MmaV, akere I warned you about the people whom I said did not really care about you but were using you to push their own agendas?
Where were they when you needed them the most last Thursday and Friday at the High Court and in Kang respectively? Didn’t I say in my previous letters to you that their exaggerated support for you was fake and only self-serving, and that you should disassociate yourself from them?
And did you listen MmaV?
You see now what they have done to you? They deserted you during your hour of need and did not want to be seen around you both at the High Court and even later in Kang on Friday.
And I tell you, now that the dust has somewhat settled, they will think you have forgotten about how they deserted you and sweet talk you into thinking that it was just part of a strategy to a bigger picture.
Going towards the congress, they were already dismissing your chances, especially after a number of MPs and councillors you always thought were on your side revealed at the eleventh hour that they were with SisiBoy.
All the other reasons they give for not being by your side are just lies. They did not want the embarrassment of your loss to hit them on the face, especially right under the noses of such flambouyants as that Balopi chap and the Tebelelo woman that you seem to loathe with a passion.
Your so-called allies just couldn’t stand the heat and did as I had always warned you – leave you to burn in Guma’s hot kitchen alone. You should have listened to me MmaV. See how you had to then throw in the towel in shame although you tried to hide it with those flimsy excuses you projected as reasons for your chickening out?
You really disappointed me MmaV. You disappointed even those who supported you. You disappointed the delegates and all those who had prepared a vote for you. You disappointed the masses who were looking forward to an epic contest of numerical supremacy.
You disappointed the opposition party cadres who were rooting for your victory in the hope that you would be easier to beat in October than SisiBoy. You actually even disappointed SisiBoy himself, who must have been looking forward to the contest.
The result would have allowed him to gauge the level of dissent and dissatisfaction against him within the party. Now he will never be sure. You could tell from his facial expression the first time it was announced you had asked your name to be removed.
The way he shook his head, you could tell he was not amused you pulled out. He must have relished the idea of humiliating not just you, but his nemesis Kgama whom he knew all along was the real deal in this contest. And more than anything else, he must have thought: What a waste of resources for nothing!
I mean, imagine the millions you guys put into this campaign. Your combined financial power would have been channeled towards your party’s success at the national polls coming this October. I guess your financiers must be disappointed too, although I have no pity for them because they never stood with you for the sake of You, but for their own selfish reasons.
They were just using you to try their luck at blocking SisiBoy from becoming State President. I hear they now have quickly moved from you to their Plan B of funding the opposition in the same hope of accessing our tourism and mineral wealth in return.
Akere gatwe they realise SisiBoy is introducing economic reforms that will leave them in the lurch and keep them at bay from exploiting our resources? They had hoped your victory would deliver them to Kanana, but as soon as they realised that it won’t work with you, they moved on.
They never really loved you MmaV; they never really believed you could make a great President. And the smart woman that you are, I am sure you knew this too – that these guys didn’t really believe in you.
It’s just that you couldn’t show it. You were already too deep into it that you could no longer hit a retreat of thoughts. Otherwise the nation would have laughed at you, wondering what you thought you had in those two gentlemen in the first place.
That’s why you neither thought much about them when you decided to withdraw from the race. Truth be told, your withdrawal was never really about the race being unfair akere MmaV?
You just had to pick that line for political expediency. The truth is, you saw that the people who had motivated your decision to stand for the position of President were no longer there with you.
Clearly they had realised you stood no chance against SisiBoy and they decided to hide from public humiliation. They couldn’t risk their reputation of being master schemers and perennial winners being trampled upon.
Remember the two guys always see themselves as winners – that they have never failed in any of the contests they have engaged in before. I mean, do you really think Kgama would want people to realise that he is human after all? That he can lose a contest?
He had invested too much into your campaign, wanting to prove that he was more powerful and popular than SisiBoy, and when he realised he was going to lose this one, he hit a strategic retreat.
Otherwise he was going to lose the mental warfare, and people who have always seen him as an invincible would finally realise he was in fact a mere mortal like just like you and me. Now I hear he is sponsoring your refusal to extend an olive branch towards SisiBoy.
Again you are allowing yourself to be used MmaV. For how long are you going to allow yourself to be played by these men? Can you imagine a lot of women saw you as an extension of this patriarchy narrative that has divided national opinion?
Women felt you were pushing the agenda of men and that you had no moral ground to disparage other women for not supporting you. And it got worse when those Sunday Standard guys exposed the grander scheme being put together behind your presidential campaign.
That revelation was bound to damage your campaign MmaV; ke gore there was no hiding from what really was going on. That’s why some of the people who had pledged support for you started backtracking.
When Polson, against all expectation, rallied people to support your rival, the writing was on the wall. Your behind-the-scenes schemes were exposed and many of your people did not want to be a part of the scheme.
But of course your guys read the mood and they quickly slid into hibernation, leaving you to bear the brunt of the cold at the High Court and in Kang alone.
I suspect you might have thought you had it all figured out, only to realise later that your backers were just amateurs in the game, perhaps even playing you to meet their own selfish interests. But I have said this to you before MmaV – tswaa fela mo dilong tse and take a well-deserved rest after your illustrious service to this country.
You don’t want to be remembered as a bitter has-been MmaV, not after the colourful career you have had in both government and politics. Perhaps you feel that this country owes you something for your selfless service – and I believe it does – but at the rate you are going, you will end up being seen as nothing but a selfish and insatiable leader who refuses to let go of power.
And questions will be asked gore why o tshaba go tlogela. Kana the others bone we know what they are scared of. They know what they have done and that is why they want someone – a president – they can control so as go tshaba molelo o tlang. And they chose you to do their dirty work.
And you agreed.
Now that things did not go according to plan, they are on another mission and you will be going back to help push their plan? Nnyaa MmaV, tlogela malele a o ikhutse with your dignity still intact.
Remember you are the one who called this whole thing ‘malele.’ Just as you opted to ‘recuse’ yourself from the malele presidential race in Kang, recuse yourself too, from dintwa tsaga SisiBoy le Kgama, and don’t get yourself involved in the reported dirty schemes of foreigners seeking to plunder your country’s economy. You can’t want to be associated with boBrijete who clearly have a questionable agenda with their backing of Kgama. The way they have dedicated and committed their time, energy and resources to backing Kgosikgolo with anything he wants, ba tlaa go golega MmaV. Tswaa mo go bone before it’s too late. There really shouldn’t be much more to say here MmaV – a word to the wise is enough.
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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