Dear Pastor Biggie
I hope this brief finds you in a relatively stable state of mind my dear pastor. Having been one of the few people in politics whom I have had the bravery to defend as a genuinely caring and honest man, I must admit that over the past few days you left me defendless and helpless as those who differed with me on you in the past, came raining down on me with a barrage of ‘we-told-you-so’ artillery.
You see, these are the people I have on many occasions told that along with Ndaba and Robert, you are one of the few politicians I could risk a vote of confidence for being honest and principled.
In a lot of my past letters to the likes of Dlodlo, Gladiator, SisiBoy and Kgosikgolo, I have parroted the notion that politicians are self-serving and dishonest people who just care about what matters to only themselves while cunningly perpetuating a picture of caring, loving and selfless Good Samaritans.
Yet I have included you in my four-man list of those I could cite as an exception. You see, I still remember how you stood a lone ranger in Parley going against Kgosikgolo’s sentiments and those of his erstwhile party when you fought for the monumental recognition of the late Motswaledi and others.
Whenever people labelled you ‘moruti-ka-lefitshwana’I was always the first to defend you – demanding proof that indeed you were as dishonest as they said you were. I never accepted anything that suggested that you were as cunning and self-serving as other politicians.
But these past eventful weeks you proved me wrong Moruti Butale. You left me cowing in shame and unable to face my friends about you. You proved to be a disgrace to anything you have always claimed to be. That Friday I listened to your vitriol and felt so ashamed to call you my pastor. Moruti, all you did in Masunga two weeks back was to expose yourself as just another self-serving political fraudster who even used God’s name to preach hatred, regionalism and tribalism.
You should be ashamed of yourself Pastor. Before your meeting, I had read somewhere in a newspaper that you were hellbent on saying and doing anything to ensure people get to hate SisiBoy at whatever cost. Ao rra? Kana I didn’t believe the contents of that article. I thought, Nnyaa ba akela moruti. No moruti reacts this way to anything.
And to even drag your dear wife into such witchery – making her defend you after preaching hatred to your followers! Come on Biggie. This time you stooped too low. At this very moment you should rather be on your knees, praying for a better and united Botswana, not out and about preaching hatred.
I understand you are frustrated that you lost in the primary elections of your party, but moruti, what has happened to Grace? Is it not you who has preached about being Graceful and Thankful to the Lord even in defeat? (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
Yes pastor, you taught us about handling defeat, advising that despite whatever else life dishes out on us, we should still thank God and allow Him to deploy us elsewhere.
Now look at you! I heard you moruti when you said SisiBoy is a criminal and a fraudster who has among other things robbed the Bank of Botswana and created a body-double of yourself to engage in some corrupt undertaking.
I have no facts to say for sure if you were telling the truth or just lying for political expediency – so I won’t go there. I am more concerned about the dishonesty you so blatantly displayed much to the disappointment of many of us who really wanted to clutch at anything to continue trusting your word and defending you as a principled man.
An honest man as I have thought of you should have been able to say these things about SisiBoy and his BDP when those things were happening. Or are you going to say they held a gun to your throat threatening the life out of you if you spoke of their corruption?
The honest and principled man that you are, why have you been quiet about such thievery all this time? Where were you when the likes of Moswaane and Polson told it like it is to the faces of both SisiBoy and Kgosikgolo? Those are the men we could perhaps give an ear if they spoke like you today. They have never hidden their feelings about the things done by the leadership. They never waited until they lost elections to start making their feelings known.
Wena I am worried we were never going to hear all these things from you had you won ka Bulela Ditswe. From the day you lost, you have been all over telling all sorts of stories relating to threats on your life, obviously to plant seeds of doubt on the character of the man you so openly hate today, Rre Masisi. All that talk of cows being pushed onto the road by police officers and the stories of six tyre bursts, you only reminded me of the trobled life the late Motswaledi lived. At the time, people said your idol Kgosikgolo was behind the mishaps, including the eventual demise of poor Sir-Gee. Now you are copying from that script and now claiming it is SisiBoy who is behind the tyre bursts? It is almost like someone is sending you to say out those things – someone haunted by some form of guilty conscience. It has become very difficult to trust anything you say Moruti. Imagine you even asked your gathering of constituents to help you decide if you should pull-out from politics and return to boruti. Who in their right mind will still find any inspiration in your teachings after you rallied the nation to hate its leader?
Kana by asking your followers to hate their leader you were almost asking your flock to hate God and follow Satan. No wonder a lot of people who reacted to your meeting called you Devil Incarnate.
You disappointed a lot of them moruti. They never expected such vile and lie from you. Most were angered and disappointed, including the opposition fanatics you were definitely trying to impress. They called you moruti-ka-lefitshwana and labelled you a diabolic makgorwane.
I tell you, not even Ndaba or Boko felt any feather of flatter at your mention that they are better leaders than SisiBoy. They simply saw you for who you are – an angry and bitter man who after being rejected by his own people suddenly opens up about the age-old corruption and evil he has been embracing, praising and defending while it served his interests.
The two gentlemen still have memories of how you used to say the UDC and other opposition leaders can’t take this country anywhere. Now that you are grieving over your numbered days mo letlepung, suddenly the opposition and its leaders are better than the BDP and SisiBoy whom in several expressions you labelled an undemocratic crook and a liar.
And yet wena in Masunga – through your MC – you made it clear you were not going to entertain any comment from the floor that attacks you. You call that ‘democratic’ pastor?
And here is the classic part – you asked for direction from your people, imploring them to decide if you should quit politics and return full time to boruti; or to join AP; or to join UDC; or to join – in your own words – a party formed by Khama.
A number of your people suggested you join AP like Peter Ngoma, giving reasons why it would not help the constituency and yourself if you went with Khama’s party. Ao moruti? Why were you taking your people through such a tedious exercise when you already knew you had registered, joined and written the constitution of the new Khama party?
Who can ever trust such deception – from a moruti for that matter? Kana the next day ke fa Khama a go tlontlolla jaanong when he informed people gore a few days earlier you and Guma had already indicated to him that you will be standing for elections under the new party which he, characteristically, also tried to give the impression he knew nothing about.
He would later sell himself away too, when he revealed the colours of the party by pointing to the jacket he was wearing. See the kind of leadership you want your people to follow moruti? A leadership that asks for Tsholofelo Hall and tell the Town Clerk that it is for a family gathering when you know it is for a political activity? Why lie? What is there to hide if indeed you are a body of honest people?
And you see now why I say you left me with little to defend you? The lies. Because even a few hours after your Masunga meeting, you were in Serowe telling people that you have registered a new party whose constitution you are still finalising. Overnight Moruti?
But then again, what should we have expected? Akere even your idol did just that – asking people to give him direction when he already knew what was cooking. Banna tlhe le fitlhetse Batswana! And how they can’t see through your ilk puzzles me.
Right now I am tempted to agree with those who say a new party would never have been formed had that Isaac Kgosi guy not been fired from DIS by SisiBoy and had SisiBoy made a Khama sibling Vice President.
Le wena I say we would not be seeing this melodrama from you had you won Bulela Ditswe. You see, I have no qualms with reasons given for your institutionalised hatred for SisiBoy – I just don’t trust the word of a man who speaks ill of his ex-girlfriend only because she dumped him; and when he never even uttered a bad thing while he was still joyfully sleeping with her. And this from a Pastor?
What desperation is this Moruti? Gore o bo o khubame le ka mangole tota? I think your excitement about rubbing shoulders with Kgosikgolo should be guarded with caution. I mean, everybody be talking Kgama Magic.
Naare magic wa teng oa hemisa? I mean, I saw some people who hail from Tlokweng, Lobatse, Jwaneng and even Gantsi saying Khama ke Kgosikgolo ya bone. Like really? And even more disturbing, everyone in Serowe, including my favourite Rosebae, kept saying where and when Khama dies, they will die with him. It got me thinking: what if Khama indeed dies tomorrow? God forbid! What will become of this new party?
Kana he is the soul and sole provider and his death will surely signal the sudden death of the political aspirations of all those reneging from common sense in his name – because you guys are just following him; not any political ideology. You and him only formed your movement for the sole purpose of removing SisiBoy from power – the new party is not even interested in taking over power or doing anything for Batswana. Top of its mandate is to see SisiBoy out of power. It would be interesting to see what you guys will do should SisiBoy stand up tomorrow to say he is stepping down from the presidency of the ruling party. Kana you will be left with no sense of purpose.
And you guys must please stop misleading Kgosikgolo by giving him the impression that he is doing what is right for this country – just because you have hope for a quick dash and return to Parley.
Many say he is using you guys to serve his bruised ego and to spite SisiBoy, but I also think you are all abusing him and using his lack of foresight for your political survival. You are all after his money and popularity. That’s why you have no shame telling people gore kana he is the most popular politician in the country. Try unpopular Moruti. And perhaps even confused. I mean, what is he saying? He will support UDC, launch you and Guma as BPF candidates and support some good BDP MPs? Banna tlhe le a re confusa. Imagine the poor old men and women you are continuing to tricking with lies and deceit – Modimo o tlaa le bona tlhe borra. Modimo ga se moshianyana. Stop misleading our old folk with your distorted facts borra. It is evil. I don’t care about the more intelligent ones who follow you – kana bone even as they see that yours is movement of the bitter, they have only found an easier platform to get back at their opponents within Domi, and they are only looking to benefit from the financial resources said to be falling from some western and South African merchants interested in the mineral and tourism resources of our country. And that Moruti, is wicked. We need peace in this country moruti, and these shenanigans you so strangely embrace and support are a recipe for civil strife. Lesang go dirisa mogolo botlhaswa banna! I hear he never listens but come on Moruti, the man needs your advice. Honest advice. Stop using and abusing him. E seng mo ngwaneng wa ga Ruta borra. E seng mo go Kgosikgolo.
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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