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.
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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