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Does Mma Atsile ever talk to you about Malete land theft?

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Dear Sisiboy!

It’s been such a long time re sa bue tlhe Big Brother – kana to this day I await your reply to the last letter I penned you.
You cannot avoid that issue forever Sisiboy, the sooner you tell us exactly what happened between you and Former Big Brother the better for all so that we initiate corrective measures and move on.
This Former Big Brother I tell you is not gonna let go until you are wiped off the face of power. In fact, he has said it in his own words maloba ko Palapye that he will not rest until you have been removed as President.
Imagine a former army intelligence man saying such ominous words in a public gathering for all to hear! Don’t you just fear for your life?
As I warned you in that letter, neither will I rest until you have come out in public to tell us gore nnete nnete fela – as Phagenyane has asked – o jetse ngwana wa moswi eng. Some of us just don’t like these cat and mouse tales to which you two have been subjecting us and thus neglecting the salient issues of national priority that have to be dealt with for the prosperity of our people.
I don’t know why you don’t listen – I have warned you gore you can’t win against him. He is no ordinary man we all know, and trying to go neck and neck with him can only end in tears for you. Here we are talking about a guy with eyes, ears and tentacles in every arm of Government. Ke gore a o tsena ko DIS, his eyes, ears and hands are there; a o ya DCEC, he is covered; try the ministries and their attendant departments – his people are inside, countering and undoing whatever evil or good you try to fashion through your people. He knows your every move even before you make it. I suspect even your speech writer is his man. Gompieno jaana you have refused go nna ko State House – why? O itse se o se tshabang! So take my advice once and for all – just give up the fight morena. You just can’t win against that man. O itiela nako – unless you dismantle all these governement agencies and departments and make fresh appointments. Need I say more?
We are here talking of a man not just draped in royal blood, but he is also an agile and smart army man who according to legend, could turn himself into a fly when cornered; and that one day he spilled streaks of dark-red paint from his fighter jet after it was shot by Ian Smith’s ground forces – fooling those Rhodesian army men to think it was his blood and he was dead – only to hit back at them when least expected.
So tota wena o tlaa bo o le mang – the ordinary peasant that you are with no combat background and only depending on the curious intelligence of that inept Peter!
Just give The Former what he wants so that he focuses on his many farms that are littered across the country. Heela, kana that man has a lot of land – just too much land for one man.
I just wonder what our grandparents were doing in the days his parents were taking to land ownership that today has made him one of the richest men in Africa with obvious tourism and farming interests at every corner of Botswana.
And to imagine, Sisiboy, gore some of us have been queuing up for land for decades without success, just to own a simple and small residential plot making up only 0.00000001 percent of the land he owns!
Tota rona batsadi ba rona ga baa re direla sentle. It beats me how they could not see value in land when your parents le ba ga ene The Former were amassing chunks and chunks.
Kana if I could tell you, right now, where your beautiful wife Neo comes from, ke selelo sa khuranyo ya meno. Heela, bagwagwadiago have no land – both for farming and residential.
It actually has become worse with this new dispensation that says any Motswana can own land anywhere. With Balete clustered around Gaborone, many Batswana from all over the country prefer plots from the Malete tribal territory.
The natives are often left with nothing as outsiders get all the plots because no formula seems to exist ko Land Board to ensure the poor people of GaMalete find a place to erect their homes.
Even worse, I hear their land is being stolen from them to please some foreign investors whom we gather have applied to build some tourism resort with golf courses and malls and all.
For some inexplicable reason, this land that Balete have rightfully owned since 1925 is being forcibly taken away from them by your government – or should I say by the government of The Former?
Kana these things started when he was at the helm and I know that the Malete royalty approached him at his office to seek his intervention in the matter. Gatwe ba ne ba itswela fela.
You will recall that whenever he came to address any form of a kgotla meeting in Ramotswa, the Bamalete Paramount Chief, Kgosikgolo Mosadi Seboko, would somehow absent herself, just to spite him for also snubbing them.  I remember one time people asking ko kgotleng gore kante Kgosi Seboko o kae a sa tle go amogela Tautona. Twice she did that if my memory is not betraying me. Imagine Kgosi Seboko a ngalela Kgosi ya Bangwato like that? Yet their parents were great friends!
I don’t know what they were expecting The Former to do as the decision to take that land at Kgale Farms was motivated by some curious Court of Appeal judgment – I wonder who the judge was – ka that quarry company that was trespassing into that very land owned by Balete Development Trust.
Kana tota  The Former could not interfere with the decision of the judiciary, unless they felt he was remotely a part of the grand plan to disarm Balete of their land for that tourism project. Akere he has business interests in the tourism industry.
Yet it still beats me wena Sisiboy gore why would the land be deemed to belong to government simply because of that judgment allowing the quarry company to continue using Kgale Farms as their transit route.
I think le wena you have to ask questions and help your people get back what is rightfully theirs. Kana from what I gather, Balete families of the time – the forefathers – contributed a lot of money to buy that freehold farm forest hill No.9KO land from one Aaron Siew in 1925, and have since held the Title Deed to that land.
In fact, several times when the government needed to use some part of the land for developments, including the expansion of Gaborone Dam, negotiations were entered into with Balete Development Trust, and compensation was always given with the understanding that the land belonged to Balete.
At the time, even the land board agreed they had no jurisdiction over the freehold land.
Now jikijiki we hear gore BITC has applied to use the land for an investor? And that the Title Deed should be cancelled as the land was tribalised in 1973 by some amended Act of Parliament?
Don’t you find it curious le wena Sisiboy gore a piece of freehold land whose three large paddocks were sold to three different entities – Roman Catholic Church, Rre Kirby and Balete – would later be claimed back from only Balete gotwe the land is tribalised, while the other two bone gotwe they still own their portions?
Something doesn’t add up here Sisiboy. The poor Balete are now in court to fight for their own land against your moneyed Government. The poor morafe may only lose their case because they do not have enough money to pay the attendant legal bill.
Why should government waste resources to fight a community for land that they own and want to use for economic growth? Le bone ba batla go ruela diphoko mo teng! Gape fela, all along the land was known to belong to morafe, with the Title Deed first held by Kgosi Seboko I in 1925.  The title deed would then be handed down to other Magosi until today that we see it is in the care of Kgosi Mosadi Seboko.
So, why would BITC apply for the land ko Land Board? Why would the quarry guys challenge the Morafe? Who told them the land no longer belongs to Morafe? Kana gatwe if you want to see real corruption, o tsene ko Land Board.
Some of us the ordinary mortals cannot be blamed to think gore there is some big hand behind this daylight robbery of the land of BagaMalete. If I were a legal guru I would surely volunteer my services to help the morafe.
They need and deserve that legal assistance, otherwise ba ya go utswelwa fela ‘tsatsi le penne. I mean, if you can take Morafe’s freehold land on the excuse of the Act of 1973 that you say tribalised the land and therefore should belong to the Land Board, why not take the land ya Roma le Kirby as well?
Akere the three bought that freehold land – ka 1925! Why then do the goalposts shift for Balete’s land only? Ka gore bone ga bana madi le dithata tse  the other two have?
I wonder if your beautiful wife Neo, whose forefathers parted with their hard-earned shillings to buy that land, ever asks you questions about this matter.
I know you may hide behind not wanting to interfere with the judiciary Sisiboy, but in this case you need to ask questions and make people leave that land alone.
Go riana I hear gore next week there will be some court case that seeks to force Kgosi Mosadi Seboko to hand over the Title Deed to the Land Board so that it is taken further for cancelation. Nnyaa Sisiboy – that will be theft.
Bua le batho ba gago ba tlogele Morafe – I do not want to see you o tlile ko kgotleng ya ga Malete one of the good days only to find Kgosikgolo gotwe o iketse States! O botse The Former!

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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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