Dear Carter Morupisi
I hope all is well with you Carter, and I pray God continues to keep you breathing for longer in the midst of this raging presidential tussle in which you find yourself entangled.
I pity you Carter. For here you are, caught in between two masters you have to babysit and nurse around their petty squabbles, yet there are thousands of helpless people across the country who also need your attention on pertinent issues. I wonder how you manage to do this Carter. You were everything to Khama once. You pushed his heinous don’t-care agenda and attracted the wrath of especially the civil servants and their trade unions.
Now you have to push the suspect agenda of the sitting President at the risk of being vilified by those who, inexplicably, still worship Kgama and the ground he walks on. Suddenly you have to pretend that you do not know Kgama even as he is the one who placed you in that position in the first place. Your Kgosikgolo for that matter! Yours must be a precarious position BraCarter – the only man in this country who can dare the untouchable Kgama and take practical action against him. All these others ke magatlapa. All they do is talk and talk with no action. Barking dogs that never bite. Wena o mo tsena fela and when you want to remind him who is boss, you simply remove his favourite staff and maids and redeploy them where your heart pleases.
Ha a sena go bokolela you show him gore you can return them to him ga o batla. A bo a didimala. For the 10 years he was at the helm, no one could dare him. Bo Wynter, Motswaledi (MHSRIP), Ntuane, Guma, Pilane and Mangole among others, tried where they could but ended up having to scurry away or being cast aside with military contempt. But not you Carter! Somehow you seem to have a password to his short fuse. You know where to press and things just happen as you wish. Just recently you also disarmed him of the housing appeal fund. I have even heard some people say o a ineelela to treat your Kgosikgolo with such wanton derision.
Others have even suggested you be fired by SisiBoy for stoking fires between him and Kgama. But SisiBoy is obviously smart. He knows you know Khama so well you are the best ammunition he has against him. And so far, I must say, you have done a pretty good job. I hear Kgama says you are clumsy, but that, obviously, is a subjective observation. It depends on which side one is sitting. Over the past years, the same Kgama obviously felt you were doing a pretty good job while unions and civil servants felt what you were doing was clumsy. That’s just how the world rolls!
Saleshando often says “tlhomola o le utlwe.” And I hear you do all this against Kgama because you know a lot about him – that’s why a sa go tshose.I hear that while you respect him for the elder that he is, you nonetheless despise him for having been driven by pettiness when making decisions on issues of national interest in the past, which often made you face the wrath of those affected. Which makes me wonder what you in turn feel about SisiBoy, especially that you have known him even before his epic ascendance. Does he also come about as a petty person? Or as others suggest, is he merely being provoked to return petty with petty? And since you work with both SisiBoy and Kgama, do you ever advise them against this elderly-childish bickering they display in the glare of the public? Aargh, rona we are tired of this ugly public spat they now discharge with brilliant mediocrity every single week.
Masisi is your boss – you form a part of his team of advisors. Kgama is under your employ. You make decisions for him, even as he hates to admit and accept it. In a way, you serve both. And when they engage in this catfight that has now become a perfect bore, you get entangled into it all. You are thus in a better position to advise both to just stop with this back and forth badmouthing of each other.
I suspect ba go tsenya too much stress ka these public jabs tsa bone and now you find yourself caught between your professional obligations and your personal take on everything that it entails. Remind them gore you also have an obligation to the rest of the citizens who need your attention. There are burning socio-economic issues that need to be dealt with across the expanse of this country.
You cannot be seen to be on the alert waiting to hear what Kgama says about Masisi so that you write the “mmuso o ganeditse magatwe” and “mmuso o tshwenyegile” press releases that often take up the larger portion of the national television and radio stations’ news bulletins. Of course you were taught to do these rebuttals by Kgama himself, and now you have to do it against him. So boring now that the rebuttals are about two people who should rather be combining efforts towards nation building.
If I were in your position, I would go to the President and advise him to ignore Kgama as much as possible. Kana as it usually happens in a cold war, Kgama is the one who stealthily provokes SisiBoy into public outcries so that we see the State President as a cry baby. But you see, SisiBoy le ene should just learn to keep quiet and let the people judge. Kana Kgama is a military strategist who understands the art of war better than SisiBoy, and clearly it is Kgama who is meticulously playing his cards so cunningly that SisiBoy is the one who now appears to be the problem. Kana tlherra Kgama has no match when it comes to managing combat.
Masisi can’t win against him – kana ene he has nothing to lose. Silently and sleekly, he pokes SisiBoy into ranting and then he makes it appear like he is only responding to SisiBoy’s words. And gullible as many of us are, we tend to easily fall for it and blame SisiBoy for complaining too much. See how this Kgama guy convenes the many gatherings where he then utters words that undermine the Presidency? See how he trapped SisiBoy into complaining about coming late to functions. Kgama has never been one to be late for any event, but all of a sudden he has to arrive late or not arrive at all where SisiBoy is presiding over a gathering.
Sending an apology was obviously just his way of trying to appear modest when he knew exactly what he was doing. I tell you, if it were him in SisiBoy’s position, he wouldn’t tolerate this lateness, apology or no apology. He knows it is against presidential protocol to arrive at a function after the main man, he just does it to provoke the poor Mokgatla. And boy, Mokgatla le ene is falling for everything. He could do better to ignore all these khamantics and carry on with his business especially that he knows all this is deliberate! And the Kgosikgolo is always quick to respond, and he will always respond in such a manner that he wins public sympathy.
It’s called mind games, and through these mind games, Kgosikgolo is winning more people to his side. Very soon people will believe gore indeed SisiBoy ke ene a dictator and that the current DIS is the worst and most feared as Kgama has so strangely been suggesting. Just imagine Kgama saying these words! Gore Masisi is a dictator and that people are now scared of DIS than during his time as president! These are mind games at work Carter, and you are smart enough to know this.
Advise your boss to just keep quiet. The smart man that he is, he doesn’t seem to realise that everything Kgama and his corrupt allies do is intended to unsettle him to the levels where the nation is going to instead see him as paranoid. Look at the timing of the announcement by MmaMoitoi; it was deliberate. Kgama being behind all this, he knew Masisi would have to react by firing the woman. Kgama would have done the same since no straight-thinking leader can continue working with someone who has practically declared him unfit for leadership. And indeed SisiBoy had to sideline anyone else aligning themselves with the dissidents, because he can’t work with people who have no faith in him.
They will obviously sabotage his programmes. But then, they know when he acts such that he surrounds himself with people who believe in his vision; the nation will see him as vindictive. Mind games Carter. Help your boss out of this. He should stop taking the bait.
Now he appears to be a petty president because of this selfish behaviour by his opponents. This battered yet hopeful nation is looking up to him to emancipate the troubled citizens from a plethora of social and economic burdens while he is obsessed with just one man who is past his sell-by-date. Advise him to bring an end to this and focus on us, the citizens.
We need Masisi more. Remind him that the one person he is focusing on has along with his morally deficient associates accumulated more wealth than this country has already, and that they have nothing to lose when his focus is as derailed as it is now. The rest of us have everything to lose. Le ene seriti se a tsamaya. So please Carter, at least gakolola Rre Masisi. Ignore that other power-hungry one. He is beyond redemption.
*Letter reposted as author is away on leave.
This lockdown is going to plunge many into depression
Dear Mokgweetsi Masisi
Today, Wednesday April 1, 2020, marks exactly two years since you were sworn in as President of this republic, and I wonder how you will be celebrating this milestone while under quarantine. Kana right now we could be coming over there to celebrate with you had you not blundered by attending that State House pool party in Namibia. Your residence would be lit this time, ree ja joy in celebration of your second anniversary since your ascendance to the highest office on the Tswana land. Knowing you, this corona thing would have been shoved aside to allow the world to know gore you are turning two years as President – even after announcing a lockdown on Tuesday. Akere wena you are often thus – you say this, you do the other. Kana gape it would be your chance to show that Namibian President gore le wena you can gather people for a celebration even amidst this state of public emergency. Akere le ene despite global warnings against international travel he decided to host a party and invited you – the result of which you are now in quarantine. I just wonder how Atsile and MmaAtsile are coping with an absent Daddy and Hubby. In fact, we haven’t heard much of our lovely First Lady since you went into quarantine – even at this odd hour when a mother-figure is needed to reassure the nation that all will be alright. O re costile motherlove Morena. Kana if it wasn’t for that reckless trip, we could be seeing her around with you. Jaanong mmanyana gatwe a seka a go atumela shem…
Anyway, it was great to see you looking fit and strong on Tuesday morning BraMEK, and we are glad you are showing no signs of infection. Kana yo mogare e bile ga o tlhaole. It doesn’t care if you are a British Prime Minister, German Chancellor or a Royal Prince. Neither does it care if you are a Head of State, or popular football star or internationally-acclaimed movie star – e ralla anyone Covid-19, rich or poor; black or white and everything in between. So seeing you looking that healthy after that risky Namibia trip has helped reassure us that within the gloom and doom of the socio-economic crisis created by the virus world-wide, there is that silver lining of remembering that it does not just infect unless invited to, and that even when it has infected one, death is not always a given. I realise however that you waited for your anniversary day to pass without impediment before you could institute the start of the lockdown tomorrow. We support your decisiveness nonetheless and promise to abide by the guidelines laid before us to boost our survival chance against this monster of a virus. I see you have even tried to do all in your power to ensure individuals and business entities do not feel the extreme wrath of this Covid-19 and the attendant lockdown. Among the things in your rescue package I see you talk of tax holidays for businesses; access to credit; immediate reconnection of water; decrease in fuel prices; an economic stimulus package; loan guarantees for businesses; restructuring of loans with banks; relaxed payment of insurance premiums for both individuals and companies; provision of a wage subsidy for citizen employees of businesses mostly affected by the virus in order to enable them to retain employees; expedited payments to business entities by government and parastatals … and other interventions intended go fokotsa manokonoko a Covid-19. Yet there are those still in tears Big MEK, who ask gore bone gatwe bone ke ba ga mang. These are the folks who live from hand to mouth, who worry that the lockdown will kill them even faster than the virus itself. Akere Tautona there are people who make an instant daily stipend from clearing the weeds, doing laundry, selling fatcakes, selling cooltime, veggies, sweets and mabudula on the streets as well as those who sell traditional beer? How do they make money for their groceries ne Tautona? What measures do you have in place for them? In your address on Tuesday morning you did not elaborate on that and I pray that by the time this letter reaches you, you would have clarified the matter. Kana these are the people who will not comply because one way or the other, they would have to go out there to hassle. I bet they were wondering who exactly you were talking to when you mentioned the issue of panic buying. You need to urgently come up with a plan for them BraMEK, otherwise they may have to choose between death by hunger and death by corona. Go riana there is one mosadimogolo in Ramotswa who was made to spill away her traditional brew last week, despite having started the fermentation process two days before Trade Minister Peggy Serame decreed that there would be no sale of alcohol. Gatwe mosadimogolo o sale a bedisa ka Tuesday before the ban on sale of alcohol was announced ka Thursday. Her brew got ready for sale on Saturday but your men of the law came hard on her, making her throw it all away. Imagine such instances BraMEK on our oldies who seem to have been left out in your disucusions ahead of the sale ban of bojwala. Others BraMEK say you never even bothered to address their worries against landlords who will still demand rent for their houses despite the tenants not going out to work and make money on the streets. There are also these chaps who depend on our absence from our homes to make a living – the ones who take advantage of our absence to break into our homes to take what they never had to sweat for. Ba re o ba bolaile because homesteads will be occupied throughout the day. They worry that with soldiers and police officers expected to be unleashed on the streets, they may have a difficult time to do any work at night. And in the case these chaps continue to work and flout the lockdown and extreme social distancing rules, what can we expect you to do with them Tautona? Could they straightaway be charged with attempted murder should they test positive for coronavirus? Akere by coming into our homes they would have exposed us to harm? And then there are the ladies of the night BraMEK, although I know you would argue that the law does not recognise them. But hey, they are there and their hassle is real. If you are going to keep their customers under lockdown, how will they survive? Kana e bile these days they are a bit sophisticated – they rent houses from which they operate, where their clients meet them for a roll in the hay. They have to make money for both the rent and their meals. If we don’t aid them they too pose a risk as they might sneak out to go and meet their clients ‘halfway’ and end up infecting each other. As I said earlier, I hope you do something about these forgotten citizens, even if it is it could mean dropping a bag of Tsabana in each household. Note also that suddenly – after you announced the lockdown – some employers out there are beginning to label their traditionally lowly-regarded workers as ‘essential service employees.’ Yet they have nothing to offer them commensurate with the new label. Others are dismissing employees already, claiming the lockdown will kill their business. And with the grounding of public transport vehicles, these companies have no plan how to get their essential service workers to the workplace. Ne kere le bone ba o ba tlhodumele Tautona. And on a more serious note, I worry about our mental health BraMEK. I tell you this lockdown is going to have its toll on the mental health of many. There is too much anxiety right now and there is a general fear of the unknown. With no light visible at the other end of the tunnel, many will be choking in there, worried about the uncertainty of everything including the well-being of relatives, the security around their jobs, the inability to attend funerals of their loved ones… resulting in rising stress levels and possible depression. Some couples will be annoying each other and expect cases of GBV to rise during this period. I hope you will look into such matters to ensure people are given some form of counselling and advice, especially through television and radio. Otherwise we thank you for acting on this lockdown thing sooner than later – although I still feel it should have come earlier. It was always going to be pointless to wait for deaths to go uncontrollably high before we could take the virus seriously. You had no choice but to put us down into extreme social distancing. Mistakes are going to happen along the way, and I hope we will help you go through correcting them amicably together without pointing fingers. And what an opportune time for bonding to happen! Parents will school their children and tertiary students will have enough time to reorganise themselves in preparation of the next time the coursework rooms open. Husbands and wives who all along did not see eye to eye will emerge from this lockdown a lot closer. And during the potentially lonely days, I hope there will be enough and clear communication to keep people at ease. For now it is Goodbye Mr President. Pass my warmest regards to my cousin Neo and her little girl. And sorry about the sleepless nights you and especially Health Minister Lems Kwape have to endure. I really feel for the poor chap; and pass this message to him that we all love him. We see what he is doing and what he is going through. Cheers for now MEK.
This year marks my 10th year as an employee of The Botswana Guardian and The Midweek Sun newspapers, under the CBET Pty Ltd company.
I still remember one afternoon of 2010 when I was in Francistown. I was waiting for my graduation from the University of Botswana where I did Bachelor of Media Studies. I had just started a freelancing job with Mmegi in the Ghetto when one of the Guardian/Sun managers Tlotlo Mbazo called me offering a job opportunity. See, during our time, UB newspaper- then known as The UB Horizon was hyped and big.
We distributed it across newsrooms in the country. In addition to this, one of my former Journalism lecturers Julia Cass had advised us to always cut our articles and keep portfolios and later send them across media houses for opportunities. So when MmaMbazo called me about an opportunity that had come up, I knew she had seen my work that I had submitted a few months before closing at UB.
Coming into the Guardian/Sun newsroom the first days was exciting yet challenging at the same time. I found many male colleagues that were also very loud and pushy. Intimidating. At times, annoying. Some were old, reminding me of the set up in international newsrooms where journalists are older. The 24 year-old me then was timid and emotional…but zealous and curious. I was impressed however by the female journos that oozed energy and passion.
The truth about the media industry is that there was a time when it was male-dominated. Women were thrown into light beats and strong ones were tackled by males. Though it was the case with Guardian/Sun then, seeing the likes of Phemelo Ramaribeng nee Ramasu pursue News was encouraging. Her human interest stories to a larger extent contributed to my love for Human Rights issues.
I worked under the leadership of great men who all shaped my career in special ways. The likes of peculiar Mpho Dibeela who has since gone into newspaper ownership; Mike Mothibi, the sophisticated writer with a passion for farming; courageous Abraham Motsokono who called a spade a spade and not a big spoon; fatherly Ernest Moloi who helped build resilience in me; Mbazo, woman of the board who leads tenderly but with a stern posture; Justice Kavahematui with a very calm demeanor; Joe Brown-Tlhaselo the perfectionist who pays attention to every detail in the paper – in fact it was Joe-Brown who welcomed me the first day by offering me a chair and lunch! And then there is Boitshepo Balozwi, my editor-turned-friend who every now and then blesses me with pearls of wisdom when ‘the devil wants to lie,’ as well as Dikarabo Ramadubu, our moving encyclopaedia.
Still under this list falls Beatrice Mbulawa, the magnificent General Manager who came with a unique style of managing a media house as a finance-steel lady. Joel Konopo and Ntibinyane Ntibinyane have always been deep hence their now establishment of the bullish INK Centre for Investigative Journalism. In 2012, they took me to Amabunghane Centre for Investigative Journalism in South Africa where my mindset changed altogether. That was an investment that I will always use in my Journalism. Douglas Tsiako also deserves recognition for always believing in me. Special mention of Ditiro Motlhabane for always putting me on my toes about my stories as my News Editor.
My colleagues across every department in The Guardian/Sun throughout the decade, both new and old, have been fascinating. The team is a rare, winning breed. Group dynamics is as real as it gets but I can say unfazed, that I learn a lot from every single individual in our newsroom. The energy here is right. It’s amazing.
So much can be said about my decade in our newsroom. Perhaps, my number one lesson is that of servitude. Journalists are servants. They should serve. At church we say EBENEZER – Thus far the Lord has brought me. Thank you.
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