Log, you went too soon! In taking you, death has, like a thief in the night, robbed us of an academic, an educator, a social worker and a prolific writer of unparalleled talent. Your life changing role among our people has, since your untimely departure, been expressed in eulogies which I trust you managed to read and listen to amidst your busy schedule of attending orientation meetings in heaven. While I cry for a departed fellow writer, I get solace in the knowledge that while still alive you lived the saying that “the pen is mightier than the sword” for you relentlessly told truth to power.
Before you rest my brother, one last assignment. If you are not able to start a newspaper column in heaven, for I trust you have been admitted to heaven, try to meet Sir Seretse Khama and tell him that the Botswana he left is being denigrated by his party, the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), with his son at the helm. If he asks you what Sir Ketumile Masire and Festus Mogae are doing to save the situation tell him that his son does not listen to them and has told them that this is his time to rule. He may not know them but tell him that, in running the country, his son listens to such of his friends as Thapelo Olopeng and Isaac Kgosi and ignores the wisdom of party elders.
Even if one of you is in heaven and the other in hell request for an ‘inter-after life meeting’ and tell him that if he had known he would have, on 15th May 1970, concluded his most famous quotation by saying “… and a nation without a leader is a lost nation.” Tell him that under his son’s leadership such of our virtues as consultation (therisano) have been substituted with dictatorship. Only bootlickers and members of the BDP are regarded as patriots and those who raise questions are labeled as traitors and belonging to the Opposition.
If it is difficult for you to meet him, request such elders who still remember you as Lieutenant General Mompati Merafhe to arrange the meeting. He cannot refuse to meet with you. When you meet him remind him of the speech he gave at the opening of the fifth session of Botswana's third National Assembly in November 1978, when he said "Democracy, like a little plant, does not grow or develop on its own. It must be nursed and nurtured if it is to grow and flourish. It must be believed in and practiced if it is to be appreciated. And it must be fought for and defended if it is to survive."
Tell him that contrary to his words his son does not practice and nurture our democracy. Instead he chokes such vanguards of our democracy as the media, trade unions and civil society. Tell him that under his son’s watch this very little tree, our democracy, which he helped to plant, is being left to wither. Tell him that the son he so loved that he bequeathed his own name to disregards workers and trade unions. Though he departed before the establishment of the Public Service Bargaining Council, tell him that his son disregards it and has instructed the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) to render it meaningless.
You obviously will not forget to talk about the media. Tell him that the private media is purged and Independent minded government journalists are vilified. He may not remember Edgar Tsimane, but he certainly remembers Outsa Mokone. Tell him that, for the first time after many years, the two are facing charges of seditious offences and that the one he does not remember fled the country to seek asylum in South Africa, a country which was not even a democracy when he departed. If he does not believe you, request Laona Segaetsho to confirm it. May be he will believe him since he worked for the United States Embassy.
Remind him of the speech he gave in Blantyre in July 1967 when he said "I think that the trouble we now face in the world is caused mainly by the refusal to try and see another man’s point of view, to try and persuade by example — and the refusal to meet a rather passionate desire to impose your own will upon others, either by force or other means." Tell him that his son is using the personality cult and charismatic power he inherited from him to impose his will on Batswana.
Fear not Log, for you have not been afraid to tell the truth when you were still alive. Tell him that when his son assumed office he, without consulting Batswana, depreciated the four national principles that he as the father of our nation helped develop and instituted his own so-called four Ds. Tell him that his son thinks the principles of democracy, development, self-reliance and unity are not good enough. Tell him that his son’s leadership is characterized by directives and such populist economically unsustainable projects as Ipelegeng which, contrary to its meaning of self-reliance, makes Batswana unproductive and reliant on government.
But, maintain the balanced reporting you have often exhibited Log. Tell him that amidst all this his son has some good in him. Tell him that he likes people, especially the elderly and that though he does it in an unsustainable manner he has established such programmes as Ipelegeng, ISPAAD and back yard gardening to help the poor. Tell him that he, like him, likes the Kgotla. Tell him that though he does it in a manner that may encroach into some people’s rights and freedoms, his son tries to instill discipline among his people. Tell him that his son has passed legislation to regulate operating hours for alcohol outlets and has introduced an alcohol levy, supposedly to combat alcohol abuse.
This will sadden him, but tell him that as a result of his son’s poor leadership the party he helped start and build is facing a decline in electoral support. Tell him that were it not for the Opposition’s failure to unite, his party could have lost last year’s elections. Though you left before the Good hope, Moshupa West and Ngware bye elections were held you probably read about the results in the media. Tell him that in an unprecedented development his party lost all the seats. Given his intelligence he will know that unless his son becomes a true democrat and his party changes for the better he may, post 2018, be the leader of the Opposition in the after- life.
Please Log, meet Sir Seretse Khama before you meet such people as Gomolemo Motswaledi, Dr. Kenneth Koma, Mareledi Gidi, Peter Mmusi and Paul Rantao lest his Private Secretary declines to secure an appointment for you. Though unlike his son he is a democrat and would not refuse to meet you simply because you differ with him, you need to follow protocol and meet him first as former head of state.
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.