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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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Now BPF calls Khama His Majesty!

Ernest Moloi

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My good friend Biggie Butale has upped the ante in the hazy maze of traditional leadership and politics.

I hear that he is now addressing the Patron of his party – Botswana Patriotic Front – Lt. Gen. Dr. Ian Khama Seretse Khama, as “His Majesty.” Nothing wrong with this if it’s meant as mere reverence for the traditional position that Khama holds as Chief of Bangwato. However, I sense a completely different motive! Biggie is appealing to the gullibility and sensibility of the hoi polloi; he knows that village folks revere traiditional leadership and trust it with their lives. It is much easier to sell Khama as a ‘King’ or ‘Emperor’ if you will than to introduce him as ‘Patron’ of BPF. Most ordinary folk would be confused – it’s best to appeal to their tribal sentiments.

In many parts of Central District Khama is loved as Kgosi, former Army Commander; former President and son of Foundiing President. These titles are etched in the minds of many. But as for Patron of a new party – a party that broke away from his father’s Botswan Democratic Party, that is unheard of; it is sacrilege! But being a smart man, Biggie is quite aware of all these hence his uncanny approach, if some would consider it so.

He must manage the delicate balance of pleasing the masses of the people and maintaining the enigmatic character of his Master! I tell you this requires special, in fact rare skills! But somehow, Biggie’s approach is also fitting like a glove to the hand, in the subtle narrative, that has long held Ian Khama as Paramount Chief of Botswana. Some people have told me that they always suspected that our founding president (MHSRIP) could’ve unknowingly encouraged this narrative when he installed Ian Khama as Kgosi of Bangwato on 8th May 1979 in Serowe, the capital of GammaNgwato! Unlike other Tswana magosi, Khama was draped with a lion’s skin and not the leopard skin as is customary. Magosi in Botswana are revered as ‘Maapara Nkwe’ but in many respects, Ian’s coronation was a departure from this norm.

Further, he was installed Kgosi whist still serving in the army and so on that day, he wore his military uniform! Although in his speech Sir Seretse Khama counselled his son with so much wisdom, telling him without mincing any words that in Botswana there is NO Paramount Chief; that he is Kgosi of BaNgwato only – it will appear that time has completely washed away that counsel. Otherwise how do you explain Ian Khama’s insistence to hold on to both traditional and political leadership roles? As President he derived so much pleasure in reminding some of his subjects in his Cabinet that he was their Chief.

And to this day, although immersed in the murky ‘dirty’ partisan politics he continues to remind everyone that cares to listen that he is Kgosikgolo! And this nomenclature is also problematic, as his father had indicated back then, because it implies supremacy over other tribes. A kgosikgolo is in the true sense of the word, an emperor, one who lords over the whole nation. But problem with Botswana is that we are not homogenous but groups of diverse cultures and languages! Each and every tribe as Sir Seretse Khama counselled, has its own Kgosi! That is why to this day we have Ntlo Ya DiKgosi as an advisory body to the Legislature.

But of-course we understand that Magosi have cried foul that politicians have usurped their powers, but that is a debate for another day – and anyway as a collective in that august house, Magosi have the perfect opportunity to bargain for better conditions of service just like all other public servants! I say this because Kgosi is a Kgosi because of the people he leads (Kgosi ke kgosi ka batho)!
So, we must understand BPF’s interim president Biggie’s newfound title for Kgosi Khama in this light. This thinking was further reinforced in my mind on that day in 2008 when Khama installed Kgafela II as Kgosi of BaKgatla. In his speech I remember him telling Kgafela that as ‘Kgosi of Bangwato ke go roma mo morafeng yo’ – I was stunned that one Kgosi was sending another into another’s tribe.

The question that remained unanswered in my mind then was, to do whose bidding? But there was a twist at that ceremony which was characterised by pomp and pageantry. Kgafela sat regally on his throne as Khama draped him with the leopard’s skin, yet a closer observation would have revealed that he used the lion’s skin as his footstool! When we remember that it was during Khama’s presidency that Kgafela was ‘derecognised’, imprisoned and ultimately fled into exile just because he had dared challenge the Constitutuion of the country – we can now see clearly why Khama wants to remain both Kgosi and politician.

But we don’t know what will become of President Masisi’s overtures – as he has promised to do everything in his means to return Kgafela to Botswana. As for me, I have my doubts that it is meant in good faith, but that it is a ploy to use BaKgatla Kgosi to lure votes for his younger brother, Mmusi, who is a parliamentary candidate for BDP! Whatever happens surely this year promises to be the best, as Khama has told us!

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Of Bundle of Joy and Sisiboy’s broken bromance

Keletso Thobega

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I studied European history in secondary school and Hitler was my favourite subject. I especially enjoyed learning about the Policy of Appeasement.

I recall that one of the textbooks we used had a cartoon that depicted Stalin and Hitler seemingly chatting to each other in a friendly embrace. However, both of them were holding shotguns at the back. This cartoon summed up my views on politics and life in general – never let your guard down because there are no permanent friends in life and politics. Those who have read influential books such as Art of War and The 48 Laws of Power would know that most scholars of philosophy attest that as much as it is good to live at peace with your fellow human beings it is also equally good to be “aware” because it is better to be safe than sorry. Let’s just say that dynamics of human relations can be complex.

This thought came to mind when a picture of our current and former Presidents looking cosy recently surfaced on social media and set tongues wagging. It is a beautiful picture of happy people but it is also loaded when you consider that the two apparently don’t get along. Some people claimed that they are fooling us and actually best friends. So, should they size each other up, hump chests and avoid greeting and touching each other prove that they don’t see eye to eye? And then what?

We all have people we have had fall-outs with or don’t see eye to eye with. But as an adult, you learn to “contain” issues. Ee, botshelo ga bo ratanelwe. Go na le batho ba ba sa re emang sentle. Mme ga o ka ke wa raya motho o re ‘ngaka ya me ya re wa ntowa’ kana ‘ke a itse gore o ne o reng, o dira eng’ jalo jalo. O dididmala fela. Le fa motho a kile a go direla bosula, o mo golola mo moweng, fa o mmona o a ikoba, ga o simolole o sinalla e ka re o hupile santlhoko!

Disagreeing with someone, not sharing their ideology or having a fall-out does not mean that you hate them and you should take the matter publicly even on platforms where it is not necessary to parade your “issues.”

Mind you, despite the said betrayal and deception that prevailed between the two, once upon a time they were in a strong bromance. They worked and spent a lot of time together. As to who is the right or wrong between is a topic you can discuss with your friends over beers or wine.

Despite the highly documented hostility between the two, it would be diabolic and psychotic to expect them to always be at each other’s throats at every turn to the extent of snubbing each other publicly.

Pardon my analogy, but it is like expecting ex-lovers to hate each other because they are not together anymore or former friends to not speak to each because the relationship ended. Relationships start and deteriorate daily; it is no train smash – it is part of life. But civilised people know that you don’t suddenly refuse to speak to the next person; sometimes you just pretend, o ichinamisanyana hela.

At the end of the day you have history with that person and were at some point close to them. Tota motho fa o kile wa tshela le ene ga gona gore o ka mo itebatsa kana wa mo itatola, le fa lo sa tlhole le utlwana. Sisiboy and Ruta’s bundle of joy probably missed each other. They are human after all!

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