If the departed Gomolemo “Sir G” Motswaledi were to be asked which decision he regrets the most, the most probable answer he would give is that he regrets the decision to join the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). This answer would not be without cause for the BDP has tortured Motswaledi in life and in death.
When Motswaledi’s death, especially considering its untimely manner and the horrendous and suspicious circumstances in which it occurred, is still so vividly clear in the memory of Batswana and his family, the BDP has already began dancing on his grave. That the BDP Parliamentary caucus, reportedly cajoled by President Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama, resolved to compel Member of Parliament(MP) for Tati West, Biggie Butale, to withdraw the motion to name a major government facility in honor of Motswaledi is testament to that.
One wonders why Honorable Butale made notice of the motion without first securing the support of not only enough Members of Parliament (MPs), but also that of President Khama considering that the motion was always going to be sensitive in view of the acrimonious relationship the BDP and President Khama have had with Motswaledi. If Honorable Butale had done that he would have saved Batswana and the Motswaledi family from having a healing wound hurt.
Knowing the BDP, Motswaledi’s relationship with the BDP and President Khama and the dirty game that politics is, when some of us heared of the motion we never believed it would be passed in Parliament. We, however, thought that it would at least be debated. After all, the BDP has enough Parliamentary majority to ensure that the motion is defeated if it so wanted. But as it would turn out, it is either the BDP or President Khama so hate Motswaledi that it cannot bear to have his name echo in the halls of Parliament or it did not trust its MPs to tour the party line when it came to voting.
A motion to name a major government facility in honor of Motswaledi cannot have been so bad as to bring division within the BDP Parliamentary Caucus. Certainly, Honorable Butale being the Pastor he is and a new comer to politics must have thought that it is enough that the motion was in good faith. Though he, like every politician, knew he would gain political mileage from Motswaledi’s good will, it is doubtful if he ever thought that his party can stoop as low as compelling him to withdraw the motion on the basis that it will give credence to the flourishing Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and hurt the ailing BDP. No wonder in withdrawing the motion he, obviously having been humiliated, said “Madam Speaker, it is with deep sorrow and regret that i have to withdraw the motion.”
Has the BDP not tortured Motswaledi enough when he was alive? Despite being elected as party Secretary General, his position was undermined even by agents of the party. He was later, in August 2009, served with a sixty day suspension by President Khama which rendered him unable to contest the Gaborone Central Parliamentary seat on the BDP ticket.
It is now common cause that Motswaledi’s efforts to overturn his suspension at the courts were unsuccessful not because his appeal had no substantive merits, but because our Constitution raises the President above the law and protects him from prosecution. In the High Court judgment, Chief Justice Julian Nganunu (as he then was) said “the Constitution has granted to a sitting President of the Republic of Botswana immunity against criminal prosecution for all activities done both in his private and official capacities. The same provision … also grants him total immunity against civil suits in his private capacity.” This judgment was later upheld by the Court of Appeal.
It may be remembered that Motswaledi’s loss of the court battle attracted him a huge bill of costs of suit which he had to pay to the BDP and/or President Khama. Following threats of attachment and sale in execution of his property in enforcement of the judgment, Motswaledi was in part saved, if he indeed was, by Batswana who made contributions towards payment of the judgment debt. The contributions notwithstanding, Motswaledi’s estate was diminished at the instance of the vengeful BDP and President Khama. His estate also suffered attrition because of the legal fees he paid to his own Attorneys.
It is common cause that Motswaledi later left the BDP and joined the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). When, he, as Party President, having tirelessly worked to build the BMD, and having immensely contributed to the establishment of the UDC, to which he was Secretary General, died in a mysterious car accident just before the 2014 general elections he was dealt a final blow, at least in human terms. This man, the best MP that was never one, was once again, either by accident or human involvement, denied the opportunity of being an MP in his life time.
Even when all Motswaledi needed was a decent farewell, the BDP used its machinery to down play his legacy. Despite the public interest in Motswaledi’s death, Botswana’s state media, Radio Botswana (RB) and Botswana Television (Btv), did not impartially cover his funeral arrangements and memorial. Instead, they gave airtime to the remarks about his death which the President made while addressing political rallies. Btv’s failure to cover Motswaledi’s funeral, which some say attracted more mourners than those that attended Sir Seretse Khama’s funeral, was unpardonable to say the least.
Though that has not yet come to pass, immediately after Motswaledi’s funeral rumours broke that Btv was working on a documentary the object of which was to use Motswaledi’s memorial service and funeral to show the BMD and UDC’s political intolerance. This was following reports that the BMD Youth League denied some BDP and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leaders the opportunity to speak at the memorial service and funeral by booing them off the podium. Reportedly, Btv wanted to milk the rivalry between the BCP and the UDC by interviewing BCP leaders to prove the BMD and UDC’s political intolerance. Thankfully, the BCP is reported to have not acceded such interviews.
Even if Motswaledi has wronged the BDP and/or President Khama, as a departed soul that needs rest the BDP should stop torturing him. It should let his soul rest in peace. Though his legacy will no doubt influence Botswana’s politics for some time to come, he no longer poses any direct political threat to the BDP and/or President Khama. As to who between Motswaledi and the BDP and/or President Khama won the battle, God will be the judge. But, my God tells me that while the BDP and/or President Khama may have won the battle, Motswaledi won the war.
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.