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When dealing with Kgosikgolo, tread with care

Joe Brown

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Dear Comrade Duma

Your Comradeship, I write to you with a deep sense of discomfort regarding the latest tidings emerging from the Gammangwato capital – more specifically that circus event aptly staged at the Showgrounds of Goo Konyana ward in Serowe.

I am aware that apart from your congested schedule of star rallies to plan and to attend, you also have taxing engagements that should eventually see you reunite with your two beautiful flying machines grounded recently by some jealous mongers.

But I ask that you give me audience for just these 5 minutes before you can resume with your tight schedule. You see Comrade, I grew up admiring everything that you are – your contagious eloquence; your unique dress sense; your caustic wit; your orgasmic looks… and every other compelling trait about the enigma that you are.

The only thing I ever disliked about you Comrade was your penchant for exposing my comprehension deficiencies whenever you addressed meetings and you communicated in this bookish language I often found confoundedly obscure, tortuous, loquacious and aggravatingly verbose.

Oops, pardon me if I begin to sound like you Comrade – this train of diterme is not my style. I am one to communicate in very simple and easily understandable language.

The thing is, I sometimes left that Mmadikolo’s Student Union Hall having grasped very little of what you, my SRC president of the time, would have said to us in those student body meetings.

It never made sense to me why you spoke like that, using a string of intimidating words that always left us all bewildered and bemused. But I have to say, you are still a great man and my admiration of you actually grew stronger when you successfully managed to trudge through that rubble of the BNF shenanigans strewn across the political plains to frustrate you out of the party.

More admiration followed when you further showed astute leadership through the turmoil that despite all else, eventually gave birth to The People’s Project – the UDC. What a dream you, Motswaledi, Ndaba and significant others had for the nation then!

I actually miss that euphoria you and Ndaba occasioned in 2014, giving us all hope that the treacherous Kgosikgolo’s regime as you labelled it at the time, would be a thing of the past.

It’s a pity Dumelang and his lime loyalists betrayed the struggle then, allowing the loathed Kgamaniacs to continue to this day. Looking back to that wasted opportunity with a sense of regret and anger towards the lime troops, I sit here wondering what would have become of this country over the last five years.

Kana right now I would surely be addressing you as His Excellency President Duma Gideon Boko, chanting the Ha e duma ea dumalana slogan and also singing along the Indaba yami I’striaght jingle.

Dums o kile a re bolaa Comrade, but I am glad he has finally come back to his senses and has joined hands in the struggle. My only worry now is that while you did well to coax Dums back under the umbrella, you have since spat Ndaba out of the attendant shade of hope.

I have said it before Comrade that in dumping Ndaba you have made a huge blunder, for here was a guy who together with his lieutenants complemented your every political being so well you were assured of a stint at the State House this time around, especially with Dums also back in the fray.

Obviously Dumelang brings with him the numerical strength that should surely bolster your chances of waltzing towards the First Residence, but this would have been even more potent had the People’s Project remained intact in the form that it was in 2014.

Truth be told, this Dumelang chap and his loyalists remain your undeniable trump card towards the fruition of your presidential ambition.

He is smart, dignified, intelligent and commands a lot of respect although he nearly squandered it all when he recently goofed with his remarks that suggested that Diploma-holding teachers who went to expensive basic education schools are underachievers.

Your decision to rather side with him than Ndaba was a wise move as the numbers he commands are by far superior. Yet, as I earlier intimated, I wish the likes of Ndaba, Mangole, Mmolotsi, Butale and others, were still a part of the People’s Project.

But then again, we can’t go on and on crying over spilt milk, can we? We have to focus on the present and the future. Which is where I want to air my discomfort, especially given the outcome of the Konyana ward meeting and the attendant social dialogue that to me suggests you could be compromised.

Please Comrade, I hear Kgosikgolo told the Showground gathering that he would rather Bangwato vote for you than cast their votes towards SisiBoy’s retention of the presidency.

Good for the UDC but Boy, I wish you tread with care. Forget the notion that in politics there are no permanent enemies – this notion I tell you does not apply with everyone.

There are just some enemies you can’t even think can any day become your friends unless they do so to use and dump you when you are no longer of any use to them.

Several times I have watched the Tom and Jerry tales. The only time Tom goes into a pact with Jerry is when they are temporarily plotting against a common enemy, but as soon as Tom has gotten what he wants, he quickly resorts to fighting to devour Jerry at all costs. The legendary feud resumes as soon as the common enemy is defeated.

So Comrade, if you are going to be tempted into this desperately conjured-up bromance, just ensure that you do not end up on the losing side.

Already I hear talk of someone borrowing your flying machines and I know the trick to use you has already begun in earnest. They say a leopard never changes its spots Comrade, and I dare add that I have never heard of a vulture trading its wings.

My darling MmaV ignored me when I warned her against allowing herself to be similarly used, believing that in The Big Chief she had everything under control. Owai, kae re ye teng?

As soon as it became clear that she was not going to deliver as was hoped, she was left in the lurch. So Comrade, please, if you are to take up this dangled carrot of a pact with Kgosikgolo, at least ensure you are the Tom, not the Jerry. Make sure you have calculated well enough to emerge on top. And I trust you to be capable of pulling that one off.

After all you have easily done so with the BMD. After they helped elevate you and the BNF to the summit of political utopia, you spat them out without flinching, and now I see you are about to bury the repulsive sputum with the sandy particles of that August court case that you believe will leave them licking the wounds from your calculated bite that also includes the patenting of the UDC symbol.

I know that even recently you also tried to rope in Ndaba and his crew for their numbers, although they proved to be too smart for your grand scheme of ballooning your numbers towards State Presidency. At least the lime ones bone are already in the bag after their futile resistance of 2014 – they will be aiding you to the Presidency this time; but now it is time to hit the royal masterstroke.

Be as cunning as any politician out there. Embrace Kgosikgolo’s foxy bromance proposal and beat him at his game. Just pretend you do not know that his is just a self-serving move, and while the iron is hot, strike Comrade. He surely has a large following of infatuated fanatics who will easily do as he says. Remember what a silver-tongued royal figure he is – always having them eat from the palm of his hand.

You can surely do with such heavenly sent fortune, Comrade. Don’t listen to these bitter guys tsa Madongwana who want to play the guilt-trip on you by accusing you of embracing the very man you despised and vilified with all your might while he was BDP President. Ignore them.

Take his money as well as the numbers he commands and add to those from the lime movement to ascend to being State President. Once you have got the crown, quickly dump him and move on as if nothing has happened.

In fact, after using his numbers, proceed to prosecute him as you have vehemently promised all these years. After all you would not be the first politician to trick and dump him. SisiBoy has the template. So has that Kgoboko guy wa Bobonong.

You will neither be the first politician to use someone and dump them when they are no longer of any use to you. Kgosikgolo himself has the blueprint on how to do that. It is called survival of the smartest, Comrade.

What I do not want to see is him using you and dumping you when you are no longer useful to him. He has mastered the art of doing that with others Comrade, and the reason I say I am not comfortable with you working with him, I fear he might do away with you before you blink.

More than anything else Comrade, it is his desperation to remove SisiBoy that does not sit well with me. So much that he can say anything. Imagine he was even telling Bangwato that you have all these years been his chief advisor when rona we know you have always been condemning everything that he is!

He even told the Showground gathering that you have always praised him as a great leader when we know you have always likened him to all the African dictators combined. See what desperation can do Comrade?

Imagine what he can say about you to the public should you go on and continue meeting him as I hear you secretly do sometimes. The next thing you are going to anger those who loved the UDC and looked up to you to make them forget the repressive tendencies of his party.

You will be seen as condoning his leadership style and this may confuse those who decamped from Domi to Moono purely because of him. You might lose them Comrade. So tread with care.

It’s a delicate thing I know, having to balance between amassing his thousands of fanatics and losing the thousands who have not wanted him all these years. Gape you should remember that he does not really care about the welfare of the nation as you claim to do – ene he only wants Masisi out.

That is his sole project, and he will ensure Masisi is vanquished at all costs; by hook or by crook, and I wonder what you aim to be – the crook or the hook? Whatever role you will play in his quest to vanquish SisiBoy, be careful not to be used Comrade. Don’t be that desperate for power.

Once SisiBoy is out, you and the UDC will no longer be of any use to Kgosikgolo, and he might turn on you the same way he is doing on SisiBoy after the state president refused to be his puppet and threatened to prosecute those linked to corruption. And remember – he has labelled you ‘useless and toothless’ before, and what will stop him from continuing that narrative in future, saying there was no way you could ascend to the state presidential throne without him? So be careful Comrade.

All I ever want is for you to have an untainted path to the State House – no strings attached. We want to see you walk there with your head held high – with the confidence of the peacock that you are.

Yes Comrade, you have several peacock tendencies – very assured, proud, showy, astute, colourful, handsome, extravagant, haughty and overly imposing. And that is the new leader we want for BW – a president with swag but with no link to corrupt and self-serving elements.

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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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