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PROCRASTINATION

Iqbal Ebrahim
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said; ’Take benefit of: your youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free-time before your preoccupation, and your life before your death.’

We are so laidback that procrastination is a habit which some may not even realize they have. We all suffer from it, me included, at one time or another, but rarely admit it. We like to gloss it over and claim we are just ‘chilling’ or taking a break, but in reality we are constantly delaying things – a sure sign of procrastination.

We delay doing things by saying I will do it later, tomorrow or whenever. But do we really get round to doing it? It’s the ‘tomorrow that never comes’. ‘Don’t put off till tomorrow what can be done today’ and ‘procrastination is the thief of time’ old adages that we of yesteryear were brought up to respect and follow.

We are on this earth but for a short while, some may live longer than others, while some of us will die young. Look around you and think about it; how many people younger than you, with their hopes and ambitions have had their lives cut short and left this world? Life is full of uncertainty, there is no guarantee of a tomorrow; we all have our ambitions, hopes, and dreams for the future, yet we never know when the Angel of death will come knocking at our door.

We are prone to say ‘I will do such and such tomorrow / next week’ but seldom do we add the word ‘Insha Allah’ – (if Allah so Wills). The Qur’an reminds us ‘nor say anything, I shall be sure to do so and so tomorrow without adding if Allah so Wills’ (Qur’an 18: 23). The Bible also says: “you don’t even know what your life will be tomorrow. You are like a puff of smoke, which appears for a moment and then disappears. What you should say is this ‘if the Lord is willing, we will live and do this or that’.” (James 4: 14-16)

Admittedly, today we lead very busy lives trying to provide for our families more comforts and a better life. But unfortunately in the humdrum of our earthly life one of the things we procrastinate upon is our duty towards our Creator. Somehow we tend to forget that our abode in this world is temporary and transient we fail to take lessons or even acknowledge that we are but ‘travellers’ through this world and that the life in the Hereafter is eternal.  
The Qur’an says: ‘Short is the enjoyment of this world; the Hereafter is the best for those who do right’ (Qur’an 4: 77). And; ‘Little is the comfort of this life as compared to the Hereafter…Do you prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter?’ (Qur’an 9: 38). Think of the Hereafter.

While we recognize that we have a single entry visa stamped ‘in transit’ to this world we need to be more aware that we are just that, a traveller passing through this world, the expiry time and date of our visa is only known to our Lord. Time marches on so do we, towards meeting our Maker so we need to fulfil our obligations to our Lord.

For Muslims we have the path cut out for us. Starting with our obligatory five times daily prayers, there is no question of procrastinating here, because these prayers are performed at specified times. It is a sort of discipline that teaches us to be aware that there is a time for us and there is a time for our Maker. This does not necessarily mean that we should leave our daily work obligations and other stations that we occupy in life and spend all our time in prayer.

What is meant is that we should infuse into our daily lives and occupations the proper conduct, behaviour, morals, ethics, values and that all our actions are within the bounds of our religious belief and guidance. This in itself becomes a training ground that leaves little room for procrastination.

Apart from the physical acts of worship a Muslim is also obliged to lead a life that is in congruence with the guidance of the Qur’an and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). We are exhorted to constantly seek repentance and fulfil our other obligatory requirements as soon as we can. Every believer who has accumulated a certain value of savings and wealth is required to yearly give Zakaat, an obligatory and mandatory alms giving which is seen as purification of that income and wealth.  

In addition Muslims who can afford to do so are required to at least once in their lifetime, perform Haj – the Pilgrimage. These must be done as soon as possible – we must fulfil these obligations at our earliest, death waits for no one, there is no guarantee of a tomorrow.

“Pilgrimage to the House (of Allah) is a duty which men owe to Allah, (that is) those who can afford the journey; but if they deny faith, Allah stands not in need (of the services) of any of His creatures”. (Quran 3: 96 – 97).

While attending to our religious obligations we also have other worldly obligations to fulfil. We may be busy with our worldly affairs and naturally we have the stresses of our employment, office and other commitments – but we need to step back and bring a balance into our lives. The best balance is spending time with our families and loved ones we should not overlook and forget to find the quality time to spend with them.  

Time waits for no one. Therefore savour and treasure every moment you have. You will value it even more if you share it with those special people we care for because it gives us much peace of mind and in a way reignites our hearts to understand that we have responsibilities towards our family; this focusses our attention and minds on the value of time.   

Time is very precious and valuable so why procrastinate? Let me share a very profound message from a dear friend who found this quote in a book by Rick Warren: "When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you'll never get back. Your time is your life. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time". This captures beautifully the essence and value of time. It is not about how much time we have but how we utilize and appreciate those precious moments that we are blessed with.  

There are only seven days in a week: ‘someday’ is not one of them, neither is ‘one of these days’. There are two tomorrows; one that will definitely come and one that never comes.

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Chronic Joblessness: How to Help Curtail it

30th November 2020
Motswana woman

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.

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The Era of “The Diplomat”

30th November 2020
FATED “JIHADI” JOHN

Youngest Maccabees scion Jonathan takes over after Judas and leads for 18 years

Going hand-in-glove with the politics at play in Judea in the countdown to the AD era, General Atiku, was the contention for the priesthood. You will be aware, General, that politics and religion among the Jews interlocked. If there wasn’t a formal and sovereign Jewish King, there of necessity had to be a High Priest at any given point in time.

Initially, every High Priest was from the tribe of Levi as per the stipulation of the Torah. At some stage, however, colonisers of Judah imposed their own hand-picked High Priests who were not ethnic Levites. One such High Priest was Menelaus of the tribe of Benjamin.

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Land Board appointments of party activists is political corruption

30th November 2020

Parliament has rejected a motion by Leader of Opposition (LOO) calling for the reversing of the recent appointments of ruling party activists to various Land Boards across the country. The motion also called for the appointment of young and qualified Batswana with tertiary education qualifications.

The ruling party could not allow that motion to be adopted for many reasons discussed below. Why did the LOO table this motion? Why was it negated? Why are Land Boards so important that a ruling party felt compelled to deploy its functionaries to the leadership and membership positions?

Prior to the motion, there was a LOO parliamentary question on these appointments. The Speaker threw a spanner in the works by ruling that availing a list of applicants to determine who qualified and who didn’t would violate the rights of those citizens. This has completely obliterated oversight attempts by Parliament on the matter.

How can parliament ascertain the veracity of the claim without the names of applicants? The opposition seeks to challenge this decision in court.  It would also be difficult in the future for Ministers and government officials to obey instructions by investigative Parliamentary Committees to summon evidence which include list of persons. It would be a bad precedent if the decision is not reviewed and set aside by the Business Advisory Committee or a Court of law.

Prior to independence, Dikgosi allocated land for residential and agricultural purposes. At independence, land tenures in Botswana became freehold, state land and tribal land. Before 1968, tribal land, which is land belonging to different tribes, dating back to pre-independence, was allocated and administered by Dikgosi under Customary Law. Dikgosi are currently merely ‘land overseers’, a responsibility that can be delegated. Land overseers assist the Land Boards by confirming the vacancy or availability for occupation of land applied for.

Post-independence, the country was managed through modern law and customary law, a system developed during colonialism. Land was allocated for agricultural purposes such as ploughing and grazing and most importantly for residential use. Over time some land was allocated for commercial purpose. In terms of the law, sinking of boreholes and development of wells was permitted and farmers had some rights over such developed water resources.

Land Boards were established under Section 3 of the Tribal Land Act of 1968 with the intention to improve tribal land administration. Whilst the law was enacted in 1968, Land Boards started operating around 1970 under the Ministry of Local Government and Lands which was renamed Ministry of Lands and Housing (MLH) in 1999. These statutory bodies were a mechanism to also prune the powers of Dikgosi over tribal land. Currently, land issues fall under the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services.

There are 12 Main Land Boards, namely Ngwato, Kgatleng, Tlokweng, Tati, Chobe, Tawana, Malete, Rolong, Ghanzi, Kgalagadi, Kweneng and Ngwaketse Land Boards.  The Tribal Land Act of 1968 as amended in 1994 provides that the Land Boards have the powers to rescind the grant of any rights to use any land, impose restrictions on land usage and facilitate any transfer or change of use of land.

Some land administration powers have been decentralized to sub land boards. The devolved powers include inter alia common law and customary law water rights and land applications, mining, evictions and dispute resolution. However, decisions can be appealed to the land board or to the Minister who is at the apex.

So, land boards are very powerful entities in the country’s local government system. Membership to these institutions is important not only because of monetary benefits of allowances but also the power of these bodies. in terms of the law, candidates for appointment to Land Boards or Subs should be residents of the tribal areas where appointments are sought, be holders of at least Junior Certificate and not actively involved in politics.  The LOO contended that ruling party activists have been appointed in the recent appointments.

He argued that worse, some had no minimum qualifications required by the law and that some are not inhabitants of the tribal or sub tribal areas where they have been appointed. It was also pointed that some people appointed are septuagenarians and that younger qualified Batswana with degrees have been rejected.

Other arguments raised by the opposition in general were that the development was not unusual. That the ruling party is used to politically motivated appointments in parastatals, civil service, diplomatic missions, specially elected councilors and Members of Parliament (MPs), Bogosi and Land Boards. Usually these positions are distributed as patronage to activists in return for their support and loyalty to the political leadership and the party.

The ruling party contended that when the Minister or the Ministry intervened and ultimately appointed the Land Boards Chairpersons, Deputies and members , he didn’t have information, as this was not information required in the application, on who was politically active and for that reason he could not have known who to not appoint on that basis. They also argued that opposition activists have been appointed to positions in the government.

The counter argument was that there was a reason for the legal requirement of exclusion of political activists and that the government ought to have mechanisms to detect those. The whole argument of “‘we didn’t know who was politically active” was frivolous. The fact is that ruling party activists have been appointed. The opposition also argued that erstwhile activists from their ranks have been recruited through positions and that a few who are serving in public offices have either been bought or hold insignificant positions which they qualified for anyway.

Whilst people should not be excluded from public positions because of their political activism, the ruling party cannot hide the fact that they have used public positions to reward activists. Exclusion of political activists may be a violation of fundamental human or constitutional rights. But, the packing of Land Boards with the ruling party activists is clear political corruption. It seeks to sow divisions in communities and administer land in a politically biased manner.

It should be expected that the ruling party officials applying for land or change of land usage etcetera will be greatly assisted. Since land is wealth, the ruling party seeks to secure resources for its members and leaders. The appointments served to reward 2019 election primary and general elections losers and other activists who have shown loyalty to the leadership and the party.

Running a country like this has divided it in a way that may be difficult to undo. The next government may decide to reset the whole system by replacing many of government agencies leadership and management in a way that is political. In fact, it would be compelled to do so to cleanse the system.

The opposition is also pondering on approaching the courts for review of the decision to appoint party functionaries and the general violation of clearly stated terms of reference. If this can be established with evidence, the courts can set aside the decision on the basis that unqualified people have been appointed.

The political activism aspect may also not be difficult to prove as some of these people are known activists who are in party structures, at least at the time of appointment, and some were recently candidates. There is a needed for civil society organizations such as trade unions and political parties to fight some of these decisions through peaceful protests and courts.

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