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About the P10 million lEgal bill slapped on the UDC

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NDABA GAOLATHE SAYS: The P10 million legal bill is not a UDC bill – it is our bill – it is an expense that every citizen (UDC or not) that cares about this nation should foot.
The UDC has a legal bill of P10 million, or probably more.

I see many comments on social media suggesting it is a deserved punishment for failing to concede the October 2019 elections.  This view is grossly myopic.  We don’t have to agree with the UDC about how to approach electoral grievances for us to realise that our democracy is at stake.  We should not allow our differences in approach to be exploited by apologists of the current system at the expense of our democracy.  These apologists will tell you, do not make a contribution to this legal bill because it is not yours, it is a bill that should be paid by those who approached the courts and hired the lawyers.  Far from it.

This is actually our bill, whether we are UDC or not.
It is a bill we all need to pay, whether you agreed with the UDC or you didn’t.  This is how nations are built.  This is how systems and checks and balances are nourished, and reconstructed.  Those who refuse to pay this bill will account one day – somebody will pay the bill, and they will claim the reigns of our country.   Our nation is under the clutch of the rich and powerful, because we refuse to pay for our democracy.  The rich and powerful pay for this democracy.  They clothe you with t-shirts at elections.  They pay the fuel for transporting voters to rallies and the polls.  They pay for the printing of manifestos and adverts in newspapers.  They pay for the campaign stages and the sound systems.  They pay because the real owners, the ordinary citizens of this land, refuse to pay.

The citizens refuse to pay because they say they are poor, they don’t have the money.  Citizens refuse to pay for democracy because they say politicians are corrupt, selfish and self seeking.  They refuse to pay because their preferred candidates are not on the ballot.  No one is too poor to pay for democracy; if everyone donated P10 per year, all of us, to a movement that represented our individual aspirations, this country would not be as vulnerable as we now are to the whims of the super-rich.  We need to cultivate a democracy that makes leaders account, and these court cases were part of that process.  We need to pay an insurance premium to ensure that no one in the future tries to rig any democratic process – these cases were part of that process too.  These cases were a raw reminder of the inadequacies of our institutions  and potentially the concentration of power in the executive – and so the need to reform, redesign and enhance our constitution as a nation.

We all need to participate in building of our nation, particularly our democratic and economic institutions. We need to contribute, financially as well, to democratic institutions including political parties.  We need to contribute to churches and to community organisations that build our nation.

Nna ke a go lathela sengwenyana.  It will not be much, mme ke a go lathela.  Don’t say I didn’t tell you, twenty years from now, that if you don’t contribute to this, someone will pay, and you will have built a culture of selling our country on the cheap.  Re tswanetse go hedisa mowa wa “ha di nkame.”Le tla nkomanya hela, mme ntlabo ke latlhetse.  Ke robala jaaka lesea bosigo, ka gore nna kea e dira thomo yame, sikitinyana same ke ya se lema, go sa kgathalesege gore lewa le lebega jang kana le nchakgaletse gole kae.

Ke le weno,
Modisa-wa-letsomane
BANKS NDEBELE SAYS: Let’s contribute towards the UDC petitions legal Bill. Every patriotic Motswana and defender of democracy, you don’t necessarily have to be a UDC member to partake. This was a just affair, one that intended to straighten and protect a symbol of our pride- free and fair elections. I pledge an undisclosed amount towards settling the UDC legal bill.

TEBOGO MODISE SAYS: Bo Ndaba le mabina go tsholwa,o ne o emetse kwa o lebile Boko wa modimo a wa a tsoga jaanong o itira o mo utwelang bothoko, you want to build which nation e o paletsweng ke go thusa mokaukengwe wa gago go e build.

MOSHE BAELE SAYS: We wanted change but you deprived us the privilege, we decried the association with Kgama and we were ignored. We demanded report of the late Motswaledi and what we get from you guys was a shameful answers and we were told to bring prove that we contributed so we may be refunded. Today you come back again begging for people to contribute. You need to listen to your followers and stop acting like God messiah. We said it and we are saying it. Ignorance is like death. Setswana sa re letlota ga le nyelwe, jaanong re goga dijase re batla di karabo. You could be going around the country addressing the nation since you said is for our benefit le rona re le botse. Tanki motsamaisa tiro.

WARONA MOSIELELE SAYS: Re tewa gotwe puso e bolaile Sir-G re koleke go dirwe investigation, the report fails to be availed. They lie that elections are rigged, deliberately failing to comply with due process, and knowing very well that they are going to lose. They do so to give their gullible followers a reason to believe their lies – that the system is rotten hence their loss in court, as it is clear they (followers) don’t care, some are ignorant of course, about court procedures. The least they could do for these gullible malcontents would be to at least avail the evidence of vote rigging they claim to possess before they siphon more money from them again. I know they have no evidence of vote rigging of course, it is all lies; very expensive lies.

BRUNO PHILLIMON SAYS: 10 million wa UDC nna ga ke di tsene ga e kake yare ba palelwa ke go duela office ya party, e bo ba re ba ka duela di costs tsa court.

JONATHAN SIKWANE SAYS: Fa o sena madi a go koleka didimala. Le ko magaeng go ntse fela jalo fa go biditswe ‘meeting’ wa koleke re neela ba ba nang le madi sebaka sa go bua. Lesa go rasa ga ona madi. Finish & Klaar. Ba ba pelotlhomogi e bile ba na le madi ba tlaa kolekela UDC gore e phimole sekoloto sa yone sa ditsheko. Kea leboga Motsamaisa-tiro.

COMFORT RAMATEBELE SAYS: Re taa koleka thene milone wa khote mme re taa le gakolla baeteledipele gore hanne e se go thubega ga lona, nkabe le fentse dithopho go sena bo koleke. Le batona laa nkutwa!

TSHWARI THAKO SAYS: I will only contribute after the evidence of rigging has been availed for the public to see. It is very necessary. Akere we had evidence prepared for the case though we were not accorded an opportunity by the courts? Let’s take that evidence to the people so they can be convinced of those rigging allegations, because now it remains allegation until we all see evidence. It can be put in one of the weekly newspapers every week until all the information is availed. Double voters names must also be listed gore ba votile kae le kae. Especially Gantsi North because photocopies had already been made. Name and shame.

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This lockdown is going to plunge many into depression

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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.

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Ebenezer!

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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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