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All Hail Kgama, Hail To Thee Kgosikgolo Ya Bangwato

Joe Brown

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Dear Kgosi Kgama

Dumela Kgosikgolo! The message of your weekend meeting at the Serowe Show Grounds only reached me today and I am sorry to say I will not be able to make it. But I am happy to note that you are now making considerable steps towards taking your place as a Bamangwato Kgosikgolo and in the process doing away with these stressful and draining politics that have seen you lose your dignity and respect among a sizeable number of Batswana. Kana in politics anyone can say anything to anyone, and nobody cares if you have been an army general, president of a Kgosi. Ba go pagama fela jaaka ba batla, and there is usually little you can do about it. This is the reason I have never believed you could make it as a politician, because there, it’s everyman for himself and God for us all. Your right-hand man Guma Moyo recently captured it well when he said politics is a dirty game, and that if you find the kitchen too hot to handle, it is always best to quit. Please Kgosikgolo, as you gather the Bangwato from across the country this week, I pray that you tell them you are quitting not only the BDP but politics in general. No new party for you, no joining of any opposition party. This politics-thing is not your game Kgosikgolo and you are too big a personality to be allowing yourself to be made a holding platform of vile excretion from some who are even as young as would be your grandchildren had you been blessed to have some. Imagine if after handing over the presidential baton to SisiBoy you had receded into the background and avoided being as active as you have been in politics – you would still have your dignity intact, and the number of people according you utter respect would surely be higher than they are now. Over the past year, I have been saddened by the foul terms and expressions that were used to describe you – a thing that would never have happened had you gracefully retired out of active politics soon after leaving the presidency. You have been called all sorts of names and assigned all manner of descriptions – crybaby, dictator, powerhungry, warlord, spoilt Brit, vulture, rebel, selfish and most of all, bitter! That’s what people call you. Ba re oa tapeya – whatever that means. Kana days leading to your retirement as President, everyone held you in high regard, with especially Bangwato happy that you were finally coming back to Serowe to claim back what is rightfully yours. People at the time described you with beautiful words and expressions, almost always likening you to God Himself. It is for that reason everyone wanted to give you a goat or donkey where they couldn’t afford a cow or car. Everyday you received all manner of offerings that should have made you happy to go to your farm and relax in peace. Right now you could be taking from those collectives and giving back to your morafe in what has been understood to be your philanthropic nature. Now with your continued meddling in the politics of the BDP and the opposition, you have relegated yourself to a pitiable crybaby always seeking sympathy from the public, and always appearing like you have not gotten used to having someone else as your President. That’s why people say you are bitter and selfish. They say you are a self-centred man who just cannot accept it when a Head of State does not accede to what sometimes are unreasonable demands from you. You see Kgosikgolo, you should never have tried to be SisiBoy’s puppeteer. You should never have tried to make him do things only your way. You would have enjoyed your peace I tell you. Because you would never have had to live with the humiliation of being rejected on your demands. I know you all too well Kgosikgolo – you have never been one to be told No. You have never been one to allow anyone to tell you how to live your life although wena you had made it a habit to determine how people should live their lives. Now when SisiBoy wanted to remind you that he was The President and that you could not order him around, you took serious offence and you have since then vowed to make his life a living hell. Now you see, you have as a result spent all of your first retirement year expending all your energies on punishing SisiBoy. It has never been about SisiBoy being a bad person as you would want your people to believe nowadays. It is because from the very first time he refused to accede to your demands, you felt offended. You know from the bottom of your heart that SisiBoy is a great guy with good intensions, but your conduct towards him has turned him into the monster many see him to be. He has only had to react to what you were doing to him, and because you do not like to be defied, you continued putting more and more pressure on him, forcing him to fight back more and more. And now he indeed appears to be intolerant, even worse than you have ever been, because all he has ever had to do was to fight back with any form of might he could use. Just as the BDP created the monster in you, so have you aided in turning SisiBoy into the ruthless guy we see him to be today. Kana golo fale what did you say about him when you were going around the country parading him in front of Batswana as your trusted successor? Let me quote you verbatim Kgosikgolo: at one of your gatherings to bid Batswana farewell, this is what you said: “I will never stop or grow tired of thanking Masisi because he has been a rock by my side, someone I have always found extremely dependable. I have never ever, at one minute, regretted having made him my Vice President and you will never ever regret having him as your President.” These were your exact words to Batswana. And if now SisiBoy is the monster you suddenly want us to believe he is, Kgosikgolo, you are responsible in every way for his sudden change. Remember you imposed him on all of us, beginning at your party. Even when some did not think he deserved the presidency, you showed them that your decisions as President could not be challenged – a privilege you do not want to accord SisiBoy today. You harassed him from the very first month of his presidency, forcing him to fight back and eventually look like he is as dictatorial as you were. And it’s sad that when you often label him a dictator, you forget all of these – that you are the one who made him. In the end, you have caused among Batswana a division of loyalties. Because you see, you have thousands of these blind followers who have fanatically revered everything about you from as early as your army days when you could turn yourself into a housefly. These are the people who like you, would not even want to see, hear nor believe that anything bad that you do is actually bad. Even when you have been accused of extrajudicial killings of some citizens in the past, these fanatic followers of yours have defended you and justified what you did. Even the beer and clubbing lovers who were actually hurt by your cut on drinking hours defended your actions because as I intimated, they so love you blindly. When it comes to you, they neither see nor hear any evil. To them o mong wa mmu; mong wa lefatshe; and nothing negative about you is going to be true to them. I tell you even if you could shoot their relative dead, they would still defend your action. And there are many such people who so blindly follow you in Botswana right now, which makes it difficult for SisiBoy to be seen by everyone as the good-intensioned person that he is. And kana this SisiBoy chap has his own followers too – mostly the more sane and objective who tell him to his face when he does things wrong. The likes of Polson. I bet you might have been shocked just before the Kang congress when this Polson Majaga chap rallied people to vote for SisiBoy instead of your chosen candidate MmaV – because the same Majaga had been vocal in criticising SisiBoy whenever the President had derailed. And there are many such followers of SisiBoy around the country too. Which is why the nation is divided – your followers and his. And now here is the problem: his followers are insulting you. Your followers are insulting him. All manner of vile words are used to describe you two. But with him, it is understandable. He is just a commoner who really has no claim to royalty in the manner that you have. Wena you are Royalty and the incessant insults on you do not sit well with me and many others who think like me. Kana you are not a nobody Kgosikgolo. You are royalty and should be accorded that respect and honour. But for as long as you are going to continue meddling in political battles, you are going to lose the respect and dignity you deserve by birthright. They will not stop insuting you. So it is my prayer Kgosikgolo, that as you gather your subjects in Serowe this weekend, it will be to tell them you are finally leaving politics altogether, and that you are shifting to serving them from the Kgotla. That way, I tell you, you will get your dignity back. Everyone else will restore their respect for you. The insults will go. Politics is not for you MongWame. These political games will only drain you mentally. You have had your time in politics – you have gained a lot out of it. Now it is time for you to quit before you end up losing everything. I am actually encouraged by your recent snubbing of the BDP functions – it shows that you no longer want to be in politics. You didn’t attend the congress in Kang; neither did you attend their manifesto launch this past weekend. Why would you if you knew you wouldn’t even campaign for the manifesto? And the fact that you are calling Bangwato, it gives me hope that you are quitting this dirty game of lies and deceit to serve as Kgosikgolo only. While there, please don’t talk politics. I pray for that; I pray for your dignity. Just quit gracefully Mmabatho. Of course I remain curious what it is you now want to say or promise your people that you have failed to do in the ten years you had powers to make things happen. Botswana Television won’t cover the meeting I know, and so I will listen to you on one of the private radio stations. Adios Phuti!

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Bureaucracy impedes youth empowerment – Tshekedi

Keikantse Lesemela

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Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, Tshekedi Khama said government’s bureaucracy hinders youth participation in economic development.

Speaking during the Youth Awards on Saturday, Khama explained that the society has adopted the word bureaucracy and they live with it. “This word has contradicting terms with the way the youth think, this confirms the space between the youth and how we deliver. The honour is on us to deliver an enabling environment, we talk so much, we have had discussions in pitsos,”

He pointed out that, financial institutions have difficult regulations that hinder youth to access funding for their respective businesses. “When a youth approaches a financial institution, the first question would be where is your pay slip?, secondly, what security do you have? And they will say it’s bank regulations. We live in the bureaucracies of these regulations and it has become our DNA,” said Khama.

Over the years, government has introduced programmes that promote youth entrepreneurship, which include financing, capacity building, market access and marketing an outreach. Currently, the ministry is reviewing the Youth Development Fund to improve training of beneficiaries and encourage consortia and cooperatives.

Recently, when presenting the budget for the Ministry, Khama highlighted that the youth cohort constitutes the majority of the population and this is supposed to present the country with an opportunity to harness the demographic dividend. “Their energy, educational level and technology skills should be exploited to propel our country forward,” he said.

He also indicated that the youth is faced with socio-economic challenges including unemployment, poverty, substance abuse and HIV/AIDS. “Therefore we must intervene to give them the best possible opportunities to achieve their dreams and help our country realize the ideals of vision 2036.”

Meanwhile, government disburses P120 million yearly as funding to youth enterprises and about 919 businesses have been funded in the last financial year. The youth have raised a lot of challenges in doing business, including high rentals for operating space, low market access owing to tight competition and limited production capacities.

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Have a clear succession plan for peaceful transition

Matshediso Fologang

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How have we as a people treated succession? Though in our society succession has always been determined along patriarchal lineage, traditional leadership succession has not always been smooth.

There are known stories where families broke up in a battle for succession. Immediately in my mind comes the last split of the Ba-ga-Malete in 1892. The succession was based on the bravery and not on the strength being the first born child. Throughout Botswana many merafe have a history of succession that didn’t follow the rigidity of patriarchy.

Batswana as a people believe that talk is far better than war. Ntwakgolo ke ya molomo. We are a people who would spend a whole lot of time openly discussing a matter before a decision could be reached. Discussions on any matter put before a gathering of family, clan and morafe was never finalised without thorough discussion. All present regardless of their economic strength participated fully without hindrance. Decisions thereat were reached through consensus. Traditional leaders would skilfully announce the collective decision arrived at.

The good thing about this method of allowing all to participate – Mafoko a kgotla mantle otlhe and the Mmualebe bua gore monalentle a tswe lagwe – was basically premised on the principle of what our current crop of men and women who have read big books would call “participatory democracy.” Democracy therefore has never been an imported phenomenon amongst Batswana. Democracy has always been in our DNA. Regarding succession therefore it has always been based on the consensus of the majority.

The leader though selected among the royal family, his character also played an important role in determining his suitability. As we embraced western type democracy we have in our different political homes defined our succession plans. As a nation we have defined our processes of succession. In the age and era where, unlike in our tradition, we have written these, we do not therefore rely on memories. Our forebears relied on memories and nothing was ever in black and white.

However, our forebears knew succession if not properly handled could bring strife and instability amongst morafe. We were then not part of a collective of nations and therefore what transpired in our little morafe did not necessarily impact our relations with other merafe that much. If not handled well it could create a loophole for other merafe to wage a war against the morafe .

If any such person who had been overlooked for whatever reason felt strongly about such decision, he would either remain part of the morafe as a junior leader or migrate with his supporters. Peace would prevail. Even those who had held fort for their younger siblings would want to hand over a united morafe to his successor.

In modern society, a predecessor takes pride in the performance of his choice of successor. Travelling through history one envies the succession of Kgosi Ketshwerebothata Ikaneng and Mokgosi III and that of Kgosi Mmusi and Linchwe II. Such were Batswana leaders who worked together for the better interest of the merafe they led. What now and whither peace and love for the downtrodden?

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