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Africans must form United States of Africa

The only solution to Africa problems is the formation of United States of Africa. You don’t need to be a genius to know that unity is strength. The more we are divided the more vulnerable we are to abuse and exploitation. The enemy of the African people had not changed. What has changed is the method and language used.

The real reason why the enemy of the African people will never change is that, Africa still has raw materials which the enemy wants, Africa still has cheap labour and Africa can still sell to the world at the price decided by the enemy. Cecil John Rhodes summarized this honestly when he said.

“In order to avoid civil war in England, you need to be imperialist. The moment Britain or the west will stop exploiting and oppressing Africa, there shall be revolution or what Mr. Rhodes call civil war in Britain or in the western world. In order to maintain the status quo, the Africans need to be controlled.

In the beginning, there was slavery, and then Colonialism now is neo-colonialism. The west will never accept that Africa is under neo-colonial control. The system they have is neo-liberalism or Free market economy. From the west point of view the problems Africa is facing are caused by corrupt African leaders. This school of thought is supported by some African intellectuals and Academics.

If we have closer look at all African leaders from Cape to Cairo, they are all creation of western Imperialism. In the south when Thabo Mbeki stated to be more African and spoke about African Renaissance, he was immediately replaced by someone who had never been to school! Someone who can be easily be controlled. Remember Mbeki is a highly intelligent person who did his economic studies in Britain and military training in Russia. Mbeki cannot be fooled, so a master plan was designed to remove him and it looked it was the A N C which was recalling him. 

Julius Malema who was used as a tool to remove Mbeki, lived to regret his deeds. This people are good at blaming the victim. We know who master minded his down fall and why, His crime was to connect poverty and HIV/AIDS and secondly to talk about Africa Renaissance or Africa Rebirth. In the western mind set, an Independent African is the most dangerous African on the planet. In the west world view, a good African is the one who deny his Africaness and embrace western way of life.

So the western countries will always make sure that every African leader is created in their own image not in the image of God as is supposed to be. Another case in point is Mugabe, who was created by western countries. In 1980 Britain made possible for Mugabe to win elections against Nkomo. Nkomo was regarded as pro-Moscow, and from the start Mugabe was the darling of the west. When Mugabe massacred twenty thousand Zimbabweans, western countries said nothing.

They did not mind about the death of the Africans as long Mugabe was allowing white Zimbabweans to export organic fruits and vegetables to her majesty the Queen for breakfast. Remember Mugabe was given one of the highest medals for good leadership by the Queen of England! The irony is that when you are praised by the western countries you should know that your people are suffering.

Zimbabwean workers were under paid and they formed MMD.  It is at this point that Mugabe realized that he will soon lose power and the west will not save him, he decided to take land from the white Zimbabweans and overnight he became an irresponsible leader, the rest is history as they say.

We can give so many examples to illustrate how the west always wants their puppet to rule us. Up north in Egypt, a democratically elected president was toppled in a coup and the American secretary of state John Kerry went on CNN and told the world that the army in Egypt saved democracy by staging a coup. President Morsi’s crime was just that he was a Muslim president. Muslims are known to be independent minded and are not easily controlled.

Back home we know how Khama was forced to leave the army in order to save the BDP from losing power. We are told DeBeers master minded the plan to hire a consultant who recommended that BDP must look for someone who will eject life into BDP otherwise the opposition BNF will win elections. Who is De Beers to decide for Batswana which party should rule them? This recommendation was supported by many BDP leaders. Remember De Beers was doing all these in the best interest of western powers.

They did all this because they couldn’t say no to anything from the west. Apart from this political control, there is also cultural control as Richard W. Gillett put it, the new era of globalism is its insinuation of western cultural values into worldwide commercial ventures; a global convergence whereby consumers worldwide are pushed to adopt North America and European mass consumption habits of fast food, fashion and footwear; toys; the latest entertainment trends in music, movies, and electronic games and other commodities.

Implicit in this new cultural homogenization is a crude but powerful western value system: Happiness lies in consumption of every kind. All this is continually reinforced by watching television, where the power and seduction of global advertising gains sophistication and penetration year by year.

All this is done in the name of globalization. However sometimes we fail to difference between globalism and globalization from globalism, which according to Ulrich Beck is the ideology of rule by world market or the ideology of neo-liberalism. There is nothing wrong with globalization but what is happening in Africa is globalism.

The nature of present-day globalization is capitalism. What is particularly distinctive about capitalism is its focus on profit seeking and accumulation of capital and private ownership of the means of production. Classical economists like Adam Smith and David Ricardo believed that free trade, not controlled by state or tradition, leads to the most efficient use of land, labour and capital. Present day neo-classical economists ground their support of capitalist globalization in this view.

However Beverly Harrison argues this is not true because what is distinctive about capitalism is neither unrestricted markets nor the existence of private property per se. Rather its distinctive feature is the private control of the means of production, namely resource, machines, and other people’s labour. What it means is that the capitalists will never invest their money in the interest of the Africans but there are here to make profit. So the under capitalism called foreign investments, unemployment in Africa will always be high and wages will be very low.

For capitalism to survive it needs an ideology, and this is neo-liberalism.  According to economist Susan George neo liberalism came to ascendancy in the late 1970s through the work of a highly efficient ideological Cadre based on the work university of Chicago philosopher – economist Friedrich Von Hayek and students of his like Milton Friedman.

The central value of neo liberalism is competition, which is best expressed through “Free Market”. According to Pamela K. Brubaker, The ideas and policies in standard neo liberal tool kit have to do with the market, the state, Corporations, unions and citizens.

The market is to make major social and political decisions. The state should voluntarily reduce its role in the economy. Corporations are to have complete freedom. Unions are too restrained and citizens given much less rather than more social protection. One of the greatest achievements of neo liberalism’s proponents is that they have made neo liberalism seem as if it was the natural and normal conditions of humankind.

These seem as if there are no other options, which is not true. Some scholars and activists charge that this form of globalization is actually a re-colonization of the south by the north. Susan George contends that we should stop talking about privatization and use words that tells the truth: we are talking about alienation and surrender of the product of decade of work by thousands of people to a tiny ministry of large investors.

My argument is that Africa would not survive this western destruction unless and until Africa unite. We cannot afford to be turned into market societies in Africa. We have our African values, norms and tradition, which make us a people. We must never accept American hegemony on us. As Tom Mboya said, the colonial power may have retreated, but the inheritance of colonialism has still to be fought, in the shape of poverty, ignorance and disease.

The world is witnessing the accelerating domination of an all engulfing global capitalism whose sole ethic is the market. What has been called the commoditisation of all life.  In Kiswahili they say,” Mgeni Siku Mbili; Sikutatu mpe jembe”, meaning Treat your guest as a guest for two days; on the third day give him a hoe!

In Africa the belief that we are all sons and daughters of the soil, has always exercised tremendous influence on our social, economic and political relationships. From this belief springs the logic and practice of equality, and acceptance of communal ownership of the vital means of life, the land. The hoe! is to us the symbol of work. Every able bodied man and woman girl and boy, has always worked.

There has been equality of opportunity, for everyone had land or rather, the use of land and hoe at the start of life. The acquisitive instinct which is largely responsible for the vicious excesses and exploitation under the capitalist system was tempered by a sense of togetherness and a rejection of graft and meanness. There were a loyalty to the society, and society gave its members much in return, a sense of security and universal hospitability. These are the values for which in my view Africa should strive for and achieve. And Africa can only do that and achieve that when Africa Unite.

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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 Botswana’s 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, Mogae’s 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 the Bulela Ditswe dispensation, 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 Ditswe was 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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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 consumer’s piracy activities, especially in a market the size of Botswana’s, 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 don’t imagine that their one download will do anything to the production house’s 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 musician’s 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 Botswana’s 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 Africa’s 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 Botswana’s economy are being diverted.

“Why can’t our local creative industry grow?” “Why don’t 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 Botswana’s 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 country’s 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, it’s 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 economy’s growth.

Whether you are pirating a Hollywood Blockbuster, illegally streaming a popular Motswana artist’s 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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Our Strength is our Unity

18th March 2022

Putin Chose War.  We Remain United with Ukraine.

U.S. Ambassador Craig L. Cloud

This is a dangerous moment for Europe and for freedom-loving people around the world.  By launching his brutal assault on the people of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin has also committed an assault on the principles that uphold global peace and democracy.  But the people of Ukraine are resilient.

They’ve had a democracy for decades, and their bravery is inspiring the world.  The United States, together with our Allies and partners across the globe, will continue to support the Ukrainian people as they defend their country.  By choosing to pay for a war instead of investing in the needs of Russians, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine will be a strategic failure for the Kremlin and ravage the future of the Russian people.

When the history of this era is written, it will show that Putin’s choice to launch an unprovoked, unjust, and premeditated attack left the West more unified and Russia exponentially weaker.

United in Our Response

This will not end well for Vladimir Putin.  Together, the United States and our Allies and partners are taking action to hold Russia accountable.  As a result of unprecedented global sanctions coordination, the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Japan, and Canada have removed selected Russian banks from the SWIFT messaging system and imposed restrictive measures on the Russian Central Bank.

President Biden announced sweeping financial sanctions and stringent export controls that will damage Russia’s economy, financial system, and access to cutting-edge technology.  After Putin began his invasion, the ruble hit its weakest point in history, and the Russian stock market plunged.

Along with the United Kingdom and European Union, the United States imposed sanctions on the architects of this war, including Putin himself.

By moving in close coordination with a powerful coalition of Allies and partners representing more than half of the global economy, we have magnified the impact of our actions to impose maximum costs on Putin and his regime.  In response to Putin’s war of choice, we will limit Russia’s ability to do business in U.S. dollars.

We will stunt Russia’s ability to finance and grow its military.  We will impair Russia’s ability to compete in the global economy.  And we are prepared to do more.

In addition to economic penalties, this week President Biden authorized an additional $1 billion over the $350 million of security assistance he recently approved, and a $650 million in 2021, to immediately help Ukraine defend itself, bringing America’s total security assistance to Ukraine over the past year to $2 billion.

We also stand ready to defend our NATO Allies.  President Biden has coordinated with Allied governments to position thousands of additional forces in Germany and Poland as part of our commitment to NATO’s collective defense.

He authorized the deployment of ground and air forces already stationed in Europe to NATO’s eastern and southeastern flanks:  Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania.  Our Allies have also added their own forces and capabilities to ensure our collective defense.  There should be no doubt about the readiness of the greatest military Alliance in the history of the world:  NATO is more united than ever.

The United States has also coordinated with major oil-producing and consuming countries to underscore our common interest in securing global energy supplies.  We are working with energy companies to surge their capacity to supply energy to the market, particularly as prices increase.

Putin’s Unprovoked and Premeditated War

This was an attack that Vladimir Putin has planned for a long time.  He methodically moved more than 150,000 troops and military equipment to Ukraine’s border.  He moved blood supplies into position and built field hospitals, demonstrating his intentions all along.

He rejected every good-faith effort by the United States and our Allies and partners to address his fabricated security concerns and to avoid needless conflict and human suffering by engaging in diplomacy and dialogue.

Putin executed his playbook exactly as we had warned he would do.  We saw Russia’s proxies increase their shelling in the Donbas.  We saw the Russian government launch cyber-operations against Ukraine.  We saw staged political theater in Moscow and heard outlandish and baseless claims made about Ukraine in an attempt to justify Russia’s aggression.

Russia continues to justify its military aggression by falsely claiming the need to stop “genocide” in Ukraine – despite there being no evidence that genocide was occurring there.  We saw Russia use these tactics before when they invaded Ukraine in 2014 and Georgia in 2008.

And then, at almost the very same moment the United Nations Security Council was meeting to stand up for Ukraine’s sovereignty and forestall disaster, Putin launched his invasion in violation of international law.  Missiles began to rain down, striking historic cities across Ukraine.  Then came air raids, columns of tanks, and battalions of troops, all riding a renewed wave of disinformation and outright lies.

We have been transparent with the world.  We declassified our intelligence about Russia’s plans so there could be no confusion and no cover up.  Putin is the aggressor.  Putin chose this war.  And now his people will bear the consequences of his decision to invest in war rather than in them.

Transatlantic Unity and Resolve Stronger Than Ever

Putin’s goal of dividing the West has failed.  In the face of one of the most significant challenges to European security and democratic ideals since World War II, the United States and our Allies and partners have joined together in solidarity.  We have united, coordinating intensively to engage as one with Russia and Ukraine, provided assistance to Ukraine, developed a broad response, and reaffirmed our commitment to NATO.

Putin has failed to divide us.  Putin has failed to undermine our shared belief in the fundamental right of sovereign nations to choose their destiny and their allies.  And Putin will fail to erase the proud nation of Ukraine.

The next few days, weeks, and months will be incredibly difficult for the people of Ukraine.  Putin has unleashed great suffering on them.  But the Ukrainian people have known 30 years of independence, and they have repeatedly shown they will not tolerate anyone who tries to take their country backwards.

The world is watching this conflict closely, and if Russian forces commit atrocities, we will explore all international mechanisms that could be used to bring those responsible – whether members of the military or their civilian leadership – to account.

Putin’s aggression against Ukraine will cost Russia profoundly, both economically and strategically.  The Russian people deserve better from their government than the immense cost to their future that this invasion has precipitated.

Liberty, democracy, and human dignity are forces far more powerful than fear and oppression.  In the contest between democracy and autocracy, between sovereignty and subjugation, make no mistake:  Freedom will prevail.

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