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UDC milked Motswaledi’s death for elections

Ndulamo Anthony Morima
EAGLE WATCH

Speaking at a press conference a day after Gomolemo Motswaledi’s death, Wynter Mmolotsi of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) said “we believe there is need for a second opinion to allay suspicion. As UDC we are aware that political assassinations are common towards elections. We must exhaust all avenues in our quest to determine what could have caused the death of this valiant man”.

The President of the UDC and Botswana National Front (BNF), Duma Boko, said “we implore the nation to join us in this endeavor because it requires resources. We implore experts and professionals to avail themselves generously and give freely of their time”.

In response to such a ‘noble’ call, Batswana from across the political divide made financial contributions to finance the investigations. Not only that. There is no doubt that many Batswana voted for the UDC in the 2014 general elections because they, as a result of insinuations made by the UDC and BMD, believed that Motswaledi had been assassinated. They likely reached the conclusion that the assassination was at the hands of the government.

Dr. Phenyo Butale of the BMD, for example, won the Gaborone Central constituency Parliamentary elections not because the voters really knew him or believed in his electoral pledges, but because the voters wanted to honor Motswaledi who would obviously have won the seat had he lived to contest the elections.  

The nation, which was emerging from such a tragic loss, and obviously influenced by suspicions that Motswaledi was assassinated for political reasons, had hope that it will, within a short period of time, know what led to the untimely demise of one of its greatest sons. Expectation was so high that even when the Botswana Police Service communicated its findings that there was no foul play in the accident the findings were rejected as a cover up.

Today, about one and half years later, neither the UDC, for which Motswaledi was Secretary General, nor the BMD, for which Motswaledi was President, has released the investigation report or at least concretely informed Batswana about the investigations’ progress. Intermittently, informal statements have been made that the investigations are still continuing and no clear timeframe of when the report will be released has been given.

By all standards, no accident investigation, especially where the body was found intact and the accident scene was not destroyed, can take one and half years. The claim that because the investigation involved internationally renowned experts it was bound to take this long is devoid of merit.

On the contrary, it is because of that fact that it should have taken a shorter time because experts of such a caliber know the value of timeous reporting, especially on a matter as sensitive as the suspicious death of a political leader during elections.

The UDC has also made excuses by stating that even such more sensitive investigations as the one on the 2004 suspected assassination of the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Yasser Arafat, took longer. What they neglect to tell Batswana is that Arafat had been buried for years and his body had to be exhumed before the investigations commenced. Further that due to the many years of his burial it was difficult to trace the chemical thallium which was suspected to have been used to poison him. Also, the Arafat inquiry involved many countries and such international organizations as the United Nations (UN).

In another incredulous effort to hide the truth, some UDC operatives, either directly or through their proxies, state that the UDC should not release the Motswaledi report because the government has concealed the Scotland Yard’s report on the death of Segametsi Mogomotsi, the 14 year old school-girl whose killing on 6th November 1994 caused public unrest in Kgatleng as a result of suspicions that she was murdered for ritual purposes.

Is the UDC not the one which claims that unlike the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) government it will be transparent and accountable to the people? Should the UDC not be demonstrating this by doing what is right and releasing the Motswaledi report?  

The UDC has made claims that the reason government has refused to release the Segametsi Mogomotsi report is that high profile people linked to the BDP were involved in Segametsi Mogomotsi’s murder and government is protecting them. The UDC rubbished claims that it could have been in the interest of national security that the report was not released.
    
If the BDP is protecting some people by not releasing the Segametsi Mogomotsi report is the UDC not similarly protecting some people by concealing the Motswaledi report? Are allegations that Motswaledi was assassinated by some in the BMD and UDC who were threatened by his rising star too remote? What about the allegation that those responsible for Motswaledi’s death influenced some in the UDC and BMD leadership to block the release of the report?

Of late some in the UDC are claiming that perhaps the UDC is not releasing the report in the interest of national security. What national security? Should n’t that be government’s concern? Assuming such concerns are genuine, why are Batswana not informed of such instead of being kept in the dark?   

Could it be because the investigation has actually found that there was foul play in Motswaledi’s death and pointed within the UDC and BMD? Or it is because the investigation confirmed the Botswana Police Service’s finding that there was no foul play in Motswaledi’s death and the UDC concealed that from Batswana for purposes of elections?

Are reports that the UDC-commissioned investigation returned a report similar to that of the Botswana Police Service without merit? Or, as politicians and bureaucrats would say, it is neither in the public interest nor in the interest of national security to release the report.

Perhaps there is no truth in these allegations. Perhaps they are mere conspiracy theories, but failing to release such a sensitive report for about one and half years will certainly fuel such allegations.

The UDC and the Opposition in general should conduct itself with the same level of integrity and honesty that it requires of the BDP. If it were the BDP which has made such a colossal failure it will be the talk of freedom squares. Should it be swept under the carpet because it is the Opposition? No! It should not because truth is a constant and it should be told to everyone alike.

Why are the media, civil society and trade unions quite about the report? Do they know something we do not know or they, especially UDC’s ally, the Botswana Federation of Public Service Unions (BOFEPUSU), are complicit in the UDC and BMD’s dereliction of duty?

Does truth change when it affects the UDC and the Opposition?  These institutions which are guardians of our democracy should speak truth to power even when it concerns their ally, for if the UDC is not held to the highest standards of accountability today when it is in opposition it can only graduate into a tyrant when it assumes state power.

I applaud the former President of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP), Gilson Saleshando and the BCP Youth League for going public with their demand that the UDC should release the Motswaledi report. Not surprisingly, UDC’s operatives and proxies are attacking the BCP claiming that the matter does not concern it. The truth is this is a national issue and it concerns all Batswana, including the BCP.

In the wake of Motswaledi’s death, Boko said “we can only give our assurance, which we guarantee with our lives, that we will continue on this course, because we are confident that any blood that is spilled in this endeavor will not be in vain…” If the UDC can fail, for one and half years, to release the report on the death of someone who sacrificed his life for it, would you not say Motswaledi spilled his blood in vain?

Boko continued to say, “We will walk this path with grace because the man we mourn today carried himself with such dignity and poise that there is no doubt in all of us that he immortalized himself.” If Motswaledi immortalized himself as he truly did for Batswana’s liberation, the least he expects is for Batswana to know how he died.

I have now come to the conclusion that it is reasonably possibly true that the UDC perpetuated the belief that Motswaledi was assassinated merely to gain sympathy votes when it actually never believed that to be true? If it believed such likelihood existed why has it seemingly abandoned the course?

Why has the UDC forsaken its very own at his greatest hour of need, at least for his legacy? The truth is that the UDC has forsaken Motswaledi because it used his death to gain votes and that purpose having been served it no longer needs him. But, the UDC should be ware for Batswana may punish it in 2019.

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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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