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The Guptagate is an eye opener to the African masses

The African masses who have been dehumanized by slavery, humiliated by colonialism are now disrespected by neo colonialism. Otherwise how do you explain a situation where by a group of three brothers appoint and fire ministers and senior civil servants at their pleasure if that is not disrespectful and disregard to the African peoples intelligence and integrity! The Gupta scandal is not a unique case to South Africa or President Jacob Zuma.

In most African if not all African countries are Guptas of this world. Immediately after independence, Africans being Africans likes being “nice people” they welcomed everyone who wanted to be their friends, without knowing that they are sharing a cup of tea with very dangerous and hardcore crooks. Other people take advantage of our humanist approach to others as of being stupid or uncivilized. As Steve Biko says, we treat all human beings as equal even strangers are welcomed in African homes and the result of that is that we are mistreatment by the same people we gave food and shelter when they were strangers.

Today in South Africa a country of 50 million people with the highly educated people in the continent is in the hands of three brothers. And this is not only taking place in South Africa. There is a book title “To the President eye” by John Braumer only. In this book John Braumer explained how for many years, he was controlling President Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia and doing exactly what the Gupta brothers are doing in South Africa. Braumer could appoint and fire ministers and senior civil servants who do not dance to his tune.

He could even decide which country should trade with Zambia and which country should not accept aid from. John Braumer was a CIA agent who came to Zimbabwe then Southern Rhodesia. He was employed by Ian Smith government in the police special branch. While he was working in the special branch he befriended friends of federation Movements leaders, he was even raising funds for them so that they can purchase weapons and organizing scholarship to others. Because of his closeness to the liberation movement leaders, they introduced him to the president and he ended up as a permanent secretary to the president (PSP).

It was while John Braumer was on official trip to London the British government contacted Kaunda to fire Braumer telling lies that he was not a good person. The British mistakenly thought Braumer was from Poland became of his Polish surname and Poland by then was a communist state. The British did not want any African country to deal with any communist country, let alone a communist working in the office of the president. When Washington heard that Braumer was fired, they called London and told London that Braumer was working for west not for the communists. London called Lusaka to reverse the decision, Lusaka refused; by now Kaunda saw the true colors of John Braumer that he was a western spy. 

Kaunda allowed John Braumer to come to Zambia and collect at his belongings without any arrest and paid his salary and all the benefits. Braumer confessed that if Zambia was not an African country he could never have ever allowed setting his foot in Zambia again. If he did, he could have been arrested at the airport or shot at sight! So you can see that the Guptas are all over Africa. Some are working as Directors, Permanent secretaries, lecturers, professors, priests or business people but their motives are the same. To control African governments! Most African ministers, permanent secretaries, army commanders, police commissioners are appointed by the Guptas of this world.

Even African head of state appointed and anointed from London, Paris or Washington DC.  Sometimes it makes me sick when I know that the so-called failed states like Somalia and Libya were destroyed by the removal of their good leaders for the simple reason that they didn’t dance to western music. Through the narrative of the lie, the world was made to believe that Gaddafi was so evil and was killing his own people daily. Today nobody is talking about how many Libyans are dying daily killed by whom? Libya under Gaddafi used to have the strongest economy in Africa, the strongest currency in the continent. Gaddafi was the only leader in the whole world who created artificial river and used the water for agriculture.

Those who were condemning him are failing to use God given rivers to feed their small population of two million people. Some people are not even ashamed of themselves! Just because their masters say jump they just jump! We have been brainwashed so much that we believe that whatever the Westerners are saying is the gospel truth. Regardless of whatever evil they have done to us during slavery, colonialism and apartheid, we still trust them. A Bishop friend of mine from West Africa once said Africa will be free only when Africans start to use their right-hand instead of the left hand for eating again. 

African masses stand in lines in the African hot sun thinking that they are voting people to represent them in government without knowing that this government is going to serve the interests of those who drink tea with our leaders. Our leaders cannot share tables with our people became our people use the right-hand when they eat while our leaders uses left hand. Because of the control of Africa leaders by the Guptas of this world, we have what Kwame Nkrumah calls, the cruel African equation; Richest resources + foreign development = poorest living standards.

This is so because our economic systems and political policies are directed from outside through local representatives. International monopoly capitalism is evil. We need economic and political policies cooked in the African pot. Neo colonialism, insidious and complex is even more dangerous than the old colonialism. I look at what monopoly capitalism is doing in Botswana, the privatization of water was the most evil thing ever committed by the regime in Gaborone. The same regime which knows that our people are unemployed ask them to buy water to drink. If this not inhuman then I don’t know what to be inhuman look like. Just because some Guptas somewhere tells someone to privatize water so that he can make profit. And someone agrees without asking the Gupta boss what about those who elected us into power who cannot afford to buy water for drinking let alone washing and backyard gardening.

Someone was telling me that the blue train was cancelled because one black Gupta who own buses wanted to be cancelled! I am informed that there is one white Gupta running a security company in the Okavango swamps near Huba who was the army general in the apartheid South Africa and is related through marriage to someone very high in the society. His policy is to shot to kill. I was asking myself how on earth can we high a security company to look after our wild animals when we have wildlife departments, anti-poaching, DIS, police, SSG all there armed to teeth, we still hire some white security company!

I am compelled to stop and ask the famous question asked by famous and favorite musician Soccer Moruakgomo “what is happening?” this is the question every African, every Motswana must ask. There are times when I think that as a priest I will ask Boko when he takes power in 2019 to forgive those who abused our people and robed this nation of billions of pula through questionable means, sometimes I think is better for him to arrest them and hand them to the International Criminal Court to face charges of crime against humanity. If you burn hunting and fishing in an area you know there is foot and mouth disease, people cannot sell their cattle, over and above all there is drought, in my view you’re directly starving people to death is a crime against humanity! There are so many crimes committed by some people in this country and their Gupta friends.  Guptas of this world, be aware, our eyes are opened.

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Botswana to Become a Vaccinated Nation: Pandemic Anxiety Over?

30th March 2021

OSCAR MOTSUMI

This is a question that should seriously exercise the mind of every Botswana citizen and every science researcher, every health worker and every political leader political.

The Covid-19 currently defines our lives and poses a direct threat to every aspect and every part of national safety, security and general well-being. This disease has become a normative part of human life throughout the world.

The first part of the struggle against the murderous depredation of this disease was to protect personal life through restrictive health injunctions and protocols; the worst possibly being human isolation and masks that hid our sorrows and lamentations through thin veils. We suffered that humiliation with grace and I believe as a nation we did a great job.

Now the vaccines are here, ushering us into the second phase of this war against the plague; and we are asking ourselves, is this science-driven fight against Covid-19 spell the end of pandemic anxiety? Is the health nightmare coming to an end? What happy lives lie ahead? Is this the time for celebration or caution? As the Non State Actors, we have being struggling with these questions for months.

We have published our thoughts and feelings, and our research reviews and thorough reading of both the local and international impacts of this rampaging viral invasion in local newspapers and social media platforms.

More significantly, we have successfully organised workshops about the impact of the pandemic on society and the economy and the last workshop invited a panel of health experts, professionals, and public administers to advance this social dialogue as part of our commitment to the tripartite engagement we enjoy working with Government of Botswana, Civil Society and Development partners. These workshops are virtual and open to all Batswana, foreign diplomatic missions based in Gaborone, UN agencies located in Gaborone and international academic researchers and professional health experts and specialists.

The mark of Covid-19 on our nation is a painful one, a tragedy shared by the entire human race, but still a contextually painful experience. Our response is fraught with grave difficulties; limited resources, limited time, and the urgency to not only save lives but also avert economic ruin and a bleak future for all who survive. Several vaccines are already in the  market.

Parts of the world are already doing the best they can to trunk the pestilential march of this disease by rolling out mass-vaccinations campaigns that promise to evict this health menace and nightmare from their public lives. Botswana, like much of Africa, is still up in the disreputable, and, unenviable, preventative social melee of masked interactions, metered distances, contactless commerce.

We remain very much at the mercy of a marauding virus that daily runs amuck with earth shattering implications for the economy and human lives. And the battle against both infections and transmissions is proving to be difficult, in terms of finance, institutional capacities and resource mobilization. How are we prepared as government, and as citizens, to embrace the impending mass-vaccinations? What are the chances of us  succeeding at this last-ditch effort to defeat the virus? What are the most pressing obstacles?

Does the work of vaccines spell an end to the pandemic anxieties?

Our panellists addressed the current state of mass-vaccination preparedness at the Botswana national level. What resources are available? What are the financial, institutional and administrative operational challenges (costs and supply chains, delivery, distribution, administering the vaccine on time, surveillance and security of vaccines?) What is being done to overcome them, or what can be done to overcome them? What do public assessments of preparedness tell us at the local community levels? How strong is the political will and direction? How long can we expect the whole exercise to last? At what point should we start seeing tangible results of the mass-vaccination campaign?

They also addressed the challenges of the anticipated emerging Vaccinated Society. How to fight the myths of vaccines and the superstitions about histories of human immunizations? What exactly is being done to grow robust local confidence in the science of vaccinations and the vaccines themselves? More significantly, how to square these campaigns vis-vis personal rights, moral/religious obligations?

What messages are being sent out in these regards and how are Batswana responding? What about issues of justice and equality? Will we get the necessary vaccines to everyone who wants them? What is being done to ensure no deserving person is left behind?

They also addressed issues of health data. To accomplish this mass-vaccination campaign and do everything right we need accurate and complete data. Poor data already makes it very hard to just cope with the disease. What is being done to improve data for the mass-vaccination campaign? How is this data being collected, aggregated and prepared for real life situation/applications throughout Botswana in the coming campaign?

We know in America, for example, general reporting and treatment of health data at the beginning of vaccinations was so poor, so chaotic and so scattered mainstream newspapers like The Atlantic, Washington Post and the New York Times had to step in, working very closely with civil society organizations, to rescue the situation. What data-related issues are still problematic in Botswana?

To be specific, what kind of Covid-19 data is being taken now to ready the whole country for an effective and efficient mass-vaccination program?

Batswana must be made aware that the  end part of vaccination will just mark the beginning of a long journey to health recovery and national redemption; that in many ways Covid-19 vaccination is just another step toward the many efforts in abeyance to fight this health pandemic, the road ahead is still long and painful.

For this purpose, and to highlight the significance of this observation we tasked our panellists with  the arduous imperative of  analysing the impact of mass-vaccination on society and the economy alongside the pressing issues of post-Covid-19 national health surveillance and rehabilitation programs.

Research suggests the aftermath of Covid-19 vaccination is going to be just as difficult and uncertain world as the present reality in many ways, and that caution should prevail over celebration, at least for a long time. The disease itself is projected to linger around for some time after all these mass-vaccination campaigns unless an effort is made to vaccinate everyone to the last reported case, every nation succeeds beyond herd immunity, and cure is found for Covid-19 disease. Many people are going to continue in need of medications, psychological and psychiatric services and therapy.

Is Botswana ready for this long holdout? If not, what path should we take going into the future? The Second concern is , are we going to have a single, trusted national agency charged with the  mandate to set standards for our national health data system, now that we know how real bad pandemics can be, and the value of data in quickly responding to them and mitigating impact? Finally, what is being done to curate a short history of this pandemic? A national museum of health and medicine or a Public Health Institute  in Botswana is overdue.

If we are to create strong sets of data policies and data quality standards for fighting future health pandemics it is critical that they find ideological and moral foundations in the artistic imagery and photography of the present human experience…context is essential to fighting such diseases, and to be prepared we must learn from every tragic health incident.

Our panellists answered most of these questions with distinguished intellectual clarity. We wish Batswana to join us in our second Mass-vaccination workshop.

*Oscar Motsumi: Email:oscar.motsumi@gmail.com

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The women you see in the news matter. Here’s why

9th March 2021
Jane Godia

Jane Godia

Today is International Women’s Day – it’s a moment to think about how much better our news diet could be if inequities were eliminated. In 1995, when the curtains fell in one of the largest meetings that have ever brought women together to discuss women in development, it was noted that women and media remain key to development.

Twenty-six years later, the relevant “Article J” of the Beijing Platform for Action, remains unfulfilled. Its two strategic objectives with regard to Women and Media have not been met. They are
Increase the participation and access of women to expression and decision-making in and through the media and new technologies of communication

Promote a balanced and non-stereotyped portrayal of women in the media.

Today, as we mark International Women’s Day, it’s an indictment on both media owners and civil society that women remain on the periphery of news-making. They cannot claim equal space in either the structures of newsrooms or in the content produced, be that as sources of news or as the subjects of reports. Indeed, the latest figures from WAN-IFRA’s Women in News Programme show just one in five voices in news belong to women*, be they as sources, as the author or as the main character of the news report.

Some progress was evident several years back, with stand-out women being named as chief executive officers, editors in chief, managing editors and executive editors. But these gains appear short lived in most media organisations. Excitement has turned to frustration as one-step forward has been replaced with three steps backwards. In Africa, the problem is acute. The decision-making tables of media organisations remain deprived of women and where there are women, they are surrounded by men.

Few women have followed in the footsteps of Esther Kamweru, the first woman managing editor in Kenya, and indeed sub-Saharan Africa. Today’s standout women editors include Pamela Makotsi-Sittoni (Nation Media Group, Kenya), Barbara Kaija (New Vision, Uganda), Mary Mbewe (Daily Nation, Zambia), Margaret Vuchiri (The Monitor, Uganda), Joyce Shebe (Clouds, Tanzania), Tryphinah Dongwana (Weekend Post, Botswana), Joyce Mhaville (Independent Television -ITV, Tanzania) and Tuma Abdallah (Standard Newspapers,Tanzania). But they remain an exception.

The lack of balance between women and men at the table of decision making has a rollback effect on the content that is produced. A table dominated by men typically makes decisions that benefit men.

So today, International Women’s Day is a grim reminder that things are not rosy in the news business. Achieving gender balance in news and in the structure of media organisations remains a challenge. Unmet, it sees more than half of the population in our countries suffer the consequences of bias, discrimination and sexism.

The business of ignoring the other half of the population can no longer be treated as normal. It’s time that media leaders grasp the challenge, not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it also makes a whole lot of business sense: start covering women, give them space and a voice in news-making and propel them to all levels of decision making within your organisation.

We can no longer afford to imagine that it’s only men who make and sell the news and bring in the shillings to fund the media business. Women too are worthy newsmakers. In all of our societies, there are women holding decision making positions and who are now experts in once male-only domains such as engineers, doctors, scientists and researchers.

They can be deliberately picked out to share their perspectives and expertise and bring balance to the profile of experts quoted on our news pages. Media is the prism through which society sees itself and women are an untapped audience. So, as we celebrate International Women’s Day, let us embrace diversity, which yields better news content and business products, and in so doing eliminate sexism. We know that actions and attitudes that discriminate against people based on their gender is bad for business.

As media, the challenge is ours. We need to consciously embrace and reach the commitments made 26 years ago when the Beijing Platform for Action was signed globally. As the news consuming public, you have a role to play too. Hold your news organization to account and make sure they deliver balanced news that reflects the voices of all of society.

Jane Godia is a gender development and media expert who serves as the Africa Director of Women in News programme.  
WOMEN IN NEWS is WAN-IFRA’s ground-breaking programme to increase women’s leadership and voices in the news. It does so by equipping women journalists and editors with the skills, strategies, and support networks to take on greater leadership positions within their media. www.womeninnews.org

Jane Godia, Director, Africa, Women in News

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Why is the media so afraid to talk about sexual harassment?

9th March 2021

MELANIE WALKER

The eve of International Women’s Day presents an opportunity for us to think about gender equality and the long and often frustrating march toward societies that are truly equal.

As media, we are uniquely placed to drive forward this reflection and discussion. But while focusing on the challenges of gender in society, we owe it to our staff and the communities we serve to also take a hard look at the obstacles within our own organisations.

I’m talking specifically about the scourge of sexual harassment. It’s likely to have happened in your newsroom. It has likely happened to a member of your team. It happens to all genders but is disproportionately directed at women. It happens in every industry, regardless of country, culture or context. This is because sexual harassment is driven by power, not sex. Wherever you have imbalances in power, you have individuals who are at risk of sexual harassment, and those who abuse this power.

I’ve been sexually harassed. The many journalists and editors, friends and family members who I have spoken to over the years on this subject have also been harassed. Yet it is still hard for leaders to recognize that this could be happening within their newsrooms and boardrooms. Why does it continue to be such a taboo?

Counting the cost of sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is, simply put, bad for business. It can harm your corporate reputation. It is a drain on the productivity of staff and managers. Maintaining and building trust in your brand is an absolute imperative for media organisations globally. If and when a case gets out of control or is badly handled – this can directly impact your bottom line.

It is for this reason that WAN-IFRA Women in News has put eliminating sexual harassment as a top priority in our work around gender equality in the media sector. This might seem at odds with the current climate where social interactions are fewer and remote work scenarios are in place in many newsrooms and businesses. But one only needs to tune into the news to know that the abuse of power, manifested as verbal, physical or online harassment, is alive and well.

Preliminary results from an ongoing Women in News research study into the issue of sexual harassment polling hundreds of journalists in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia indicate that more than 1 in 3 women media professionals have been physically harassed, and just under 50% have been verbally harassed. Just over 15% of men in African newsrooms reported being physically harassed, and slightly less than 1 in 4 reports being verbally harassed. The numbers for male media professionals in Southeast Asia are slightly higher than a quarter on both forms of harassment.

The first step in confronting sexual harassment is to talk about it. We need to strip away the stigma and discomfort around having open conversations about what sexual harassment is and isn’t. Media managers, it is entirely in your power to create dynamics in your own teams that are free from sexual harassment.

Publishers and CEOs, you set the organisational culture in your media company.

By being vocal in recognising that it happens everywhere, and communicating to your employees that you will not tolerate sexual harassment of any kind, you send a powerful message to your teams, and publicly. With these actions, you will help us overcome the legacy of silence around this topic, and in doing so take an important first step to create media environments that truly embrace equality.

Melanie Walker is Executive Director of Media Development of the World Association of News Publishers (WAN-IFRA). She is a creator of Women in News, WAN-IFRA’s ground-breaking programme to increase women’s leadership and voices in the news. It does so by equipping women journalists and editors with the skills, strategies, and support networks to take on greater leadership positions within their media. www.womeninnews.org

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