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Hypocritical politicians have short memories!

Joe Brown

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Dear Dr. Kaelo Molefhe

Let me join the chorus of those who have been offering you a word of encomiums on your recent appointment as the country’s lead driver of governance.

It is a well-deserved appointment and is given from a pure heart of someone genuinely looking to improve government’s performance in relation to issues of governance and rule of law. Yet I hear your appointment has raised several eyebrows – for whatever reason I am yet to understand! Kana people can be downright petty – I wonder if they really know who you are and
why those who appointed you never thought twice before going cap in hand to your doorstep for your services.

The haters just don’t know you otherwise they wouldn’t question your appointment. Ba re go botse rona ba re tswang kgakala le wena – those varsity days when we played Mugnum League and A-Series League soccer and you starred for FC Hit & Run as their midfielder. My memory may not be so trustworthy on this one but I think Mara (Tebogo Sebego) was your striker at FC Hit & Run, with Mokgethi Magapa a perennial benchwarmer  although he exceled as a volleyball player at the time.

The same varsity days when we called you Suckman thanks to that Jackson roommate of yours who sent you into exile an entire academic year, forcing you to be a squatter at Bigboy’s room. In those days, you were at the forefront of such school societies as Ngwao Boswa, Political Science Association and others where you excelled as a public administration and governance champion. Even in recent times, apart from your role as a partner in numerous governance agencies and organisations, you have been imparting a lot of knowledge on compliance issues through journals, newspaper articles and even through varied radio programmes as well as a senior lecturer at Mmadikolo.

Both government and independent groupings have benefitted from your overwhelming intelligence and it should not surprise anybody that you were asked to serve at national level. So they can talk all they like – they will not take anything away from you. I know it is not going to be easy as you venture into that rough terrain where you will be tasked with coaxing state-owned enterprises and the entire civil service into procedural fairness, compliance, lawfulness, good governance and ensuring that due process is observed – but I trust you will conquer.

So for now ignore the good-for-nothing invalidators and push your passion as you ensure appointments in government organisations are fair and are not made because ke ngwana waga nkuku or ke Modongwana. Those who handpicked you for this job knew what they were doing. You see, only rare breeds get to be recognised and begged in this way for who and what they are. They are head-hunted and often they even decide how much they should be paid.

You are such a breed, along with the likes of the highly-decorated Ndaba Gaolathe with his rare credentials and talents. He too was head-hunted for a government position but chose to stick with your obscure political movement instead of dumping it as would have been required of him. And even if he had accepted the offer from Government and dumped the party, he would not have been the first opposition party president to dump his political movement for a position in the civil service. Former BNF President Otsweletse Moupo is in the civil service; as was previous leaders such as Kgosi Bathoen who also dumped the BNF parliamentary position to take up a position in the civil service as President of the Customary Court of Appeal.

I mean, if your own Kgosikgolo could do it, leaving an opposition party as big as the BNF of the time, why would anybody find fault with you when as young as you are, you take a break from a negligible party such as the AP, to take up a lucrative position in the civil service? I just wonder why these hypocrites are all out to attack and label you a sellout for accepting the offer. I call them hypocrites because just a fortnight ago they were up in arms when Dr. Serema, was appointed to serve the country in Namibia, ba re he is being rewarded for leading a campaign ya Domi and that high profile jobs were reserved only for Madomi.

Now the president handpicks you for an even better position – based purely on your track record and qualifications as a public administration guru – and they cry that you should not have accepted the offer because you are in the opposition camp? I hear they say the BDP-led government is rewarding you for splitting votes in Gaborone Bonnington North to ensure the loss of Duma Boko.  Hahaha… like really? They give you too much credit – undeserved credit for that matter! Isn’t it you got just over 1000 votes and Anna Mokgethi beat Boko by 2500 votes? So what vote splitting are they talking about? Kana if you were removed from the equation, Anna could have increased the margin from 2500 to 3500. Yes, I know the mindset of those who voted for you – they would rather have voted for Anna, the same way I know many other former BNF and BCP voters this time around chose to decamp from UDC to go with either you or the BDP.

And here is the thing: for whatever reason, people had something against Boko – there was talk about his exaggerated confidence, unparalleled intelligence, purported arrogance, and because at different times he inexplicably chose to sleep with the people’s number one and two enemies, Bra Ian and Bra Sid. I have actually said it before that when there is something special that people envy about you, they can just hate you. They hated Sidney Pilane. Boko and Saleshando benefitted from that hatred. Then the hatred was transferred to Boko, and Anna benefitted.

Tota e bile even if you had not stood for elections and all your 1 057 voters had voted for Boko, he would have still lost with a big margin of about 1500 – even if all those who voted for RAP had also voted for him. People just did not want Boko. Mo ga di rigging e ne e le go intsha ditlhong and shift the blame for poor performance as a leader. So this talk ya gore the BDP-led government is rewarding you for splitting votes is absurd. And they know they are talking nonsense – just to spite you and make you feel guilty about being where you are. Just don’t let their small talk get into your head – you have moved on with your life, and so should they. We do not progress as a country because of such immature and childish talk which above all else, comes from a deep pit of jealousy and bitterness.

They should know gore wena in this instance you chose patriotism over partisanism – a real patriot in deed and not in words as are those calling themselves ‘patriotic’ when we know they are secretly plotting the economic demise of this country. The haters are not happy that you are being called to put order into the chaos that is our civil service – because bone kana they thrived in that chaos they created. I don’t envy you as you get to clean that legacy of disorder. But I know your detractors envy you because of the new lucrative life you will now enjoy. Lefufa! I hear they even have the audacity to ask if you have resigned from your party after your appointment.

More to that, I hear they ask if you have now quit at AP to join the BDP. Batho ba! They don’t realise that in appointing you, Sisiboy o mo moonong wa Tswelelopele-Ya-Botlhe – e e sa tlhaoleng ka gore o wa party efe. So even if you do not dump your membership of AP, there is no problem.

Akere even Ramaotwana, Moupo and bo Gaseitsewe and Bathoen never dumped the BNF to join BDP the time government employed them? The likes of Chimbombi, Kapinga, Dr. Molutsi and others – were they BDP members while in the civil service? They were always opposition at heart, only that they could not be active in politics as I expect you too will not be. So these guys should just cut you some slack and ba tlogele go go parolela. Where were they when government offered my SRC President James Mathokgwane a position in the civil service and he quit as a BNF Member of Parliament to work at SPEDU? Is he with the BDP now? Among the many who were employed by govy from the opposition parties go na le ene Ramaotwana wa BNF and Cross wa BCP.

And talking about the BCP, just recently we saw top dawg ya tsa molao, Busang Manewe, a tsentse opposition ha le ha. The renowned lawyer is BCP through and through and yet he was hired by the BDP to represent them in a case against the UDC. He was never ridiculed for taking up the job. Kana e bile the same Manewe is now in Carter Morupisi’s corner and he will soon be up against the same BDP-led government in court. You will recall that at one point he also represented the BCP in their case against govy. Such anecdotes show gore in the end, our survival comes before partisan politics.

Le ene Boko ha Sisiboy a ka re ‘monna wee, ke batla o nna Attorney General,’ oa wela Mminathoko! Of course right now o ka ganetsa a re he can’t – out of only sheer pride and not because indeed he can’t!  So those who cry gore you have betrayed the opposition politics’ struggle baa go tlwaela – and I say this in Bra Ian’s tone and voice the day he said the leadership ya BDP ya mo tlwaela. They should just leave you alone – these hypocrites!

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Ebenezer!

Yvonne Mooka

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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.

Facebook/Instagram: Yvonne Tshepang Mooka
LinkedIn: Yvonne Mooka
Twitter: @yvonnemooka
Email: yvonnequeen2003@gmail.com

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The thrill of being boys in the fields of plenty

Matshediso Fologang

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Boys will always be boys. This weekend after a long time I took a walk from my maternal ancestral mekgoro/ditlaagane to the southwest, much along the recently ploughed masimo. In this journey all memories of the early 1960s came to mind.

Then boys were generally a law unto themselves as they could move all over and invade the masimo and take ripe magapu and nche (water melons and sweet reed) without the owner’s consent. Such was known as “go itaya khutu.” It was never considered stealing but helping our boyish greed. This weekend as I traversed these fields with green ripening products I couldn’t help but reminisce about my youth. The things we did then?

We could just raid a field and help ourselves with whatever was ripe. Such acts were punishable by caning of the wrong doers. Still such did not deter the boys from the adventure. Such was the things the boys did with such impunity. Such acts of thuggery were only lessened by some fear of certain fields that were known to be owned by dingaka (traditional doctors) and baloi (witches). We had serious superstitious beliefs that we knew we could become crippled or die if we dared help ourselves with produce from such masimo.

Walking through these masimo, I went deeper into the area and started remembering the past like it happened yesterday. Activities I was part of just came back to mind like these happened yesterday. I recalled one such day we were herding clan cattle and goats. Around midday we realised our morning fill was no more. We were a bit hungry. How could we be hungry in the midst of plenty? Boys being boys, we raided the next nearest tshimo. We helped ourselves with water melons.

We carried our loot into the bushes nearby. We had a feast.  Just as we were ready to leave, one of us came up with a story that the old lady whose field we had raided was a moloi. It was revealed that she would find out who had stolen her melons. Panic and fear gripped us. She was going to get us all dead. She would just doctor our footprints. Such stories we had heard in our daily lives but for us to be potential victims was the worst nightmare then.

Living in a superstitious society then, the things we did then make me just laugh today when I look back. On this adventurous day we drove the cattle and goats up to the nearest hillocks. Something bad happened. As we had almost forgotten the earlier fear, we now raided the trees for indigenous fruits. We climbed up these trees to pick the fruits. One of the boys accidentally fell down and injured his back.

Being products of a superstitious clan the only explanation we could make for this accident was the curse (boloi) of the owner of the melons we had earlier stolen. The next problem we faced was to explain the visible pain our colleague endured. Tradition had it then that anyone who had fallen from a tree would eat his meals from a bed pan until he healed. We all bullied the victim not to show signs of pain.. We were cruel and it was all about being boys. Such was being boys.

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