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Water in "Fire" churches

Mogotsi D. Baloyi


In the 1997 movie, "Anaconda," there is a scene where the ferry transporting the expedition team deep into the Amazon to study the elusive Shirishama Indians, comes to an artificial barrier mid-river.

John Sarone, an enigmatic and colorful character played by Jon Voight, whose trade was trapping live anacondas, proposed blowing up the barrier with dynamite so as to greatly reduce the distance to the hospital to which they were carrying one of the team members.

As Gary, played by Owen Wilson, was helping Sarone tie dynamite sticks to the barrier, he suddenly reacted to something moving beneath the water. "There's something in the water," said he. "Yes, there is," replied Sarone. "There is something in the water."

I want to take up my discourse this week from that simple statement made by a startled character in a movie, the response to which was, "Yes, there is." There is something in the water. There has to be, if the ubiquity of water usage in religion is anything to go by.

However, for my submission, I will preoccupy myself not with water employment in religion as a whole, but only within the commonly termed Pentecostal-Charismatic Movement, lately derisively called in these parts of the world as "Fire" Churches. You won't be long in these Churches before you come across the use of water – from drinking, to spraying, to bathing, and everything else in-between.

This water can be "normal" water in a bottle or any container, to specially branded water in bottles of varying sizes and sometimes each labeled for specific uses. The packaged water is typically still water. I'm not aware of the use of sparkling water, although you must expect anything these days.

But I digress. Now, this water comes under many names, the most common being, "anointing water," popularized and introduced into the Pentecostal-Charismatic mainstream by Nigerian Prophet, Temitope Balogun Joshua of the Synagogue Church Of All Nations. Other names are, "holy water," which is perhaps the oldest name for it, and also, "living water." These are the most common names of water used in "Fire" Churches.

This, as I have mentioned, is your typical bottled water you can find at your local supermarket. Nothing fancy. Water is water. The only difference is that it is rebranded with either the picture of the "Prophet," his title, the name of his organization, and sometimes a scripture verse, and intended usage and instructions. For those who want to add a touch of exclusivity, the whole bottling and packaging is done by the Church organization.

And still for those who want to bury the competition, the water would be said to be imported straight from the River Jordan in Israel! Game over to the competition. You can't beat that. Water from the River Jordan, in which Naaman was cleansed, is the Real McCoy! Most Catholics are familiar with the practice of entering their church, dipping the finger(s) of their right hand in the font with holy water, and making the Sign of the Cross. Catholics repeat this ritual upon leaving the church.

The holy water in the font is "holy" only insofar as it has been blessed (or sanctified) by a priest. The water itself is not magic. Its power depends on the prayers, faith and devotion of the person who uses it. The Catholics believe that making the Sign of the Cross with holy water, one expresses faith in God as Father, God as Son, and God as Holy Spirit and asks God's blessing in the name of the same three divine persons.

This ritual action of blessing oneself also serves as a reminder of one's baptism. Water, itself, has a long association with God's saving deeds. With water all things are washed and nourished. Water is a life giving source for all of nature and vegetation. Water flowed from the rock as God's gift to the children of Israel in their wilderness wanderings. The water of the Red Sea was divided to liberate God's people from slavery.

Jesus was baptized in the waters of the Jordan. He came walking on the water to calm the storm on the Sea of Galilee. Ritual washings were required for the Jewish people before entering the temple; and, of course, this prefigured baptism. In the theology of the Catholic Church, holy water is considered as sacramental as are crucifixes, medals, pictures of saints, rosaries, ashes and palms. Only when blessed are these to be thought of as holy.

The Catholic Church also views as holy candles, Bibles, ashes and palms that are blessed. All such "blessed" objects are to be treated with reverence and respect; and when they are broken or damaged or no longer usable, they are to be disposed of by pouring into a special hand basin in the sacristy (sacrarium) or buried but never thrown into the garbage. It is believed that the use of holy water dates to the first century, and even some sources relate its early usage to St. Matthew, although written documentation about its usage date to the third or fourth century.

In the Catholic Tradition, holy water is used for the purpose of baptisms, blessing of persons, places and objects, or as protection against evil and danger. Holy water is also used by the priest to sprinkle the congregation during the entrance rite of the Mass.

It is used by priests when blessing homes, animals, places of business, automobiles, and objects of devotion such as medals, rosaries, etc. But how and why did the Pentecostals and Charismatics join the water brigade? Why the fascination and preoccupation with water from the very people who, not too long ago, bashed and mocked traditional Africanist Churches for using water?

As recently as the late '90s, followers of "Fire" Churches would never be caught dead using water as a faith medium. It was looked down upon, and those "garment" Churches that used water were the butt of jokes and subjects of ridicule. Fast-forward to this decade and "Fire" Churches churn more liters of water per day than all these "Water" Churches combined per month! I lie not! There are some Churches where entire warehouses hold thousands of gallons of water, ready to be blessed, and ready to be sold to the thirsty and desperate throngs.

Some Churches generate considerable revenue from water sales alone. With the right marketing strategy, a man of God can become a wealthy water distribution entrepreneur wielding a Bible as a front. Water bottles easily outsell Bibles, books, tapes, CDs, and any other materials combined! Yes, Gary, there is something in the water. But what is it that's in the water?

Why are Churches known for their emphasis and screams and shouts of "fire" now neck-deep in water? Aren't fire and water incompatible? Or we are now deep into physics whereby we argue that water is a by-product of fire since it is a result of the combustion of hydrogen and oxygen molecules? Fire! Why the about-turn from condemning water to leading the pack in its usage in faith matters? I don't purport to have the answers, but I'll throw in my two cents' worth. You see, water is a basic requirement of and for life. In their deep space quest for signs of life, for instance, NASA almost invariably look for ice caps (water).

The premise is obvious. If there is a presence of water on a planetary body, then it scientifically follows that life can be supported. The very world we live in, according to the Genesis account, emerged on Creation morning out of water. Genesis 1:1-2 KJV [1] In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. [2] And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.

And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. Science tells us that our human body is made up of about 70% water. In other words, more than half of our constitution is water-based. Is it a wonder therefore that we should be so easily responsive to water? I think not. So, even before the importation of religion, we are biologically wired to be at home around water. Indeed, before we are even born, our essence is crafted and subsists in a watery world called the amniotic sac. In other words, we were formed in water. Water phobias and general avoidance of water later on in life are learned habits, completely unnatural.

I posit that this major role of water in the human body is the building block giving rise to the religious use of water for supernatural purposes. Not that this is itself strange. Not in the least. Throughout the Bible, water plays a major role in the narrative.

The first universal judgment was through the employment of water. Moses, whose very name means, "drawn from water," a huge personality in the Bible, was rescued from the waters of the Nile River. Running as a fugitive from Egypt, he met some women, one of whom was later to become his wife, at a well in the land of Midian.

His plagues of Egypt aside, perhaps his greatest feat of supernatural power was the parting of the Red Sea, a huge water body. En-route to the promised land, he "cured" the bitter waters at Marah. Exodus 15:23-25 KJV [23] And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. [24]

And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? [25] And he cried unto the Lord ; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them…

Such was the prominence of the water theme in Moses' life that his career, one that began in the water, so to speak, also ended around a water issue. The Bible says that when he was instructed to speak to the rock so that the water can gush out, he struck it in anger. In displeasure at Moses' disobedience, God told him he would not enter the Promised Land. Throughout the Old Testament, the water theme features prominently with the acts of God and the presence of God.

Psalm 29:3 KJV [3] The voice of the Lord is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the Lord is upon many waters. Psalm 77:19 KJV [19] Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known. Jeremiah 2:13 KJV [13] For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

Ezekiel 47:1-4 KJV [1] Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar. [2]

Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side. [3]

And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles. [4] Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees.

Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins. Zechariah 14:8 KJV [8] And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. God likened the life He gives to water. It should come as no surprise therefore that water is being used in faith cycles as a symbol of water. In John 5, the waters of the Pool of Bethesda were like a hospital.

Wholesale masses of the infirm and invalid would be cured upon entering the pool after an angel stirred up the waters. It mattered not what the affliction was; the angel stirred waters would heal. Whether the stirring of the angel made the water "holy" or "anointed" is a debate for another day. It is from texts like these, that the use of water is promoted.

Used as a faith medium, it is preached and hoped that the user will naturally identify with the life-giving nature of water and its refreshing abilities to give his or her faith a boost. In other words, the water medium would play the role of a visual aid to assist one's faith.

Unfortunately, there's a fine line between a visual aid and an idol. In fact, aren't idols visual aids to begin with? Aren't idols visible representations of invisible realities? As such, aren't they visual aids? But that's another argument for another day. The point being driven home is that, for those who are sincere, or who claim a divine revelation or instruction to introduce water in their Churches, water is used as a symbol of life.

Where there is decay, sickness, struggle, oppression, poverty, and all other human or demonic vices, the introduction of water as a faith prop is supposed to bring in supernatural intervention. It's a slippery slope, I know. But it works. Although it can be argued that it's not the water that works per se but one's faith.

Many years ago as a little boy, I accompanied a man on a strange mission. I understood that he was a "water diviner." His mission was to go prospecting for water from underground aquifers. Now, this man had nothing scientific to go about his mission in the form of equipment or any obvious tools. The only thing he had, curiously, was a stick.

Yes, a thin, dry twig you can find anywhere, although I doubt his was any old stick as I was to later discover. There was nothing eventful about our quest as I followed quietly behind. All of a sudden, he started to tremble and shake violently! His stick seemed to assume a life of its own and wiggled and wriggled in his hands like the tail of an excited Jack Russell! The man was sweating profusely! I was both awed and petrified at this spectacle.

Clearly, something beyond the natural was at play and I had a front row seat to the whole thing. "There is a lot of water here!" He panted breathlessly, to me and to himself and to no one in particular. I got to understand that his "divining rod" helped him locate where subterranean waters were. The stick would point this way and that way, and he would follow. Where the stick pointed, there he went.

This went on for a few minutes until he had satisfied himself and finally there was calm again. Mission accomplished. That afternoon, his violent reaction was testimony to the fact that there was plenty of water underneath our feet.

It demonstrated that not only was there water, but there was plenty of it. His stick and his body reacted to the presence of the water. How? I don't know. I don't know whether what I witnessed that afternoon falls under science, physics (or metaphysics), or religion. But it doesn't fall under fiction. Yes, there is something in the water.

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Elected officials should guard against personal interest

23rd September 2020

Parliament was this week once again seized with matters that concern them and borders on conflict of interest and abuse of privilege.

The two matters are; review of MPs benefits as well as President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s participation in the bidding for Banyana Farms. For the latter, it should not come as a surprise that President Masisi succeeded in bid.

The President’s business interests have also been in the forefront. While President Masisi is entitled as a citizen to participate in a various businesses in the country or abroad, it is morally deficient for him to participate in a bidding process that is handled by the government he leads. By the virtue of his presidency, Masisi is the head of government and head of State.

Not long ago, former President Festus Mogae suggested that elected officials should consider using blind trust to manage their business interests once they are elected to public office. Though blind trusts are expensive, they are the best way of ensuring confidence in those that serve in public office.

A blind trust is a trust established by the owner (or trustor) giving another party (the trustee) full control of the trust. Blind trusts are often established in situations where individuals want to avoid conflicts of interest between their employment and investments.

The trustee has full discretion over the assets and investments while being charged with managing the assets and any income generated in the trust.

The trustor can terminate the trust, but otherwise exercises no control over the actions taken within the trust and receives no reports from the trustees while the blind trust is in force.

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Secretary General, Mpho Balopi, has defended President Masisi’s participation in business and in the Banyana Farms bidding. His contention is that, the practise even obtained during the administration of previous presidents.

The President is the most influential figure in the country. His role is representative and he enjoys a plethora of privileges. He is not an ordinary citizen. The President should therefore be mindful of this fact.

We should as a nation continue to thrive for improvement of our laws with the viewing of enhancing good governance. We should accept perpetuation of certain practices on the bases that they are a norm. MPs are custodians of good governance and they should measure up to the demands of their responsibility.

Parliament should not be spared for its role in countenancing these developments. Parliament is charged with the mandate of making laws and providing oversight, but for them to make laws that are meant solely for their benefits as MPs is unethical and from a governance point of view, wrong.

There have been debates in parliament, some dating from past years, about the benefits of MPs including pension benefits. It is of course self-serving for MPs to be deliberating on their compensation and other benefits.

In the past, we have also contended that MPs are not the right people to discuss their own compensation and there has to be Special Committee set for the purpose. This is a practice in advanced democracies.

By suggesting this, we are not suggesting that MP benefits are in anyway lucrative, but we are saying, an independent body may figure out the best way of handling such issues, and even offer MPs better benefits.

In the United Kingdom for example; since 2009 following a scandal relating to abuse of office, set-up Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA)

IPSA is responsible for: setting the level of and paying MPs’ annual salaries; paying the salaries of MPs’ staff; drawing up, reviewing, and administering an MP’s allowance scheme; providing MPs with publicly available and information relating to taxation issues; and determining the procedures for investigations and complaints relating to MPs.

Owing to what has happened in the Parliament of Botswana recently, we now need to have a way of limiting what MPs can do especially when it comes to laws that concern them. We cannot be too trusting as a nation.

MPs can abuse office for their own agendas. There is need to act swiftly to deal with the inherent conflict of interest that arise as a result of our legislative setup. A voice of reason should emerge from Parliament to address this unpleasant situation. This cannot be business as usual.

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The Corona Coronation (Part 10)

9th July 2020

Ever heard of a 666-type beast known as Fort Detrick?

Located in the US state of Maryland, about 80 km removed from Washington DC, Fort Detrick houses the US army’s top virus research laboratory. It has been identified as “home to the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, with its bio-defense agency, the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, and  also hosts the National Cancer Institute-Frederick and the National Interagency Confederation for Biological Research and National Interagency Biodefense Campus”.

The 490-hectare campus researches the world’s deadliest pathogens, including Anthrax (in 1944, the Roosevelt administration ordered 1 million anthrax bombs from Fort Detrick), Ebola, smallpox, and … you guessed right: coronaviruses.  The facility, which carries out paid research projects for government agencies (including the CIA), universities and drug companies most of whom owned by the highly sinister military-industrial complex, employs 900 people.

Between 1945 and 1969, the sprawling complex (which has since become the US’s ”bio-defence centre” to put it mildly) was the hub of the US biological weapons programme. It was at Fort Detrick that Project MK Ultra, a top-secret CIA quest to subject   the human mind to routine robotic manipulation, a monstrosity the CIA openly owned up to in a congressional inquisition in 1975, was carried out.  In the consequent experiments, the guinea pigs comprised not only of people of the forgotten corner of America – inmates, prostitutes and the homeless but also prisoners of war and even regular US servicemen.

These unwitting participants underwent up to a 20-year-long ordeal of barbarous experiments involving psychoactive drugs (such as LSD), forced electroshocks, physical and sexual abuses, as well as a myriad of other torments. The experiments not only violated international law, but also the CIA’s own charter which forbids domestic activities. Over 180 doctors and researchers took part in these horrendous experiments and this in a country which touts itself as the most civilised on the globe!

Was the coronavirus actually manufactured at Fort Detrick (like HIV as I shall demonstrate at the appropriate time) and simply tactfully patented to other equally cacodemonic places such as the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China?

THE FORT DETRICK SCIENTISTS’ PROPHECY WAS WELL-INFORMED

 

About two years before the term novel coronavirus became a familiar feature in day-to-day banter, two scientist cryptically served advance warning of its imminence. They were Allison Totura and Sina Bavari, both researchers at Fort Detrick.

The two scientists talked of “novel highly pathogenic coronaviruses that may emerge from animal reservoir hosts”, adding, “These coronaviruses may have the potential to cause devastating pandemics due to unique features in virus biology including rapid viral replication, broad host range, cross-species transmission, person-to-person transmission, and lack of herd immunity in human populations  Associated with novel respiratory syndromes, they move from person-to-person via close contact and can result in high morbidity and mortality caused by the progression to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).”

All the above constitute some of the documented attributes and characteristics of the virus presently on the loose – the propagator of Covid-19. A recent clinical review of Covid-19 in The Economist seemed to bear out this prognostication when it said, “It is ARDS that sees people rushed to intensive-care units and put on ventilators”. As if sounding forth a veritable prophecy, the two scientists besought governments to start working on counter-measures there and then that could be “effective against such a virus”.

Well, it was not by sheer happenstance that Tortura and Bavari turned out to have been so incredibly and ominously prescient. They had it on good authority, having witnessed at ringside what the virus was capable of in the context of their own laboratory.  The gory scenario they painted for us came not from secondary sources but from the proverbial horse’s mouth folks.

CDC’S RECKLESS ADMISSION

In March this year, Robert Redfield, the US  Director for the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),  told the House of Representatives’ Oversight Committee that it had transpired that some members of the American populace  who were certified as having died of influenza  turned out to have harboured the novel coronavirus per posthumous analysis of their tissue.

Redfield was not pressed to elaborate but the message was loud and clear – Covid-19 had been doing the rounds in the US much earlier than it was generally supposed and that the extent to which it was mistaken for flu was by far much more commonplace than was openly admitted. An outspoken Chinese diplomat, Zhao Lijian, seized on this rather casual revelation and insisted that the US disclose further information, exercise transparency on coronavirus cases and provide an explanation to the public.

But that was not all the beef Zhao had with the US. He further charged that the coronavirus was possibly transplanted to China by the US: whether inadvertently or by deliberate design he did not say.  Zhao pointed to the Military World Games of October 2019, in which US army representatives took part, as the context in which the coronavirus irrupted into China. Did the allegation ring hollow or there was a ring of truth to it?

THE BENASSIE FACTOR

The Military World Games, an Olympic-style spectrum of competitive action, are held every four years. The 2019 episode took place in Wuhan, China. The 7th such, the games ran from October 18 to October 27.  The US contingent comprised of 17 teams of over 280 athletes, plus an innumerable other staff members. Altogether, over 9000 athletes from 110 countries were on hand to showcase their athletic mettle in more than 27 sports. All NATO countries were present, with Africa on its part represented by 30 countries who included Botswana, Egypt, Kenya, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Besides the singular number of participants, the event notched up a whole array of firsts. One report spelt them out thus: “The first time the games were staged outside of military bases, the first time the games were all held in the same city, the first time an Athletes’ Village was constructed, the first time TV and VR systems were powered by 5G telecom technology, and the first use of all-round volunteer services for each delegation.”

Now, here is the clincher: the location of the guest house for the US team was located in the immediate neighbourhood of the Wuhan Seafood Market, the place the Chinese authorities to this day contend was the diffusion point of the coronavirus. But there is more: according to some reports, the person who allegedly but unwittingly transmitted the virus to the people milling about the market – Patient Zero of Covid-19 – was one Maatie Benassie.

Benassie, 52, is a security officer of Sergeant First Class rank at the Fort Belvoir military base in Virginia and took part in the 50-mile cycling road race in the same competitions. In the final lap, she was accidentally knocked down by a fellow contestant and sustained a fractured rib and a concussion though she soldiered on and completed the race with the agonising adversity.  Inevitably, she saw a bit of time in a local health facility.   According to information dug up by George Webb, an investigative journalist based in Washington DC,     Benassie would later test positive for Covid-19 at the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital.

Incidentally, Benassie apparently passed on the virus to other US soldiers at the games, who were hospitalised right there in China before they were airlifted back to the US. The US government straightaway prohibited the publicising of details on the matter under the time-honoured excuse of “national security interests”, which raised eyebrows as a matter-of-course. As if that was not fishy enough, the US out of the blue tightened Chinese visas to the US at the conclusion of the games.

The rest, as they say, is history: two months later, Covid-19 had taken hold on China territory.  “From that date onwards,” said one report, “one to five new cases were reported each day. By December 15, the total number of infections stood at 27 — the first double-digit daily rise was reported on December 17 — and by December 20, the total number of confirmed cases had reached 60.”

TWO CURIOUS RESEARCH HALTINGS

Is it a coincidence that all the US soldiers who fell ill at the Wuhan games did their preparatory training at the Fort Belvoir military base, only a 15-minutes’  drive from Fort Detrick?

That Fort Detrick is a plain-sight perpetrator of pathogenic evils is evidenced by a number of highly suspicious happenings concerning it. Remember the 2001 anthrax mailing attacks on government and media houses which killed five people right on US territory? The two principal suspects who puzzlingly were never charged, worked as microbiologists at Fort Detrick. Of the two, Bruce Ivins, who was the more culpable, died in 2008 of “suicide”. For “suicide”, read “elimination”, probably because he was in the process of spilling the beans and therefore cast the US government in a stigmatically diabolical light. Indeed, the following year, all research projects at Fort Detrick were suspended on grounds that the institute was “storing pathogens not listed   in its database”. The real truth was likely much more reprehensible.

In 2014, there was a mini local pandemic in the US which killed thousands of people and which the mainstream media were not gutsy enough to report. It arose following the weaponisation at Fort Detrick of the H7N9 virus, prompting the Obama administration to at once declare a moratorium on the research and withdraw funding.

The Trump administration, however, which has a pathological fixation on undoing practically all the good Obama did, reinstated the research under new rigorous guidelines in 2017. But since old habits die hard, the new guidelines were flouted at will, leading to another shutdown of the whole research gamut at the institute in August 2019.  This, nonetheless, was not wholesale as other areas of research, such as experiments to make bird flu more transmissible and which had begun in 2012, proceeded apace. As one commentator pointedly wondered aloud, was it really necessary to study how to make H5N1, which causes a type of bird flu with an eye-popping mortality rate, more transmissible?

Consistent with its character, the CDC was not prepared to furnish particulars upon issuing the cease and desist order, citing “national security reasons”. Could the real reason have been the manufacture of the novel coronavirus courtesy of a tip-off by the more scrupulous scientists?

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Masisi faces ultimate test of his presidency

9th July 2020

President Mokgweetsi Masisi may have breathed a huge sigh of relief when he emerged victorious in last year’s 2019 general elections, but the ultimate test of his presidency has only just begun.

From COVID-19 pandemic effects; disenchanted unemployed youth, deteriorating diplomatic relations with neighbouring South Africa as well as emerging instability within the ruling party — Masisi has a lot to resolve in the next few years.

Last week we started an unwanted cold war with Botswana’s main trade partner, South Africa, in what we consider an ill-conceived move. Never, in the history of this country has Botswana shown South Africa a cold shoulder – particularly since the fall of the apartheid regime.

It is without a doubt that our country’s survival depends on having good relations with South Africa. As the Chairperson of African National Congress (ANC), Gwede Mantashe once said, a good relationship between Botswana and South Africa is not optional but necessary.

No matter how aggrieved we feel, we should never engage in a diplomatic war — with due respect to other neighbours— with South Africa. We will never gain anything from starting a diplomatic war with South Africa.

In fact, doing so will imperil our economy, given that majority of businesses in the retail sector and services sector are South African companies.

Former cabinet minister and Phakalane Estates proprietor, David Magang once opined that Botswana’s poor manufacturing sector and importation of more than 80 percent of the foodstuffs from South Africa, effectively renders Botswana a neo-colony of the former.

Magang’s statement may look demeaning, but that is the truth, and all sorts of examples can be produced to support that. Perhaps it is time to realise that as a nation, we are not independent enough to behave the way we do. And for God’s sake, we are a landlocked country!

Recently, the effects of COVID-19 have exposed the fragility of our economy; the devastating pleas of the unemployed and the uncertainty of the future. Botswana’s two mainstay source of income; diamonds and tourism have been hit hard. Going forward, there is a need to chart a new pathway, and surely it is not an easy task.

The ground is becoming fertile for uprisings that are not desirable in any country. That the government has not responded positively to the rising unemployment challenge is the truth, and very soon as a nation we will wake up to this reality.

The magnitude of the problem is so serious that citizens are running out of patience. The government on the other hand has not done much to instil confidence by assuring the populace that there is a plan.

The general feeling is that, not much will change, hence some sections of the society, will try to use other means to ensure that their demands are taken into consideration. Botswana might have enjoyed peace and stability in the past, but there is guarantee that, under the current circumstances, the status quo will be maintained.

It is evident that, increasingly, indigenous citizens are becoming resentful of naturalised and other foreign nationals. Many believe naturalised citizens, especially those of Indian origin, are the major beneficiaries in the economy, while the rest of the society is side-lined.

The resentfulness is likely to intensify going forward. We needed not to be heading in this direction. We needed not to be racist in our approach but when the pleas of the large section of the society are ignored, this is bound to happen.

It is should be the intention of every government that seeks to strive on non-racialism to ensure that there is shared prosperity. Share prosperity is the only way to make people of different races in one society to embrace each other, however, we have failed in this respect.

Masisi’s task goes beyond just delivering jobs and building a nation that we all desire, but he also has an immediate task of achieving stability within his own party. The matter is so serious that, there are threats of defection by a number of MPs, and if he does not arrest this, his government may collapse before completing the five year mandate.

The problems extend to the party itself, where Masisi found himself at war with his Secretary General, Mpho Balopi. The war is not just the fight for Central Committee position, but forms part of the succession plan.

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