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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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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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