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Masisi must stop giving Kgama too much attention!!

Joe Brown

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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.

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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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