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Grace Mugabe: the formation of a dynasty of political prostitution and misery

I believe many people in Botswana long ago got sick and tired of the goings-on in Zimbabwe. To Batswana (I really do not like that word), or should I say, to the citizens of Botswana (Oh?), Zimbabwe was a nation they admired and actually looked up to. But things changed and the people of Botswana find it difficult to separate the evil of Robert Mugabe from the nation called Zimbabwe. People of Botswana, educated or otherwise, have the unforgivable tendency of believing that Mugabe made Zimbabwe and is there for the common person.

I am tired of explaining the obvious contradiction but all they need to do is to be in Zimbabwe and decide for themselves, not as tourists but as residents. They must be aware that, if they become Zimbabwean, they cannot keep any of their money outside Zimbabwe. They must also be aware that dual citizenship is not guaranteed. So many basic things that the people of Botswana take for granted are not available to their Zimbabwean counterparts. Above all, they must forget about writing letters to the editor and hope that their views criticizing the government or the dear leader would be published or go without punishment. What will be published is their disappearance or the loss of their property. I believe that the people of Botswana are getting exceedingly worried now because while they praised Mugabe and chided Ian Khama for supporting opposing leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, the people of Botswana are now getting more and more apprehensive about Mugabe at the same time they are worrying about their own president.

Welcome to the club, Botswana! When I was at my home village of Dukwi Refugee Camp, I was surrounded by DR Congolese who were victimized for having been the late Papa Kabila (not Baby Kabila) loyalists. They thought the world of Mugabe and I was in the camp because I knew that Mugabe is a devil who tried to kill me. It was a situation where both devils, Mugabe and Papa Kabila, were causing friction among groups of refugees who had run away from both men but for clashing reasons. But that is not my greatest worry; Zimbabweans are resilient enough. My worry lies with the people of Botswana because, with their peace loving demeanor and shying away from confrontations, the people of Botswana are not cut to be political or economic refugees in any country. Like they say, every big river starts with a drop.

There is already a political refugee from Botswana in South Africa. Botswana must not create any situation that propels even one of its citizens to become a refugee in any other country. The people of Botswana must understand that opposing their own leader who is behaving badly is not the same as praising a foreign leader who is behaving worse and whose policies do not affect them. I fear that the people of Botswana are now in the same trap that Zimbabweans are caught in. First came the accolades from both within and outside. Then, well, all hell broke loose, people disappearing, unexplained road accidents, disputed election results, members of the opposition suddenly becoming enemies, defections and state media being used against citizens who pay for the running of that media. It is not a laughing matter; this is serious stuff because we see dead bodies. My heart bleeds for Zimbabwe. The country has gone through so much and the people have suffered for so long yet the misery is getting worse by the day. I am not exaggerating to say that Zimbabweans were silently hopeful that Mugabe’s days were numbered by heaven’s gatekeeper.

The wily old fox is well too aware of the uncompromising stance of nature and, out of nowhere, his young wife has burst onto the political scene. I warned Zimbabweans that Grace Mugabe’s move to take over the leadership of the ruling party’s women’s league was just a political ‘meat tenderizer’ for bigger bites coming. Grace Mugabe is on a country-wide whirlwind tour and she is sending shivers down the spines of all the idiots who had surrounded Mugabe before Grace was even born. She is breathing fire and threatening people if things are not done in a certain way. Over the weekend, some people walked out of a stadium where she was addressing a rally.

They complained that they had been forced to attend yet all they heard were threats and insults against political opponents much like her husband’s speeches. “We started moving out of the stadium because she was now attacking people as well as denouncing the opposition when we thought she was going to talk of unemployment and ways of improving our tattered economy,” said one Atinos Mutasa, who attended the rally in Masvingo. “We had waited for a long time to listen to her address and when she stood up we thought she was going to tackle the fundamentals of our ailing economy but to our surprise she just behaved like her husband who is known for attacking personalities instead of coming up with ways of fixing our economy.” That is the Mugabe trademark seen on the international stage as recently as the UN General Assembly a few weeks ago. Grace now says she is Mugabe’s chief political adviser and has wondered aloud why she could not rise to a leadership above the presidency of the Women’s League. Indeed, some bootlickers have already started chanting her name for the presidency. She has threatened “to dump” Mugabe’s closest advisers and that statement alone has sent shivers down the spines of the murderous clique that has been smooching off Mugabe for decades. Last week, Grace complained about the economic situation of the nation; not for the nation but for herself. “I manufacture yoghurt but no one buys it," Grace Mugabe said last Wednesday in Harare.

"You can't even find a person who can buy a packet of milk." The heart of the matter is if our politicians, like Emerson Mnangagwa, Joyce Mujuru Oppa Muchinguri and others, were true to themselves, if they were true to Zimbabwe for which they presumably suffered so much, they would have refused to let the country slide into the mess that it has descended into with gold-diggers like Grace literally shitting all over the beautiful country that the world knows as a beautiful nation. Zimbabwe cannot withstand the installation of a destructive dynasty with “Gucci Grace” as the matriarch. To everything is an end. The country does not deserve this type of uncleaned toilet treatment. The country belongs to a proud, hard-working people who have suffered as much as they have done because of their aversion to violence. Whatever happens in the end, the fact remains that those who have plundered and stolen from Zimbabwe will one day account for their behavior and will face severe punishment for using national resources to perpetrate the denial of human rights and the continuation of thieving. It is unfortunate that in instances where other families cry and complain of having been wronged, other families are celebrating and rejoicing. Such is the case in Zimbabwe and across the world. It is sad that whenever someone is happy, laughing and enjoying themselves, someone is pushed into misery by the joy being experienced by others. “You would see me quiet, a young girl, what did you think I was doing? I was learning,” Grace Mugabe said on Thursday. “So what is shocking you today?

You made me what I am, I was copying from you. You are not supposed to be shocked, I am seeing a higher post.” Zimbabweans are looking forward to the end of misery with Mugabe’s political demise, whether natural or self-inflicted. The people of Zimbabwe should not be expected to carry on their shoulders filthy trash like Grace Mugabe who has done so much to bring the nation down by proudly prostituting the decency of a nation. And Botswana thinks it has problems?

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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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