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What wrong has Ramadeluka Seretse done to the BDP?

Ndulamo Anthony Morima
EAGLE WATCH

When the then Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Honorable Ramadeluka Ndelu Seretse, faced corruption charges he, obviously at President Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama’s concurrence, resigned his ministerial position.

On the contrary, such other ministers as ministers for Finance and Development Planning, Honorable Kenneth Matambo, and then Assistant Minister of Trade and Industry, Honorable Vincent Seretse, remained in office despite facing criminal charges.

These two used to literally alight from a national flag hoisting government vehicle and enter into the court dock, something which, to me, was contemptuous of the sanctity of a democratically elected government. Yet, it did not bother president Khama. In fact, he defended the practice with the natural justice maxim that ‘one is presumed innocent until proven guilty’.  Curiously, he did not rely on the same maxim to retain Honorable Seretse pending the final determination of his case.

When Honorable Seretse lost the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) primary elections for the 2014 general elections to his long-time nemesis, and now Assistant Minister of Education and Skills Development, Kgotla Autlwetse, many in the BDP seemed to be in a celebratory mood. The celebrations were not those of celebrating Kgotla Autlwetse’s hard earned victory, but seemed to be celebrating the demise of Honorable Seretse.

Following his loss to Honorable Autlwetse, president Khama, contrary to expectation, failed to nominate him as a Specially Elected Member of Parliament. This, despite the fact that Seretse had competencies needed in president Khama’s cabinet.

As a lawyer by training and being a retired soldier, Seretse was the best candidate for the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security. Instead, it was given to Honorable Shaw Kgathi despite having no training or experience in any Defence, Justice and Security portfolio.

Despite being far junior to Seretse within the BDP, such people as Dr. Unity Dow, were, after rejection by the voters, nominated as Specially Elected Member of Parliament. The Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Eric Molale, resigned his position as a public officer a day before being nominated as Special Elected Member of Parliament.

What did Seretse lack compared to these political novices? Did president Khama really want to avoid being blamed for nepotism or he had other ulterior motives not to nominate Seretse? He possibly had other ulterior motives. After all, he appointed his own brother, Tshekedi Khama, as minister despite public outcry.   

Despite declaring his intention to contest the BDP chairpersonship seat and, according to media reports, informing the party leadership about his decision, when His Honour the Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi, decided to stand he was not consulted. Allegedly, the same happened when there were allegations that the Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Honorable Tshekedi Khama, decided to stand, but later withdrew from the race.

When campaigning, like any other candidate, Honorable Seretse was chastised by his own, even through social media, especially when he said anything in relation to His Honour, Mokgweetsi Masisi. This, despite the fact that his message has, in the main, been reconciliatory and putting the interests of the BDP ahead of his own.

Recently, it is reported that at a Jwaneng regional congress, former president, Sir Ketumile Masire, through a speech he had written since he was outside the country, endorsed His Honour, Mokgweetsi Masisi for the upcoming chairpersonship elections. Reportedly, Sir Ketumile Masire’s speech was read by the former Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Peter Siele.

Many in the region and beyond, including the BDP’s leadership, defended Sir Ketumile Masire’s endorsement arguing that in the same manner that the BDP regions endorse the presidential candidate, there is nothing wrong when a region endorses a candidate for a Central Committee position especially that of party chairperson. Curiously, they fail to cite a clause in the party constitution which provides thus.

In a desperate attempt to save face, some claim that if Sir Ketumile Masire had been present he would have read the situation and not endorsed His Honour, Mokgweetsi Masisi, especially that other chairpersonship candidates were in attendance. Instead they blame the messenger, Peter Siele, for failing to use his judgment to adapt the speech to the prevailing circumstances. This is a lame excuse.

Protocol dictated that, unless told otherwise by Sir Ketumile Masire himself, Peter Siele had a duty to read the speech as it is. After all, Sir Ketumile Masire knew that the speech will be read in his absence and should have reasonably foreseen the likelihood of other chairpersonship contenders attending to regional congress. It is customary that during the run-up to Central Committee elections candidates attend as many party forums as possible to campaign.

Yet, it is incredible that during a talk show programme on Duma FM on Wednesday this week, Seretse, though stating that as a party elder and a parent to all BDP adherents Sir Ketumile Masire should not have endorsed one particular candidate, condoned Masire’s indiscretion choosing to limit the damage to the party by shooting the messenger, Peter Siele, for the reasons advanced above.

Not only that. He openly stated that he was not interested in the blame game and the endless discussion of this matter. On the contrary, he said he wants the BDP to learn from this and avoid similar mistakes since they may cause disunity within the party.

Yet, even with such statesmanship one caller, who identified himself as a BDP member from Seretse’s constituency, used the Setswana adage, letlhomole o le utlwe, loosely translated to mean feel the pain for your deeds, claiming that during the Gantsi chairpersonship contest between president Khama and former Vice President and current party chairperson, Ponatshego Kedikilwe, Seretse was among those who defended and/or failed to condemn former president Festus Mogae’s endorsement of Khama.

How can one person face such animosity from his own party? Why has president Khama, who is well known for protecting his relatives, friends and those from the military, like his cousin, Seretse, not protected Seretse? Since president Khama is said to hate the unrighteous, does this mean Seretse is unrighteous?

But, are all president Khama’s appointees righteous? Though he reinstated him as Minister of Defence, Justice and Security after his acquittal of his corruption charges, does this mean president Khama did not believe he was innocent?

You may recall that despite being in a position to depone to an affidavit confirming Seretse’s defence that he had declared conflict of interest during the award of a tender that was the subject of his corruption charges, president Khama neither deponed to such an affidavit nor caused it to be deponed to by his ministers or officials.

Does the fact that Ramadeluka Seretse bears the name ‘Seretse’, as a surname, unsettle president Khama and his brothers? Why else would president Khama not defend his cousin? He probably fears that if Seretse attained such a prominent position as party chairperson he may threaten his brother, Tshekedi Khama,’s rise to the vice presidency and ultimately the presidency after His Honour, Mokgweetsi Masisi’s departure.

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The Daring Dozen at Bari

8th December 2020
JEFF---Batswana-smoke-unit

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.

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A Strong Marriage Bond Needs Two

8th December 2020

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”

UNDERSTANDING

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.”

COMMITMENT

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.

ACCEPTANCE

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.

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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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