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Well done Mma Nasha but

Well done to Dr. Margaret Nasha on her single but eventful term as Speaker of the National Assembly. Mma Nasha lost elections to Dumelang Saleshando in the 2004 general elections and was made specially elected Member of Parliament by former President Festus Mogae and also   given a ministerial portfolio. After the 2009 general elections, she was made Speaker of the National Assembly.

These are favours, opportunities and privileges that she has enjoyed and she must also have the basic understanding that in a democracy we need to pave way for others. I don’t have to mention that she is old and possibly that her brain is tired and needs some rest. She must rejoice that another woman, Gladys Kokorwe took over. She must stop name calling and make herself meaningful and useful elsewhere.

If indeed her quest is to serve, she could consider many options available to serve the nation such as Village Development Committees (VDC) and crime prevention clusters to mention a few. But because she is after power, money and settling scores; such an initially well-orchestrated deliberate act has backfired badly.

In her hard misleading and misguiding of unsuspecting average opposition leaders, she has managed to make them forget that during her term as a minister of Local Government, she was to appoint a paltry number of nominated councillors from the opposition nationally and gave over anticipated nominated councilor seats to the ruling BDP. Surely this was being very hard and unfair on the opposition. The opposition seems to deliberately forget the atrocities inflicted by this very same woman.

A few years later she appears to be the darling of the opposition. The opposition has allowed her to use it to her advantage and as she mentioned during her press conference on Thursday 13th November 2014 that “I was overwhelmed with joy when the UDC defended the case and fought for democracy.

My father had deserted me so I ran to the UDC for help. I am still celebrating because these people wanted to reverse our democratic gains and take us back to the Stone Age.” It was interesting to note that at her press conference she was accompanied by amongst others Daniel Kwelagobe and Moeng Pheto, both men who dismally lost in the past elections.

The losers are regrouping against President Khama yet they have lost to democracy. Knowing DK, he will utilise Dr. Nasha’s anger to his advantage. Dr. Nasha could do with appreciating defeat so that she does not find herself another victim of DK.

Dr. Nasha’s non-achieved goals of an independent parliament came as a result of lack of support from the BDP, a ruling party which is in the majority and is not in support of an independent parliament. The subject line was never the standing orders, the subject line has and remains that the BDP leader in president Khama did not trust Dr. Nasha and was not comfortable in a legislature that involved Dr. Nasha as amongst the key people.

The BDP returned President Khama unopposed as president of the BDP in its last congress despite Dr. Nasha’s book which clearly was the launch of a fight against President Khama. Such a fight has been short lived by the BDP and that is the BDP as we all know it.

The BDP subsequently, in continuing their show of trust in President Khama’s leadership abilities, style and policy direction, nominated him and him alone for state presidency. The BDP did all these well aware of the constitutional powers that the presidency has and that the presidency will use.

The same legal presidential powers that Dr. Nasha shed light on in her President Khama onslaught book. BDP faithful therefore were in other words authorising President Khama to act on behalf of the BDP. This is reason enough to ask Dr. Nasha to view her peddling of anger and hurling of her loud cry for office in public as an embarrassment not only to her but to her family and her little left dignity.

This was a mere act of validating fears and concerns that Dr. Nasha is angry for not necessarily being within President Khama’s inner circle. That she now wants to bring forth baseless allegations and empty accusations about the BDP leadership simply because she was not successful in lobbying BDP legislators to vote for her as speaker says a lot about the character of this woman.

Though there is no doubt that that she is one of the main local gender representation credentials, her current behaviour however erodes all that and reverse the gains of validation that women can be better leaders if given a chance. One hopes that Gladys Kokorwe shall rectify that.

Whatever her intentions are, Dr. Nasha must know in full that her name calling tendency will have momentous implications for the rest of her life. Only a few days off from the seat of speaker of the house, she has turned herself into a fortune teller and some future prediction mistress. It is utterly wrong to blame president Khama for going against Dr. Nasha.

Who will support a person who ridicules you in public when you share membership of a ruling party together? Who amongst us will support anyone who labels his or her leadership as dictatorial and intolerant? Logic has it that when one feels and experiences dictatorial and intolerant tendencies in a structure, they should free themselves from it. Dr. Nasha on the other hand wants to cling to such a dictatorial and intolerant regime.

Dr. Nasha mentions that; “All over the world the executive is never at ease with the legislature. The important thing is whether a leader has the maturity to deal with such differences”, and she conveniently forgets that in a democratic dispensation the view of the majority always prevails.

This is an accepted way of dispensing democracy the world over and hence referred to as a democratic process. I don’t have to remind Dr. Nasha that voting is one of the ways whereby when there is choice to be made in a particular matter and there is no particular consensus, then such a matter is put to a vote. This is the same process that made her speaker of the house in 2009 and hence the same process that removed her from the same position in 2014.

What was being debated was how to vote, yes, to vote in a manner that the State President, who is also the BDP president will be sure that she does not return as Speaker. There is nothing wrong with President Khama not supporting Dr. Nasha and there is nothing wrong with Dr. Nasha not supporting president Khama’s views.

Those are termed differing opinions that must be swallowed in a healthy and mature way and unfortunately such a pill is too bitter and sour and hence swallowed irrationally by this woman. Let me advice Dr. Nasha that her votes which were also opposition votes were in the minority and that minority doesn’t necessarily mean one is right or wrong but it only means that you are few for the same idea. Gladys Kokorwe’s votes which were at the end of the tunnel President Khama and BDP  votes were in the majority and same applies that majority doesn’t necessarily mean one is right or wrong but it only means that you are many for the same ideas.

And therefore those that are in the majority experience their idea or view being accepted as in the case of both Gladys Kokorwe, President Khama and the BDP against you and the opposition. But when those in minority as in the case of Dr. Nasha seem not to accept outcome of this democratic process, it means they don’t appreciate democracy. We all need to be very careful of such people or individuals because they are often prone to a chameleons’ philosophy of changing the rules of engagement during the game to favour them all the time. Such is being demagogic. Such is the case of appreciating the game when it’s in your favour; being wanted and disdaining the game when it’s not in your favour; not wanted.

Let me close my deliberation by congratulating Madam Gladys Kokorwe on her election as the speaker of the national assembly and let me also extend the same congratulations to Honourable Kagiso Molatlhegi as the deputy speaker of the house. I like many other BDP members await for Mma Nasha to opt for an onslaught against us so that we may defend our party and what it stands for.

M. Lesedi Dintwe is based at Gabane / Mmankgodi BDP Branch

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

18th August 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Internal party-democracy under pressure

21st June 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Big Deal About Piracy

21st June 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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