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Masisi: which way to State House?

Ernest Moloi

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Let us consider one of the first Ernesto’s of 2018, which was published in January when we returned from the holidays. It went something like: ‘When he relocates on March 31st to the State House, Botswana’s 8th Vice President will make the shortest travel anyone can ever make.

At present our VP is separated by one or two houses from the State House. If he were to enter State House from behind using Khama Crescent, certainly he’d not take five minutes to reach the pinnacle of his political career; but if he enters at the front then he’ll need to use Khama Crescent; join President’s Drive and then Independence Avenue and finally North Ring Road.
Or he may use Khama Crescent; join Queens Road then turn at Independence Avenue and finally North Ring! Whichever way, entering the State House from the front for Masisi is going to prove a long-winded and arduous task, as opposed to the swift and short back entrance!

But, for the prospects it portends, I believe Masisi will prefer the grand front gate entry. He also certainly will want to use Khama Crescent; President’s Drive; Independence Avenue and North Ring route to reach his destination. This seems the most politically-correct route for any independent-minded patriot!

Since he is succeeding President Ian Khama, it’s axiomatic that he must first join Khama Crescent; and as a sign he’s assuming the reigns of Head of State, he must travel on President’s Drive and to affirm his ambitions post 2019, he must join Independence Avenue and finally drive the shortest distance on North Ring to State House’.

It’s significant that as we close 2018, we reflect on these musings. Personally, I am enthralled by President Masisi’s steadfastness. He has since taking the Oath of Presiddency in April 1, 2018 demonstrated through words and actions that he’s a man on a mission.In the aforegoing article, I had posited that rather than enter the State House using the back gate along Khama Crescent, he must instead opt for the long-winded route which, would take him through President’s Drive; Independence Avenue and finally North Ring to the front gate of the State House.

Alternatively he can use Queens Road; Independence Avenue and the North Ring to enter at the front gate. It’s gratifying to realise that up to this day – (I hear the State House refurbishment is work in progress) – Masisi has spurned the back gate entrance and opted for the long-winded front-gate entry to the State House. Although he has not yet executed the grand entrance, it’s a safe bet to say, he wields the ace in the card game. Like a great chess maestro, his pieces are strewn throughout the board threatening a damning checkmate on his opponent, and how sweet is the victory when the vanquished is injustice personified?

The front-gate entrance, when it finally comes to pass, will affirm Masisi’s position as the master of all he surveys beyond any doubt. Then shall he have his foes under his feet; but rather than revenge, vengeance and provocation, he’ll throw his enemies into a vortex of derision by opting for concialiation; pacification and appeasement! Of-course the gullible masses that are swayed to and fro by any and every shifting wind will be yearning for retribution – but he who sits on the throne must embody justice, he cannot be a purveyor of degenerate values!

The signs are evident for all to see; even the blind man can see that Botswana’s train has finally got back on the path to democracy in which citizens have become active participants in their own self-determination.

The blind man sees that even the foreign investor is interested in returning to Botswana; yes, corruption is systemic, but the rule of law promises to restore order, we can hope that justice will ultimately be seen to be served.

We trust in our national security apparatus. We trust it is apolitical and will remain so ad infinitum. But should criminal elements – such as happens when trusted intel officers both in DIS and Wildlife department connive to remove watermarks on rhinos; or when they collude to engineer mass slaughter of wildlife in their campaign to discredit the current administration – if these are proven to exist, we urge that the full might of the law take its course. This is how we sign off 2018, confident in the bright gains promised by tomorrow – we are pathetic optimists if you ask me!

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Bureaucracy impedes youth empowerment – Tshekedi

Keikantse Lesemela

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Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, Tshekedi Khama said government’s bureaucracy hinders youth participation in economic development.

Speaking during the Youth Awards on Saturday, Khama explained that the society has adopted the word bureaucracy and they live with it. “This word has contradicting terms with the way the youth think, this confirms the space between the youth and how we deliver. The honour is on us to deliver an enabling environment, we talk so much, we have had discussions in pitsos,”

He pointed out that, financial institutions have difficult regulations that hinder youth to access funding for their respective businesses. “When a youth approaches a financial institution, the first question would be where is your pay slip?, secondly, what security do you have? And they will say it’s bank regulations. We live in the bureaucracies of these regulations and it has become our DNA,” said Khama.

Over the years, government has introduced programmes that promote youth entrepreneurship, which include financing, capacity building, market access and marketing an outreach. Currently, the ministry is reviewing the Youth Development Fund to improve training of beneficiaries and encourage consortia and cooperatives.

Recently, when presenting the budget for the Ministry, Khama highlighted that the youth cohort constitutes the majority of the population and this is supposed to present the country with an opportunity to harness the demographic dividend. “Their energy, educational level and technology skills should be exploited to propel our country forward,” he said.

He also indicated that the youth is faced with socio-economic challenges including unemployment, poverty, substance abuse and HIV/AIDS. “Therefore we must intervene to give them the best possible opportunities to achieve their dreams and help our country realize the ideals of vision 2036.”

Meanwhile, government disburses P120 million yearly as funding to youth enterprises and about 919 businesses have been funded in the last financial year. The youth have raised a lot of challenges in doing business, including high rentals for operating space, low market access owing to tight competition and limited production capacities.

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Have a clear succession plan for peaceful transition

Matshediso Fologang

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How have we as a people treated succession? Though in our society succession has always been determined along patriarchal lineage, traditional leadership succession has not always been smooth.

There are known stories where families broke up in a battle for succession. Immediately in my mind comes the last split of the Ba-ga-Malete in 1892. The succession was based on the bravery and not on the strength being the first born child. Throughout Botswana many merafe have a history of succession that didn’t follow the rigidity of patriarchy.

Batswana as a people believe that talk is far better than war. Ntwakgolo ke ya molomo. We are a people who would spend a whole lot of time openly discussing a matter before a decision could be reached. Discussions on any matter put before a gathering of family, clan and morafe was never finalised without thorough discussion. All present regardless of their economic strength participated fully without hindrance. Decisions thereat were reached through consensus. Traditional leaders would skilfully announce the collective decision arrived at.

The good thing about this method of allowing all to participate – Mafoko a kgotla mantle otlhe and the Mmualebe bua gore monalentle a tswe lagwe – was basically premised on the principle of what our current crop of men and women who have read big books would call “participatory democracy.” Democracy therefore has never been an imported phenomenon amongst Batswana. Democracy has always been in our DNA. Regarding succession therefore it has always been based on the consensus of the majority.

The leader though selected among the royal family, his character also played an important role in determining his suitability. As we embraced western type democracy we have in our different political homes defined our succession plans. As a nation we have defined our processes of succession. In the age and era where, unlike in our tradition, we have written these, we do not therefore rely on memories. Our forebears relied on memories and nothing was ever in black and white.

However, our forebears knew succession if not properly handled could bring strife and instability amongst morafe. We were then not part of a collective of nations and therefore what transpired in our little morafe did not necessarily impact our relations with other merafe that much. If not handled well it could create a loophole for other merafe to wage a war against the morafe .

If any such person who had been overlooked for whatever reason felt strongly about such decision, he would either remain part of the morafe as a junior leader or migrate with his supporters. Peace would prevail. Even those who had held fort for their younger siblings would want to hand over a united morafe to his successor.

In modern society, a predecessor takes pride in the performance of his choice of successor. Travelling through history one envies the succession of Kgosi Ketshwerebothata Ikaneng and Mokgosi III and that of Kgosi Mmusi and Linchwe II. Such were Batswana leaders who worked together for the better interest of the merafe they led. What now and whither peace and love for the downtrodden?

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