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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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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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