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Nkaigwa: Resign From Parliament and BMD

BISMILLARHIR RAHMANIR RAHIM! My fear is not that I am not necessarily of the Christian faith but rather aligned more to the Islamic faith. I was not only raised by a deeply rooted Christian faith based mother, my family and friends are predominantly Christian. I can confidently say I am a Liberal Muslim.  This is the reason I attained religious tolerance with outmost ease.  My fear is that this tolerance seems to be the most difficult thing you will go through in your entire life. My fear is that your remarks, motion, tone and reaction to concerns of religious intolerance has presented in you a man not fit to hold public office.

My fear is also not that my Muslim brothers will be irked by your words for we are residents in a world where Islaam has continually been castigated for everything wrong under the sun. We of the Muslim Ummah have learnt to adopt and appreciated the ignorance that comes with being dependent on the western media. And my fear sad enough is that this ignorance comes with lack of basic reading. This ignorance is not only against Islam, it is against many other religions of the world, but I cannot speak for them.
My fear comes with the fact that I woke up to the sad realisation that you are pursuing some random thoughts and trying to make them statutory. These thoughts which you present as a need for the Republic of Botswana to be declared a Christian state have in the extreme scared me.

Ketshogile moke sisimogang mele. My fear rather come with a strong sense of authority on the formation of the Botswana Movement for Democracy. A political party you were to join upon attainment of whatever reason then. I was amongst those who did not necessarily engage you on the reasons but simply encouraged that you jump ship before you are left alone. It appears choosing not to reason with you but simply ensuring that you have a membership form to fill was the best thing done. My fear is that reasoning with you would have probably been a choice not to embrace time.

My fear is that I was under the assumption that as a Member of Parliament through the BMD ticket, you understand better liberalism as a solid pillar which is the foundation of the BMD.  The BMD as a member of the African Liberal Network (ALN) and subsequently a member of the Liberal International (LI) is bound by the same membership and affiliation to not only be secular in religion but to amongst other things to openly be in support of secularism, homosexuality, abortion and prostitution. 

My fear is that you are not aware that the BMD general membership has statutorily adopted this policy focus and that, though the BMD has for political gains opted to not necessarily be openly loud about such legalisation of homosexuality, abortion, prostitution and secularism, they are pronounced in its format and formation. My fear is that you have not observed clearly the friends of the BMD perhaps to mention a few being; Democratic Alliance of South Africa and Lesotho Congress for Democracy which are in favour of secularism, homosexuality, prostitution and abortion.

My fear is that this essentially brings into the credibility and authenticity of a Member of Parliament who came into parliament under the same support of secularism who now resorts to see everything bad with it. My quick contribution of advice will be, before you go against secularism, remember that it is the very format you came into parliament through and hence it is best that you begin by abdicating the parliamentary throne. In other words, resign from parliament to show cause your displeasure at this secularism and its associated governed structures such as parliament and the BMD that makes a huge part of the same Government as allowed by the same secular structures and laws. 

My fear is that actually, in my non-partisan positon, listening to you I remarked to myself why the BMD does not engage on some form of trade with the Botswana Democratic Party so you could go back to the BDP and allow Honourable Botlogile Tshireletso into the BMD to come and lead the liberal direction. Botlogile Tshireletso has been resilient in her calling for liberalisation of legislature, my fear is that Botlogile Tshireletso is actually doing the job that should be done by BMD Members of Parliament such as yourself. You do not want to do this yet belong to a party that subscribes to these ideology. Simply resign from both the party and the national assembly as do not agree with the establishment so you may just shout from the roof tops just like the rest of us.

Within the many conversations I have had with Comrade Duma Boko of the Botswana National Front, one of that which stands out was when we discussed my resignation from the BMD National Spokesperson position whereupon I also made it known to him that I will also have the time to offer my Salaah (prayer). He at this point alerted to me his closeness to Islaam. In very few words he had expressed to me that he was indeed of the Islamic faith.

You should have seen the brightness of my face. My fear is that you seem not to be aware that there are many Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists like that in this country, whom we refer to as non- practising faith based people, I can name several prominent names, most of which you interact with on daily basis. Such people are not a problem but a blessing to this country and the world. Part of how they are a blessing was to recruit you from the Botswana Democratic Party to the BMD and gave you an opportunity to serve as a Member of Parliament. A position you seem to be fed up with.

Let me remind you of the notion that Botswana is a secular state by law, the same law that brought you into parliament and allowing the country to be secular has been by deliberate design. By deliberate design because upon nationalisation, it was also observed and respected that Batswana had before the arrival Araba traders, who were mostly of Muslim faith had their own religion.

Then there was also the Christian Missionaries. Botswana like all other African countries who had been in existence then had been practising what is globally referred as the African Traditional Religion (ATR). This religion (ATR) is taught alongside all other religions of the world at the University of Botswana such as Islam, Christianity, Jewish faith etc. I am assuming that you were born into the African Traditional Religion sphere for you only embraced Christianity recently.

This Batswana are amongst the many who flocked to the polls to give you a vote. My fear is that you probably like many other wishing to be politicians consulted traditional doctors to ensure your win at the same elections. You were not wrong, it is a religion you were born into. Do not want to disown it simply at the comforts of parliamentary perks. We are a nation that has been built on unity; let us be.

My parting note is this that, if you do not intend on resigning as that might harm your pocket, at the very least simply keep quite. It is okay when you don’t have anything to say; to simply keep quite. You must learn from the Member of Tlokweng Same Bathobakae who has been quite since orientation of National Assembly Members after the 2014 election and only to resurface when a local newspaper was asking about sex and politics. You can just be quite and only take part if the subject matter is that which you are conversant with. ALLAHUR AKBAR!

The Journey Continues,
Rasina Winfred Rasina
Gaborone North and Molepolole South Constituencies
Email:  HYPERLINK "mailto:rwwrasina@yahoo.com" rwwrasina@yahoo.com
Mobile: +267 71886794

 

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Opinions

The Taiwan Question: China ramps up military exercises to rebuff US provocations

18th August 2022

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosis visit to Taiwan has violated the One-China policy, and caused the escalation of tensions across the Taiwan Strait. Experts and political observers across the spectra agree that Pelosis actions and subsequent pronouncements by US President Joe Biden gave impetus to an already simmering tension in the Taiwan Strait, provoking China to strengthen its legitimate hold on the Taiwan Strait waters, which the US and Taiwan deem as international waters.

Pelosis visit to Chinas Taiwan region has been heavily criticised across the globe, with China arguing that this is a serious violation of the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-US Joint Communiqus. In response to this reckless move which seriously undermined China’s sovereignty, and interfered in China’s internal affairs, the expectation is for China to give a firm response. Pelosi visit violated the commitments made by the U.S. side, and seriously jeopardized peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

To give context to Chinas position over Taiwan region, the history behind gives us perspective. It is also important to note that the history between China and Taiwan is well documented and the US has always recognized it.

The Peoples Republic of China recognises Taiwan as its territory. It has always been the case even before the Nationalist Republic of China government fled to the previously Japanese-ruled Island after losing the civil war on the mainland in 1949. According to literature that threat was contained for decades first with a military alliance between the US and the ROC on Taiwan, and after Washington switched diplomatic recognition to the PRC in 1979 by the US One China policy, which acknowledges Beijings position that Taiwan is part of One China. Effectively, Taiwans administration was transferred to the Republic of China from Japan after the Second World War in 1945, along with the split between the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (ROC) as a consequence of the Chinese Civil War. Disregarding this history, as the US is attempting to do, will surely initiate some defence reaction on the side of China to affirm its sovereignty.

However, this history was undermined since Taiwan claimed to democratise in the 1990s and China has grown ever more belligerent. Furthermore, it is well documented that the Biden administration, following the Trump presidency, has made subtle changes in the way it deals with Taipei, such as loosening restrictions on US officials meeting Taiwanese officials this should make China uneasy. And while the White House continues to say it does not support Taiwanese independence, Bidens words and actions are parallel to this pledge because he has warned China that the US would intervene militarily if China attacked Taiwan another statement that has provoked China.

Pelosi, in her private space, would know that her actions amount to provocation of China. This act of aggression by the USA seriously undermines the virtues of sovereignty and territorial integrity which has a huge potential to destabilize not only the Taiwan Strait but the whole of the Asia- Pacific region. The Americans know very well that their provocative behavior is deliberately invoking the spirit of separatism masqueraded as Taiwan independence. The US is misled to think that by supporting separatism of Taiwan from China that would give them an edge over China in a geopolitics. This is what one Chinese diplomat said this week: The critical point is if every country put their One-China policy into practice with sincerity, with no compromise, is going to guarantee the peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. Therefore, it was in the wake of US House speaker Nancy Pelosis visit to Taiwan, that China, in a natural response revealed plans for unprecedented military exercises near the island, prompting fears of a crisis in the Taiwan Strait and the entire Asia-Pacific region. The world community must promote and foster peace, this may be achieved when international laws are respected. It may also happen when nations respect the sovereignty of another. China may be in a better space because it is well capacitated to stake its territorial integrity, what about a small nation, if this happens to it?

As to why military exercises by Beijing; it is an expected response because China was provoked by the actions of Pelosi. To fortify this position, Chinese President, Xi signed a legal basis for Chinas Peoples Liberation Army to safeguard Chinas national sovereignty, security and development interests. The legal basis will also allow military missions around disaster relief, humanitarian aid and peacekeeping. In addition the legal changes would allow troops to prevent spillover effects of regional instabilities from affecting China, secure vital transport routes for strategic materials like oil, or safeguard Chinas overseas investments, projects and personnel. It then follows that President Xis administration cannot afford to look weak under a US provocation. President Xi must protector Chinas sovereignty and territorial integrity, of which Taiwan is a central part. Beijing is very clear on One-China Policy, and expects all world players to recognize and respect it.

The Peoples Liberation Army has made it clear that it has firepower that covers all of Taiwan, and it can strike wherever it wants. This sentiments have been attributed to Zhang Junshe, a researcher at the PLA Navy Research Institute. Zheng further said, We got really close to Taiwan. We encircled Taiwan. And we demonstrated that we can effectively stop intervention by foreign forces. This is a strong reaction from China to warn the US against provocation and violation of the One-China Policy.

Beijings military exercises will certainly shake Taiwans confidence in the sources of its economic and political survival. The potential for an effective blockade threatens the air and shipping routes that support Taiwans central role in global technology supply chains. Should a humanitarian situation arise in Taiwan, the blame would squarely be on the US.

As Chinas military exercises along the Taiwan Strait progress and grow, it remains that the decision by Nancy Pelosi to visit Chinas Taiwan region gravely undermined peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and sent a wrong signal to Taiwan independence separatist forces. This then speaks to international conventions, as the UN Secretary-General Antnio Guterres explicitly stressed that the UN remains committed to the UN General Assembly Resolution 2758. The centerpiece is the one-China principle, namely, there is but one China in the world, the government of the Peoples Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China, and Taiwan is a part of China. It must be noted that the US and the US-led NATO countries have selectively applied international law, this has been going on unabated. There is a plethora of actions that have collapsed several states after they were attacked under the pretext of the so-called possession of weapons of mass destruction illuminating them as threats – and sometimes even without any valid reason. to blatantly launch military strikes and even unleash wars on sovereign countrie

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Opinions

Internal party-democracy under pressure

21st June 2022

British novelist, W. Somerset Maugham once opined: If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that too.

The truism in these words cannot be underestimated, especially when contextualizing against the political developments in Botswana. We have become a nation that does not value democracy, yet nothing represent freedom more than democracy. In fact, we desire, and value winning power or clinging to power more than anything else, even if it harms the democratic credentials of our political institutions. This is happening across political parties ruling and opposition.

As far as democracy is concerned, we are regressing. We are becoming worse-off than we were in the past. If not arrested, Botswana will lose its status as among few democratic nations in the Africa. Ironically, Botswana was the first country in Africa to embrace democracy, and has held elections every five years without fail since independence.

We were once viewed as the shining example of Africa. Those accolades are not worth it any more. Young democracies such as South Africa, with strong institutions, deserves to be exalted. Botswana has lost faith in democracy, and we will pay a price for it. It is a slippery slope to dictatorship, which will bring among other excess, assault on civil liberties and human rights violations.

Former President, Festus Mogae once stated that Botswanas democracy will only become authentic, when a different party, other than the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) wins elections, and when the President of such party is not from Serowe.

Although many may not publicly care to admit, Mogaes assertion is true. BDP has over the years projected itself as a dyed-in-the-wool proponent of democracy, but the moment its stay in power became threatened and uncertain, it started behaving in a manner that is at variance with democratic values.This has been happening over the years now, and the situation is getting worse by the day.

Recently, the BDP party leadership has been preaching compromise and consensus candidates for 2024 general elections. Essentially, the leadership has lost faith in theBulela Ditswedispensation, which has been used to selected party candidates for council and parliament since 2003. The leadership is discouraging democracy because they believe primary elections threaten party unity. It is a strange assertion indeed.

Bulela Ditswewas an enrichment of internal party democracy in the sense that it replaced the previous method of selection of candidates known as Committee of 18, in which a branch committee made of 18 people endorsed the representatives. While it is true that political contest can divide, the ruling party should be investing in political education and strengthening in its primary elections processes. Democracy does not come cheap or easy, but it is valuable.

Any unity that we desire so much at the expense of democracy is not true unity. Like W. Somerset Maugham said, democracy would be lost in the process, and ultimately, even the unity that was desired would eventually be lost too. Any solution that sacrifice democracy would not bring any results in the long run, except misery.

We have seen that also in opposition ranks. The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) recently indicated that its incumbent Members of Parliament (MPs) should not be challenged for their seats. While BDP is sacrificing democracy to stay in power, UDC is sacrificing democracy to win power. It is a scary reality given the fact that both parties ruling and opposition have embraced this position and believe democracy is the hindrance to their political ambitions.

These current reality points to one thing; our political parties have lost faith in democracy. They desire power more than, the purpose of power itself. It is also a crisis of leadership across the political divide, where we have seen dissenting views being met with persecution. We have seen perverting of political process endorsed by those in echelons of power to manipulate political outcomes in their favour.

Democracy should not be optional, it should be mandatory. Any leader proposing curtailing of democracy should be viewed with suspicion, and his adventures should be rejected before it is too late. Members of political parties, as subscribers of democracy, should collectively rise to the occasion to save their democracy from self-interest that is becoming prevalent among Botswana political parties.

The so-called compromise candidates, only benefits the leadership because it creates comforts for them. But for members, and for the nation, it is causing damage by reversing the gains that have been made over the years. We should reject leaders who only preach democracy in word, but are hesitant to practice it.

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Opinions

The Big Deal About Piracy

21st June 2022

Piracy of all kinds continues to have a massive impact on the global creative industry and the economies of the countries where it thrives.

One of the biggest misconceptions around piracy is that an individual consumers piracy activities, especially in a market the size of Botswanas, is only a drop in the pool of potential losses to the different sectors of the economy piracy affects.

When someone sitting in Gaborone, Botswana logs onto an illegal site to download King Richard online, they dont imagine that their one download will do anything to the production houses pocket or make a dent in the actors net worth. At best, the sensitivity towards this illegal pirating activity likely only exists when contemplating going about pirating a local musicians music or a short film produced locally.

The ripple effects of piracy at whatever scale reach far beyond what the average consumer could ever imagine. Figures released by software security and media technology company, Irdeto, show that users in five major African territories made approximately 17,4 million total visits to the top 10 identified piracy sites on the internet.

The economic impact of this on the creative industry alone soars to between 40 and 97.1 billion dollars, according a 2022 Dataprot study. In addition, they estimate that illegally streamed copyrighted content consumes 24% of global bandwidth.

As Botswanas creative industry remains relatively slight on the scale of comparison to industries such as Nollywood and Nilewood where the creative industry contributes a huge proportion to West and East Africas respective GDPs, that does not imply that piracy activities in Botswana do not have a similar impact on our economy and the ability of our creative industry to grow.

When individuals make decisions to illegally consume content via internet streaming sites they believe they are saving money for themselves in the name of enjoying content they desire to consume. Although this is a personal choice that remains the prerogative of the consumer, looking beyond the fact that streaming on illegal content sites is piracy, the ripple effect of this decision also has an endless trail of impact where funds which could be used to grow the local creative industry through increased consumption, and revenue which would otherwise be fed back into Botswanas economy are being diverted.

Why cant our local creative industry grow? Why dont we see more home-grown films and shows in Botswana? are questions constantly posed by those who consume television content in Botswana. The answer to this lies largely in the fact that Botswanas local content needs an audience in order for it to grow. It needs support from government and entities which are in a position to fund and help the industry scale greater heights.

Any organisational body willing to support and grow the local creative industry needs to exist and operate in an economy which can support its mandates. Content piracy is a cycle that can only be alleviated when consumers make wiser decisions around what they consume and how.

This goes beyond eradicating piracy activities in so far as television content is concerned. This extends to the importation and trade in counterfeit goods, resale of goods and services not intended for resale across the border, outside its jurisdiction, and more. All of these activities stunt the growth of an economy and make it nearly impossible for industries and sectors to propel themselves to places where they can positively impact society and reinvest into the countrys economy.

So what can be done to turn the tide here in Botswana in order to see our local production houses gain the momentum required to produce more, license more and expand their horizons? While those who enforce the law continue to work towards minimizing piracy activities, its imperative that as consumers we work to make their efforts easier by being mindful of how our individual actions play a role in preventing the success of our local creative networks and our economys growth.

Whether you are pirating a Hollywood Blockbuster, illegally streaming a popular Motswana artists music, or smuggling in an illegal decoder to view content restricted to South Africa only, your actions have an impact on how we as a nation will make our mark on the global landscape with local creative productions. Thembi Legwaila is Corporate Affairs Manager, MultiChoice Botswana

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