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Beware the haters and schemers Bra Tony!

Joe Brown

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Dear Masunga

My man, kana I never really got to congratulate you on your grand ascendance to the summit of the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) management structure. I am sorry to have taken this long morena; it was not out of any form of malice. No, I am not even jealous. Things got too hectic it slipped my mind to extend a word of encomiums. Well done Rre Masunga, not many have managed to land that position as the BTC Managing Director.

Batswana have struggled to land that post, but wena you got it without a hassle. O skhokho Tony. Whatever charms you use, I must seek audience with your Matwetwe – ga se wabana. I hope he has adequately prepared you for the attendant burden of being at the helm of such a big organisation. Not so much the work load and other responsibilities that chiefly call on you to give the corporation the right direction, but so much more to do with those jealousy mongers hovering over your head with their PhD analysis of your work. And by PhD I do not imply that the analysis is borne of academic intelligence, I am talking about the Pull-him-Down (PhD) invalidators.

Akere you know them – they are always there around people who make it in life. Not for any measure of support, but to keep checking you out on your flaws and ready to pounce and accordingly ill-appraise you behind your back. I was at that august occasion where you and your lieutenants shared the corporation’s performance report for the preceding year. You should have heard some of the remarks the invalidators were making on the sidelines. Baloi ba! From their mouths poured rumours and allegations, claiming and insinuating that ever since you took over from that Paul Taylor guy, the corporation is going down.

I remember looking at them and wondering: kana even if the corporation was doing better, they would still find something negative to say. And I tell you they did. Later when it was announced that the company’s fortunes were on the rise, they started pouring scorn on everything you do, saying o lelope that wormed its way up the ladder and that you were filling most management positions at the corporation with folks from the northern part of Botswana.

Whatever that means!
They alleged pockets of nepotism and favouritism and that you were targeting southerners for the hovering retrenchment axe at the corporation. I just wonder what these people want of you. In fact, I wonder why people always have to find something negative to say about their leaders, especially those appointed on merit. I know you are aware of these things that people say, and I pray you ignore them and walk about with your head held high. Gape wena you have evidence that those removed were flouting the rules.

I have never heard of a court case since your appointment, where someone took the corporation to court over unfair dismissal; but I know plenty that happened before you landed the top dawg position. I hear from some guys that dumped you for BOFINET that you were even brave enough to kick out some top HR woman for alleged nepotism and cronyism, as well as that notorious football guy for alleged acts of misconduct that include conflict of interest. They say they were wondering how the former football spin doctor was roped in at the corporation in the first place, because, as they claim, he is well known for messing up at any organisation he has joined, and that he has never left any employer without controversy.

And kana these guys at BOFINET left the corporation before you became the top dawg. Yet they want to insinuate you were the reason they dumped BTC and that the sacked football guy was there because of you. And I wonder: are you the one who employed that notorious football fella in the first place? Why then do they want to pin his misdemeanours on you? Kana when people don’t approve of your promotion they will find every reason to discredit you. They will even say just because you are not married, there is no way you can master the art of managing employees or running an organisation.

Batho ba!
I wonder who they feel should have been the BTC MD. Perhaps they would feel more empowered if led by a lekgowa. Kana they now blame you for the retrenchments at the corporation. How could you be responsible for a decline in fortunes within just months of your ascendance? Are you the one who created the many redundant posts that had been at the corporation? Are you the one that crafted the pay structure that they claim allowed some people there to earn a fortune for doing nothing?

Kana Batswana – when they are jealous of your achievements, they can conjure up anything and everything that can eventually land you in trouble. Thus I do not envy you Tony. But you are a man, and I know you know what you have to do to turn the fortunes of the corporation around. It’s a tough call I know, because should you do what you know has to be done, they will be labeling you the bad guy – when in actual fact you would merely be trying to correct the miscalculations of those who came before you. Ke gore wena you are like SisiBoy who came in finding things in a mess and having the big task of correcting them. Now things have become complicated for the new president because when anything happens that is within law, like the recent arrests and BURS raids, motho wa Modimo is accused of using state apparatus to settle scores.

I guess people would rather have him ignore the ills of the past regime for fear of being labeled vindictive. I realise you are now in the same boat. Kana now everybody is making noise about how you were deeply entrenched in the alleged corrupt practices of that deposed Kgosi guy. Gatwe rra you facilitated off the book, some of the technologies he is now using to spy on everybody, including his visual access to State House and Mosu among other places. Ke gore gatwe even the controversial matter of his shares in BTC is of your doing. Akere now the bitter ones you recently retrenched are spilling the beans about your alleged shady deals with the former DIS boss. Whether the beans are the real makoya or not only you can come out to clear the air. Go buiwa ka bo central data capture base rra – gatwe through this you were aiding the guy to have access to all internet traffic happening in Botswana gore whatever we communicate, ene a bone from the comfort of his phone a le ko Sentlhane.

Mme fela ga nka botsa BraTony, golo mo Vee Set rra, go tewa eng? Am I even writing it correctly- VeeSet; VeeSat; V-Sat or V-Set? Ke eng ga nka botsa? From those who kept whining about how you unfairly kicked them out of BTC, I have heard them say you accorded the former DIS boss such a service at all his farms, and that the VeeSet or VeeSat thing is just what the guy needs to be able to see and hear people anywhere in the country irrespective of where he is.

Banna tlhe lo tshotse di technology tse di serious.Ke gore gatwe even as I type this, he could be reading as long as I am online. Maybe it explains why recently at our workplace someone from whom we were expecting some related exposé came to report that the whole thing just disappeared from his computer. Not even our best IT guy could retrieve it. But that is beside the point. I only wanted to let you know gore rra, you seem to have hurt a few people out there who do not care what they say about you and where they say it.

Sometimes I feel gore they deliberately want to put you in trouble these guys. Kana they suggest you are part of the reason SisiBoy refuses to enter the State House because that guy and his associates are capable, thanks to the technologies you allegedly accorded them, to see and hear all evil or good coming from Parley, NtloYaDikgosi, State House, Mosu, DIS offices and everywhere else they so wish to see and hear.

In fact, I gather that even the new DIS boss has refused to use the old office that was used by his predecessor, simply because matlhale a BTC technologies tsa off the book are according the old guard access to the offices as well. I never knew you lead an organisation with so much espionage capabilities. If I were your partner or child I would avoid using a BTC simcard. Ng-ng, O ka fetsa le motho. That is if these guys talking about you are telling the truth and not merely exaggerating your credit in what is taking place in the country.

Should that be true, I see you being removed from your position soon – by hook or by crook- because you will be seen as an accomplice to treasonous activities. This off-the-book terminology actually worries me – I just hope wena o clean and that we will not hear of your resignation soon.

My take, however, is that you be proactive on the matter and clarify these things. Re lapisiwa ke batho ba ba mafufa who would just love to see you ousted. If indeed you know you did anything in unconventional manner relating to the well known and epic national standoff, come forth BraTony and just say what wena you know. I know I heard these things from people who have everything to hate you, but then again, as they say, where there is smoke, there definitely is some fire. Quell the fires Bra Tony – lots of Love to you and family.

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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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