President Lt Gen Ian Khama yesterday (Friday) met Dikgosi and Church leaders to discuss the country’s state of affairs. The President hopes of coming up with a long-lasting solution to the problems that afflict the country.
Khama had called the meeting to express his displeasure and concerns at the path the country, particulalry the youth, seems to be taking. One of the central issues that formed the core of the discussions was the soul of the nation and its future.
This was the second meeting meeting of its kind since Khama took office. He held a similar meeting with the partners in 2008. Weekendpost can reveal that the churches and Dikgosi aired their grievances, particulaly on the ‘refusal or lack of implementation of the Kgosi Gaborone commission report on moral issues.
The president expressed shock at the conduct of some of the citizens when reacting to various issues and events. Khama called on the faith-based-organisations and Dikgosi to come to the party and assist in nation building. He acknowledged the state’s lack of action on some issues and promised to take into consideration some of the concerns raised by the two groups.
In an interview, the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Edwin Batshu could not share the details of the meeting’s resolutions as they are not for public consumption.
The Minister however briefly shared the proceedings of the meeting, “the president had called faith-based organisations and Dikgosi to discuss the state of the nation and its affairs. As you are aware these leaders are the custodians and protectors of culture and values of our society. He wanted them to help review how far we have come, the current challenges and other related issues,” he said.
Batshu said Khama had urged Dikgosi and the church leaders to confront the challenges and not to assume that the fate of the society rests with the state alone. He admitted that the challenges are cumbersome. “Moreover one of the central issues was the Kgosi Gaborone Commission report on moral issues. We discussed how far we have gone in implementing its recommendations and heeding its concerns and resolved that we do a review and see what we have neglected and so forth,” he said.
Batshu added that central to the discussion was also the issue of national building. It is understood that the churches and Dikgosi called on the government to be tolerant and encourage citizens to be tolerant to other stakeholders in their respective positions.
WeekendPost has established that the conduct of Batswana in social media is also of great concern to the President. Khama, it is understood, is of the view that Batswana’s behaviour therein leaves a lot to be desired.
The churches and Dikgosi are of the view that the joint advisory committee of Ntlo ya Dikgosi and Botswana Council of Churches (BCC) report on social values should be the guiding document. They hold that it has been neglected. In 2008, Khama set up a Presidential Task Force on the promotion of good social values chaired by Kgosi Puso Gaborone, a young Chief of Batlokwa.
This was set up following concerns and realization that our value systems, both traditional and christian, were being compromised and eroded by other value systems, as such resulting in Batswana generally replacing good traits of respect with self-destructive and anti- social behaviors, poor discipline and low self-esteem.
It is understood that Khama wants to mend relations with Dikgosi and Church leaders going foward.The President has held several meetings with church leaders recently and has promised to look into some of their long-standing grievances.
High Commissioner of the Federal Government of Nigeria to Botswana, His Excellency Umar Zainab Salisu, has challenged President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi to move swiftly and lobby Africa’s richest man, Nigerian Billionaire, Aliko Dangote to invest in Botswana.
Speaking during a meeting with President Masisi at Office of President on Thursday Zainab Salisu said Dangote has expressed massive interest in setting up billion dollar industries in Botswana. “We have a lot of investors who wish to come and invest in Botswana , when we look at Botswana we don’t see Botswana itself , but we are lured by its geographic location , being in the centre of Southern Africa presents a good opportunity for strategic penetration into other markets of the region,” said Salisu.
As murder cases and violent incidents involving couples and or lovers continue to be recorded daily, Specially Elected Member of Parliament, Dr Unity Dow has called for more funding of non-governmental organizations and accelerated action from government to come up with laws that could inhibit would-be perpetrators of crimes related to Gender Based Violence (GBV).
Just after Dr Dow had deposited her views on this subject with this reporter, a young man in Molepolole opened fire on a married woman he was having an affair with; and ended her life instantly. While it is this heinous cases that get projected to the public space, the former minister argues that the secrecy culture is keeping other real GBV cases under wraps in many spaces in the country.
The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said there is GBV all the time in all kinds of places. “We have become accustomed to stories of rapes, marital rapes, defilement of children, beatings and psychological violence and even killings,” she said.
Gender-based violence is a phenomenon deeply rooted in gender inequality, Dow is worried that there is absolutely no social punishment for perpetrators; they will continue to have the same friends, jobs, wives, homes, as before. Yet another factor, she said, is that there is little or no “justice” for victims of GBV.
The renowned activist said justice for GBV victims is not just the jailing of the perpetrator. “Justice for victims means an agile, victim-friendly, accessible (time, money and procedures) and restorative justice system.”
Asked what could be leading to a spike in Gender Based Violence cases or incidents, she observed that there is no one factor to which this spike can be attributed. “The most obvious factor is stress as a result of economic distress and or poverty. Poverty makes one vulnerable and open to compromises that they would otherwise not make. For perpetrators with anger management issues, economic stress leads to lashing out to those closest to them. Another factor is the disintegration of families and family values,” she opined.
According to Dow, no government anywhere in the world is doing enough, period. “We know the places and spaces where women and girls are unsafe. We know the challenges they face in their attempts to exit those spaces and places.” The former Judge of the High Court said GBV undermines the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims, yet it remains shrouded in the culture of silence.
Asked what could be done to arrest GBV cases, Dow said it is critical to involve and fund civil society organizations. She observed that much of the progress done in the area of women’s human rights was during the time when Botswana had strong and funded civil society organizations.
“The funding dried up when Botswana was declared a middle-income country but unfortunately external funding was not replaced by local funding,” she acknowledged.
Further Dow said relevant government institutions must be funded and strengthened.
“Thirdly, create a society in which it is not okay to humiliate, rape, beat or kill women. You create this by responding to GBV the same way we have responded to livestock theft. We need to create agile mechanisms that hear cases quickly and allow for the removal of suspected perpetrators from their homes, work places, boards, committees, etc.”
The former Minister said the much anticipated Inter-Ministerial Task Force on Gender Based Violence will have its work cut out for it. According to Dow, GBV is not just a justice issue, it’s not just a gender issue, but rather an issue that cuts across health, education, labour, economic, housing and politics. “As long as any one believes it is someone else’s problem, we will all have the problem,” she said.
In her view, Dow said every work, educational and other place must have a GBV Policy and/or Code of Conduct. “It is important that we acknowledge that the majority of men are law-abiding. The problem is their silence, in the face of injustice,” she observed.
The State has chosen to ignore intents by kingpins in the P100 billion scandal to sue for a combined P85 million as tables turn against the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) in the matter.
Key players in the matter; the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and Bank of Botswana (BoB) have eroded the prospects of success following the duo’s institutions’ appearance before parliamentary committees recently.