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Building Botswana through right Education


Well, the year just ended was a momentous year that will be remembered for more wrongs than good that happened in the country. The invigorating election campaigns by our three political parties with the results that surprised some and left many seriously wounded across the political divide was one of the highlights that merit some comment.


Some disturbing features of the election included some leaders instead of engaging their opponents on issues, chose to be vicious and personal in a manner that left many wondering as to where we were headed to as a nation.  Some even talked of war and instability that will happen if opponents were to win the elections. 

Immediately after the election results, instead of party leaders and activists burying the hatchet and congratulating the winners, another round of war of words ensued to try to discredit some ‘winners’. The social media, the print media and the freedom squares became the battlegrounds for mud slinging and insults instead of them becoming plough fields for planting developmental ideas to build the country going forward.


As we start the year we must say no to insults and unnecessary self praise that some have found to be useful tools for silencing those who do not agree with them. Remember self praise has no commendation. Some would say it is only acceptable when used by entertainers, comedians or clowns. Generally those who use derogatory language do so to hide their ignorance and or to hide from some self inflicted pain mostly emanating from malicious or untruthful statements made in public by perpetrators and their cronies.

No one has the monopoly of knowledge. We must be willing to live and learn from one another regardless of our educational background or political inclinations.  I urge all our politicians to engage positively to address pertinent national issues that continue to bedevil our republic, thus limiting our ability to attain the level of development we deserve. 

We have lots of issues to address, ranging from education, employment creation,  agriculture and food security, land availability, industrialisation, health care, tourism, sports, entertainment, the performing arts, including our electoral system that has managed to allow the minority to be the majority in the last general elections. This system yearns for a review by our parliament, don’t you think?  With this long list we should all be searching frantically for solutions rather than engaged in unproductive negative talk in public forums.


My intention this year is to continue to share, probe and ‘nudge’ with a view to stimulate debate and perhaps contribute my ‘pennies worth’ in shaping the way forward towards 2019 and beyond. We must accept that this country needs significant change to become a modern country that can compete with the very best in the world. There is no reason why we cannot strive to be the best.

There is no reason why we cannot be globally competitive. We must start by accepting that we need to change our attitudes; that we need to start cleansing our governance practices; that we must continue to expose and isolate corruption in all its manifestations and that we must promote best practices in all spheres of our personal and public lives.

Those who continue to benefit from corrupt practices and continue to steal from public coffers by whatever means must know that the people are watching; one day they will be asked to account and may face relentless raging wrath of undefined magnitude from the people.


Let me go into my topic of today. I want to begin the year by talking about education, appropriate education I must emphasise. I believe appropriate education is the cornerstone that will anchor any significant development in any country.  It is through appropriate education that we can become the best that we can be. I want to assert that everything we do as a nation is as good as the education we have given to our people. As the global village mantra becomes even more virulent, countries with substandard educational practices and poor governance practices will be found wanting. They will be rejected or left behind; even well meaning citizens will leave their country for better pastures elsewhere.


What is education? There is no single or simple definition. What is true though is that education is not defined only in terms of the number of years of schooling and the fluency in English as many people in this country seem to believe but more importantly it is defined in terms of the practical and usable skills and practices that are acquired during the schooling years.

This is what I would term appropriate education. Appropriate education must equip the recipient to be industry ready on completion of the chosen line of education, whether in teaching, whether in manufacturing, whether in mining, whether in agriculture, whether in tourism, whether in journalism, whether in whatever field! Imagine a medical Doctor who completes his medical studies without any practical skills! I do not even want to imagine what kind of doctor this will be.

I am sure none of us would like to be seen by such a doctor for medical care.  I believe that’s why doctors spend seven years or so training before they can practice. It is a legal and professional requirement.  In the military, would you expect our military men to get some classroom theoretical education and then send them to the battle field to defend our country? Would you? Why do we then expect people in other professions to be given classroom schooling and then expect them to practice as engineers, lecturers, artisans, accountants, human resources practitioners, managers etc?  Why?


Our education since independence has been described by industry, general public and the opposition parties as both inadequate and inappropriate to meet our developmental and business needs. Although our government has also acknowledged this anomaly, addressing this inadequacy seems to be a serious challenge. Some say, it is due to lack of political will.  This maybe somewhat true, but perhaps it is mainly due to lack of deep appreciation of the root causes of this inadequacy.

With all the best political will in the world, can meaningfully transformation of our education system be effected without a deep appreciation of what is wrong and what is causing that which is wrong?  Therefore, there is perhaps a need to unpack the pertinent educational issues so that we can begin to understand what makes our education what it is.  


Someone long ago defined education ‘as a process by which a person begins to learn how to learn’. This sounds like the truth to me. Without understanding the need to learn, one can never learn. Once this understanding is instilled in the individual then learning will be easier and continuous. Education is a never ending process. It does not end when one receives a certificate; the certificate is just the beginning that opens the door for real life learning to start.


Education is officially defined as schooling, teaching, learning, tutoring, instruction, edification and culture. Real education must have all these seven elements to produce a well rounded person who is ready to conquer the world on acquiring this education.

Culture is very important; it is the way of life, the way we do things here, the way we behave here, the way we talk to each other here, the way we work here; basically our work ethics. Without the right culture the work relations and the business suffer.

This is a fact that we do not seem to appreciate as a nation.  Instruction; being instructed and taking instruction are things we often take for granted but this has to be taught during the schooling years, can you succeed in any industry if you are unable to take instructions? Tutoring implies an element of training to horn on specific skills needed; all jobs require specific skills to be learned. 

Learning implies owning the knowledge you have acquired. Once you are well taught the knowledge becomes yours forever. Edification is all these things bundled together.  In our current education system, we emphasise the number of years of schooling and the number of certificates acquired. The result is what we see. Quality and relevance are more important features of any education.


If the education we provide defines the kind of country we desire, then we must define the education that will move us towards being the best destination as pronounced by our national motto or tagline ‘Botswana my pride, your destination’. If we want to build a world class educational system we need to first define what a world class educational system is and what it will do for us.

What are the ingredients of a world class education system? The educator from preschool to tertiary must be well educated, well resourced, well supported, well paid and well motivated.  Without these elements forget about world class education. It is the educators that we must entrust to provide this world class education.


An educator at university, at technical/professional school, at a secondary school, at a primary school, at a preschool must be well educated from both a theoretical and practical point of view. They must possess a certificate that shows that they have acquired enough appropriate theoretical knowledge and a certificate of competency that shows that the individual has acquired enough practical skills to be able to impart knowledge to the recipients.

Despite, the fact that we are talking of educators, we must acknowledge that the education of these people is different and must be appropriate to the area of education they provide. For example, a pre school teacher education cannot be the same as that of a university lecturer.

Both the theory and practice are very different. What is mostly missing in our education is the practical side as alluded to earlier. Practical learning most invariably come from existing institutions, not only nationally but internationally if we want to be global competitive.

University lectures train their student for the world of work and they must have practical knowledge about the world of work. They must have worked in industry to have the practical skills to impart to their students. The students must also be exposed to industry as part of their studies. This is crucial for an effective and complete education.


However, a well educated educator/teacher is not enough; the teacher must be well resourced with a decent classroom, relevant teaching aids and books; a library and computer room for research and continuous learning. Teaching under a tree will not produce the results we desire. The students must also be willing and hungry to learn.

They must be consequences that are clearly defined for both the teacher and the student if learning is not happening as required. The student must also be given appropriate roles to play in helping to run the school. The parent must play a significant role in the school to support the teacher, to support the school and to support the child. The school becomes a second home for the child and the teacher becomes the second parent to the child.  


In addition, they must be a supportive environment for the teacher and the school. The school management must be visible and approachable to the teacher. They must ensure that all her/his teaching and social requirements are recognised and supported. The school buildings and facilities must be regularly maintained. 

The maintenance resources need to be provided and managed by the school to ensure that a clean and conducive learning environment is availed always. Management of schools must be decentralised with the central governing body providing the necessary oversight to ensure compliance with general standards.

The schools must be given autonomy to be innovative and to be creative. More importantly they should be encouraged and a given budgetary provision to compete with other schools nationally, regionally and internationally.


The above will not be enough. A teacher must be well paid with a salary package that is commensurate with our expectation of a globally competitive teacher. There is no reason why our teachers should be paid less than their counterparts in industry or across the border. We must benchmark and find the right package that will keep our teachers motivated to provide the best education for our children.  We need to have ‘win – win’ relationships for success in this area.


Having described the educator we need, we need to define the human resources we need to produce? We want teachers, we want technicians, we want artisans, we want accountants, we want business specialists, we want builders, we want road engineers, we want computer specialists, we want water and electricity engineers, we want all the human resources that support our economy; we want people to support our hospitality industries; we want a lot of different specialisations.

Those entrusted with the management of our education must systematically and holistically look at all our human resources needs including sporting, music, and the performing arts and design a well researched and matching educational system.


These are not new concepts. The first world and the developing world have already developed and defined appropriate educational systems. We do not need to reinvent the wheel. We need to be smart like the Chinese, the Singaporeans, the Brazilians, and the Japanese etc. We need to adopt and adapt to survive. We should not waste our resources doings things that have already been done by others.


In closing let me give an example of a failure that I believe was a result of our poor educational system. BEDIA was formed with good intentions of bringing direct foreign investment in our country. If we are honest with ourselves we will acknowledge that we have invested millions of our hard earned money into bottomless pits in our effort to attract this allusive direct foreign investment through BEDIA now BITC. There are a number of reasons why we have not attracted the investment we wished for.

The reasons include among others poor infrastructure, poor governance processes, poor services, inadequately trained human resources. Chief amongst these will be inadequately trained human resources as this will not only impact directly on the business itself, but it will also impact on the other inadequacies that we continue to battle with.


Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Company was established in Botswana in 1992 and folded around 2001. Why? I really do not know but I have a good idea. The official reason you normally get for such failures is never the real reason.  Hyundai is a car manufacturing company from South Korea with manufacturing bases outside of South Korea including Brazil, China, the Czech Republic, India, Russia, Turkey and the U.S. amongst others. 

There is a US$1.7 billion assembly and manufacturing plant in Alabama in the USA which employs over 3000 people who are responsible for bringing to life all the Hyundai modern car designs to the American market and beyond. 

This is a significant investment in one factory.  I do not know how much Hyundai had invested in Botswana. However, the reason they left would have been an unattractive business environment punctuated by poor infrastructure, poor services, unfriendly regulations, unkind processes and so forth. We lost a golden opportunity to be an exporter of the Hyundai dream cars. Whether we like it or not, the chief reason for failure would have been poorly trained human resources. This would never have been given as an official reason; you will only hear about it in the corridors and within closed doors.


A car manufacturing factory is a highly specialised industry that requires diverse skills.  You will need automobile engineers in the electrical and electronic field, mechanical engineers specialising on car manufacturing, specialised welders and painters, computer specialists, designers, planners, accountants, marketing specialists, human resources practitioners etc.

These specialists must understand the uniqueness and intricacies of the motor industry. Have we trained these people and are they available for us to start or support an automobile industry? No. Are you surprised then that the Hyundai car assembly factory failed?


If a foreign company has to rely on foreign experts in large numbers to start a business, they will be significant cost implications in bringing these experts, social implications, accommodation constraints, inadequate schooling for foreign children, industrial relations issues etc. These companies might be attracted by what they read and hear from the likes of BEDIA, but when they start operating here the reality on the ground is different and paining and many of them if not all will leave. Examples abound.


Therefore my take is that if you want a lasting direct foreign investment in car manufacturing industry you must first invest in appropriate education and training. Establish a car manufacturing academy to train your people in all areas of car design, manufacturing and maintenance. Some of these people will establish their own car manufacturing companies.

Some will find work in other companies, even abroad. When large companies want to invest in Botswana they will find ready made people in the country for their business. The foreign investor will only need to bring their core staff thus significantly increasing chances of success.


This example will apply to any areas you need foreign direct investment in the country.  Let us therefore work towards adopting an appropriate educational system that will produce well rounded individuals who will in turn promote best practices, unlock many doors for our prosperity and attract much needed international investment and expertise.


I hope these thoughts and insights are helpful.  Let us look forward to a more successful and more positive engagement as the year progresses.

Email: bernard.busani@ gmail.com Cell: 71751440

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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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