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.
Times a changeling’
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.
On public displays of affection and kissing babies
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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