In any democracy, the electorate’s vote should be regarded as sacred. Sacred because it is cast by human beings, the Ultimate Being’s nearest resemblance. Sacrosanct because when humans vote it is the closest they express of their desire to live a ‘heaven’ in earth, at least in material terms and in peace of mind. Hallowed because when humans vote, few are motivated by evil, but by the desire to better their lives. Sanctified because when humans vote, they are seldom motivated by divisive ideologies, but by a genuine desire to elevate their quality of life.
As Batswana voted on 24th October they hoped for one thing, a better life. Granted, because of affinity to various political parties, away from the polling stations, they were clad in various political party regalia and chanted differing political slogans and songs. Yet, the bottom line for them is a dream for a better life, not only for the Members of Parliament (MPs) and Councilors they have voted for, but also and mainly for themselves, their children and grandchildren.
When this article was posted at about 5:00 am on 25th October, in terms of Council seats, the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) was leading. It was not yet clear which will be second and third between the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP). If this trend continues, the BDP will undoubtedly return to power. Though you have not voted for the BDP you should respect the voice of those who voted for it. Similarly, though the BCP and the UDC will have lost elections, the Batswana who voted for them should not be undermined. Their voice remains sacred.
It is one’s hope that the whirl winds which bedeviled us on the evening of 23rd October will not characterize the state of our politics going forward. It is hoped that the destruction, albeit negligible, that resulted from the whirl winds is not the Ultimate Being’s warning of how our democracy can be disturbed if things are not done properly.
On the contrary, one hopes that the rains that drizzled in some of the constituencies, halting voting in such areas as Kotolaname, are the Ultimate Being’s sign of the peace that will prevail in our country post these elections. After all, Batswana have, in their magnanimity, demonstrated once again that they are a peace loving people by remaining calm during the run up to the elections and during the elections themselves, proving those who had insinuated that there may be chaos wrong.
Batswana have, after a long five years, spoken. If they return the BDP to power for the eleventh time since independence they will have shown one of two things. Either that the BDP has done really well in satisfying their needs or it has failed as the Opposition, trade unions, most media houses and interest groups and political commentators suggest, but the Opposition’s messages and demeanor have not been compelling enough to change Batswana’s political convictions. On the contrary, if any of the opposition parties wins, Batswana will have bought into the message of change propagated by the Opposition.
Either way, Batswana have spoken and their wisdom cannot be questioned. The thousands of Batswana who will have, aware of all the iniquities the BDP is accused of, still voted for it are certainly as wise as those who will have voted for the Opposition despite its alleged weaknesses. Both are wise for just as there are the unwise among them there are the wise and the two aggregate each other.
Batswana have spoken and if the BDP wins the elections their vote will indicate, inter alia, that the Botswana Federation of Public Service Unions (BOFEPUSU) is not as politically influential as it thinks it is for despite its public support for the UDC and publication of the so-called ‘hit list’ which but for the BCP’s Honorable Dumelang Saleshando comprises members of the BDP, the BDP will remain in power. However, if the BDP loses the elections, BOFEPUSU will have been right and it will go down in history as a real vanguard to Botswana’s democratic revolution.
Batswana have spoken and if the BDP wins the elections their vote will indicate that such blemishes to our democracy as the BDP’s monopoly of the public media; lack of independence of such institutions as the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), the Ombudsman and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC); and the Directorate on Intelligence & Security Services (DISS)’s alleged extra judicial killings are not decisive for them.
Perhaps most Batswana never got to know or be concerned about the killing of John Kalafatis and the alleged assassination of Gomolemo Motswaledi. Perhaps such issues are only decisive for the learned few and the urban dwellers, a significant number of whom do not vote. If any of the opposition parties wins it will be indicative of the fact that the alleged public outcry around the aforesaid issues was warranted.
Batswana have spoken, and if the BDP wins the elections it is perhaps the stability that most Batswana, especially the elderly, often say they see in the BDP as opposed to the Opposition’s alleged proneness to conflict and splits, that will have swung the voter’s pendulum in BDP’s favor. Or, though the BDP has also started suffering from the same ailments as the Opposition in terms of poor conflict management as evidenced by the number of Independent Candidates who left the party after losing the primary elections, Batswana regard the BDP as the better devil than the one they know not.
Batswana have spoken, and if the BDP wins the elections it is perhaps President Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama’s so-called pet projects that its critics, including the Opposition, condemn as populist and unsustainable that really counted for the majority of the voters, especially the poor and those living in rural areas.
Perhaps what we, the affluent and middle class, regard as a slave wage from the Ipelegeng and National Service projects really makes a difference in someone’s life. Perhaps the constituency tournaments that are condemned as political and not developmental enough really matter for the desperate youths who are stuck in villages and have nothing else to do.
Batswana have spoken, and if the BDP wins the elections, perhaps in the eyes of an average Motswana President Khama is not the dictator that he is accused of being. Perhaps, it is his accessibility even to the poorest of the poor; his desire, albeit through ill-informed programmes, to uplift Batswana from poverty; and his visits to even the remotest parts of Botswana that have really counted in the BDP’s favor. Perhaps, though he is blamed for his ‘broken’ Setswana, it is his attempt to speak Setswana that Batswana admire. No doubt, if any opposition party wins, it will be a vote of no confidence on President Khama himself.
Batswana have spoken. Now is not the time for opinion polls and commentary from academics, analysts and commentators to take the centre stage. Now is not the time for suppositions and hypotheses, but the time for actuals. Now, it is Batswana who should take the centre stage. It is Batswana who should be queens and kings. One only hopes that Batswana’s queenship and kingship will not end immediately after they have secured employment for the MPs and Councilors, but that they will continue as such until the next elections.
If our MPs and Councilors can, post elections, continue giving the voters the reverence they gave them during the campaign period our people would truly be served. If the poor and disadvantaged people the Council and Parliamentary candidates used as campaign teams and paid with food, cellphone airtime and alcohol continue to matter, the elections would indeed be worth the millions spent holding them.
Seventy-seven years ago, on the evening of December 2, 1943, the Germans launched a surprise air raid on allied shipping in the Italian port of Bari, which was then the key supply centre for the British 8th army’s advance in Italy.
The attack was spearheaded by 105 Junkers JU88 bombers under the overall command of the infamous Air Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen (who had initially achieved international notoriety during the Spanish Civil War for his aerial bombardment of Guernica). In a little over an hour the German aircraft succeeded in sinking 28 transport and cargo ships, while further inflicting massive damage to the harbour’s facilities, resulting in the port being effectively put out of action for two months.
Over two thousand ground personnel were killed during the raid, with the release of a secret supply of mustard gas aboard one of the destroyed ships contributing to the death toll, as well as subsequent military and civilian casualties. The extent of the later is a controversy due to the fact that the American and British governments subsequently covered up the presence of the gas for decades.
At least five Batswana were killed and seven critically wounded during the raid, with one of the wounded being miraculously rescued floating unconscious out to sea with a head wound. He had been given up for dead when he returned to his unit fourteen days later. The fatalities and casualties all occurred when the enemy hit an ammunition ship adjacent to where 24 Batswana members of the African Pioneer Corps (APC) 1979 Smoke Company where posted.
Thereafter, the dozen surviving members of the unit distinguished themselves for their efficiency in putting up and maintaining smokescreens in their sector, which was credited with saving additional shipping. For his personal heroism in rallying his men following the initial explosions Company Corporal Chitu Bakombi was awarded the British Empire Medal, while his superior officer, Lieutenant N.F. Moor was later given an M.B.E.
Remember: bricks and cement are used to build a house, but mutual love, respect and companionship are used to build a HOME. And amongst His signs is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind, so that you may find contentment (Sukoon) with them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you; in this behold, there are signs (messages) indeed for people who reflect and think (Quran 30:21).
This verse talks about contentment; this implies companionship, of their being together, sharing together, supporting one another and creating a home of peace. This verse also talks about love between them; this love is both physical and emotional. For love to exist it must be built on the foundation of a mutually supportive relationship guided by respect and tenderness. As the Quran says; ‘they are like garments for you, and you are garments for them (Quran 2:187)’. That means spouses should provide each other with comfort, intimacy and protection just as clothing protects, warms and dignifies the body.
In Islam marriage is considered an ‘ibaadah’, (an act of pleasing Allah) because it is about a commitment made to each other, that is built on mutual love, interdependence, integrity, trust, respect, companionship and harmony towards each other. It is about building of a home on an Islamic foundation in which peace and tranquillity reigns wherein your offspring are raised in an atmosphere conducive to a moral and upright upbringing so that when we all stand before Him (Allah) on that Promised Day, He will be pleased with them all.
Most marriages start out with great hopes and rosy dreams; spouses are truly committed to making their marriages work. However, as the pressures of life mount, many marriages change over time and it is quite common for some of them to run into problems and start to flounder as the reality of living with a spouse that does not meet with one’s pre-conceived ‘expectations’. However, with hard work and dedication, couples can keep their marriages strong and enjoyable. How is it done? What does it take to create a long-lasting, satisfying marriage?
Below are some of the points that have been taken from a marriage guidance article I read recently and adapted for this purposes.
POSITIVITY Spouses should have far more positive than negative interactions. If there is too much negativity — criticizing, demanding, name-calling, holding grudges, etc. — the relationship will suffer. However, if there is never any negativity, it probably means that frustrations and grievances are not getting ‘air time’ and unresolved tension is accumulating inside one or both partners waiting to ‘explode’ one day.
“Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames.” (49:11)
We all have our individual faults though we may not see them nor want to admit to them but we will easily identify them in others. The key is balance between the two extremes and being supportive of one another. To foster positivity in a marriage that help make them stable and happy, being affectionate, truly listening to each other, taking joy in each other’s achievements and being playful are just a few examples of positive interactions. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best character and the best of you are those who are best to their wives”
Another characteristic of happy marriages is empathy; understanding your spouses’ perspective by putting oneself in his or her shoes. By showing that understanding and identifying with your spouse is important for relationship satisfaction. Spouses are more likely to feel good about their marriage and if their partner expresses empathy towards them. Husbands and wives are more content in their relationships when they feel that their partners understand their thoughts and feelings.
Successful married couples grow with each other; it simply isn’t wise to put any person in charge of your happiness. You must be happy with yourself before anyone else can be. You are responsible for your actions, your attitudes and your happiness. Your spouse just enhances those things in your life. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.”
Successful marriages involve both spouses’ commitment to the relationship. The married couple should learn the art of compromise and this usually takes years. The largest parts of compromise are openness to the other’s point of view and good communication when differences arise.
When two people are truly dedicated to making their marriage work, despite the unavoidable challenges and obstacles that come, they are much more likely to have a relationship that lasts. Husbands and wives who only focus on themselves and their own desires are not as likely to find joy and satisfaction in their relationships.
Another basic need in a relationship is each partner wants to feel valued and respected. When people feel that their spouses truly accept them for who they are, they are usually more secure and confident in their relationships. Often, there is conflict in marriage because partners cannot accept the individual preferences of their spouses and try to demand change from one another. When one person tries to force change from another, he or she is usually met with resistance.
However, change is much more likely to occur when spouses respect differences and accept each other unconditionally. Basic acceptance is vital to a happy marriage. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “It is the generous (in character) who is good to women, and it is the wicked who insults them.” “Overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness.” (Quran 15:85)
COMPASSION, MUTUAL LOVE AND RESPECT
Other important components of successful marriages are love, compassion and respect for each other. The fact is, as time passes and life becomes increasingly complicated, the marriage is often stressed and suffers as a result. A happy and successful marriage is based on equality. When one or the other dominates strongly, intimacy is replaced by fear of displeasing.
It is all too easy for spouses to lose touch with each other and neglect the love and romance that once came so easily. It is vital that husbands and wives continue to cultivate love and respect for each other throughout their lives. If they do, it is highly likely that their relationships will remain happy and satisfying. Move beyond the fantasy and unrealistic expectations and realize that marriage is about making a conscious choice to love and care for your spouse-even when you do not feel like it.
Seldom can one love someone for whom we have no respect. This also means that we have to learn to overlook and forgive the mistakes of one’s partner. In other words write the good about your partner in stone and the bad in dust, so that when the wind comes it blows away the bad and only the good remains.
Paramount of all, marriage must be based on the teachings of the Noble Qur’an and the teachings and guidance of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). To grow spiritually in your marriage requires that you learn to be less selfish and more loving, even during times of conflict. A marriage needs love, support, tolerance, honesty, respect, humility, realistic expectations and a sense of humour to be successful.
The past week or two has been a mixed grill of briefs in so far as the national employment picture is concerned. BDC just injected a further P64 million in Kromberg & Schubert, the automotive cable manufacturer and exporter, to help keep it afloat in the face of the COVID-19-engendered global economic apocalypse. The financial lifeline, which follows an earlier P36 million way back in 2017, hopefully guarantees the jobs of 2500, maybe for another year or two.
It was also reported that a bulb manufacturing company, which is two years old and is youth-led, is making waves in Selibe Phikwe. Called Bulb Word, it is the only bulb manufacturing operation in Botswana and employs 60 people. The figure is not insignificant in a town that had 5000 jobs offloaded in one fell swoop when BCL closed shop in 2016 under seemingly contrived circumstances, so that as I write, two or three buyers have submitted bids to acquire and exhume it from its stage-managed grave.