markers were problematic and caused fellow citizens who identify as transgender and gender non-conforming to experience discrimination in all walks of life.
On related matters, they pleaded with the president to protect members of the LGBTI community from public violence and humiliation, citing a recent example where a transgender woman was attacked in Gaborone.

Religious leaders were neither spared as the concerned group also called on the president to protect members of their community against these religious leaders who fuel hatred towards them. “While we respect sincerely-held faiths in Botswana, we cannot condone those who preach inflammatory, discriminatory messages towards those who only seek to love members of the same sex,” says the letter, adding that the president should make a statement to all civil servants – teachers, healthcare workers, police and all service providers – that LGBTI people are citizens of this country, and like all other citizens, cannot be denied services available to the general public.

Members of the LGBTI community in Botswana say they are looking forward to Masisi’s leadership and a new approach to issues concerning sexual orientation and gender identity. “In conclusion, Your Excellency, we ask you to make it clear to all politicians that members of the LGBTI community are not amused hearing that politicians who support our rights will lose elections; hearing that we are to blame for lack of rain; and hearing religious and cultural doctrines that seek to disempower us. However, like you, we are interested in open dialogue to promote the human rights of LGBTI,” states the letter.

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AP’s varsity don enters lion’s den

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Senior Lecturer at the University Botswana (UB), Dr Kaelo Molefhe wants to represent the people of Gaborone Bonnington North constituency in Parliament from 2019, and he is convinced he will prevail over the formidable political trio of Duma Boko, Robert Masitara and Anna Motlhagodi.

It is an open secret now, that the constituency will see a fierce battle involving the Alliance for Progressives (AP) represented by Molefhe, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) represented by Boko, Motlhagodi of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) as well a Masista who has indicated that he will be in the race as an Independent Candidate. Although he claims to be unperturbed by the collective political prowess of the other trio, Molefhe still faces a mammoth task of not only ousting incumbent MP Boko who is also Leader of Opposition in Parliament, but also has to convince the people of the affluent constituency that his new party is an entity they can trust with their lives.

Add to that the popularity of the other two contestants. The BDP’s Motlhagodi is an already established politician in the area, having been there and garnering thousands of votes in the area as a candidate of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) from which she has since defected. On the other hand, Masitara has been the area MP, having been voted into the constituency between 2009 and 2014. Although he could not win against Boko in 2014, he was still voted by close to 5000 people. Thus Molefhe will be seen as a minnow – an underdog hoping to do the Donald Trump against the more popular figures of this race. US president Donald Trump was seen as a minnow and was given no chance against Hilary Clinton in that country’s last elections, and Molefhe has such David and Goliath stories to take solace in.

But the constituency itself has a plethora of problems waiting to be unravelled. With a population of 45 688, Gaborone Bonnington North is made up of six (6) wards – Boseja, Diphetogo, Moselewapula, Tlogatloga, Itumeleng and Bosele. A simple random survey conducted in the constituency showed that sections of the community are already unhappy that no Member of Parliament has been able to salvage them from the myriad of issues they have to deal with everyday. They neither had any flattering words for the incumbent, a powerful politician in his own right, thus casting aspersion on whether the new entrant will inspire better confidence. “We really do not know our MP.

The last time we saw him was when he was campaigning for the 2014 General Elections,” lamented a resident, who went on to catalogue their concerns in the constituency. “We do not have a government primary school in this area and are forced to send our children to far-away places like Mogoditshane, which is expensive,” said the resident, pointing also to the dangers posed by bushes in the area, which are a breeding ground for crime, saying they need to be urgently cleared.

Speaking with The Midweek Sun, the AP’s parliamentary candidate, Molefhe, said he was alive to the challenges the residents grapple with, adding that it was the gaping hole of no political action in the area that inspired him to want to go to Parliament to help address the situation. With his uppermost priorities centred around education, especially investing in the youth, he aims to tackle the absence of government primary schools in Blocks 6 and 7 so that children in the constituency can enjoy unfettered access to education.

Molefhe also pledged to address the scourge of drugs and alcohol abuse as well as youth unemployment, which he says have reached crisis proportions in Gaborone West Phase 2. “Among other things, we need to come up with short-term training that will equip the youths of the area with skills,” he quipped. He has in mind equipping youth with practical skills to be able to perform small jobs like fixings electrical faults and refrigeration repairs among other essentialities, which are commonly done by expatriates.

He said AP considers the youth as the key components in the improvement of the country hence, “we need to prioritise and invest wholly in them.” Repeated efforts to reach the other three (3) candidates proved futile as their mobile phones went unanswered, and they could not respond to text messages sent to them.

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