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MOTHERHOOD

Iqbal Ebrahim
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) described the importance of a mother in the following words: ‘Heaven lies at the feet of the mother’ meaning that if you fulfil your duties of respect for, being kind to and honouring your mother you will by Allah’s grace enter Paradise.

Islam respects the Divinely given responsibility and most important role for childbirth to women. There are certain hardships that are experienced only by a mother; she carries the unborn child, goes through the trials and tribulations of pregnancy, the birth and the nursing and the raising of the child. There is no substitute for mother’s milk or mother’s love – no one can extract and bottle motherly love and compassion. The key ingredient in any child’s upbringing is a mother’s natural affinity for children and her patience, kindness, willingness to sacrifice her own comforts.   

Women are uniquely qualified to do this all important task it is because they have those special talents and the psychological strength and makeup needed to raise children.

They have a more delicate, sensitive and emotional nature that helps a mother to understand and uniquely sense the children’s physical and emotional needs even if they cannot express them. That is what makes them so extra special. As the Quran says: ‘We have enjoined on man kindness to his parents; in pain did his mother bear him, and in pain did she give birth to him……The carrying of the child to his weaning….’ (Quran 46: 15).

Once blessed with offspring, parents hold an enormous responsibility in terms of what they teach their children and accordingly how their children grow up to be adults. Children should be raised to understand their own rights, obligations and responsibilities as Muslims as well as of their parents, community, society and ultimately the world itself.

Therefore children have the right, to be raised as responsible Muslim adults and parents must ensure and fulfil that right appropriately.

The Holy Qur’an says: ‘O you who believe! Save yourself and your families from the Fire of Hell’. (Ch. 66: V6).

Enter the mother: A good mother is one who understands the crucial nature of her responsibility, she will raise children with courage, honesty, truthfulness, patience and perseverance, love and kindness, faith and self-confidence and will instil in her children faith and moral values, as only a mother can. Mothers are the silent workers who are indispensable for building the character of the next generation. Therefore a society without mothers and homemakers will produce at-risk youth.

There was a report on a meeting held in the USA a few years ago that showed at the time that out of a population of about 60 million youth, about a quarter i.e. 15 million were at risk youth. Mostly, they came from dysfunctional families and were in danger of falling victims to the ‘pathologies and poisons of the street.’ Out of them, every year, 3.4 million of them tried drugs. Half a million attempted suicide. A lot of them would drop out of high school and will be functionally illiterate in a country with free universal education. Many of the kids had turned to violent crime. The main reason was that they grew up without a homely environment.

Without doubt many other nations including us are also suffering, fast forward to Botswana of today, how different is it? Albeit our population is much smaller, but the statistics will show that we also suffer from similar problems of our youth.

Why is it so? The main reason is lack of parental guidance. Regrettably in this day many homes are not conducive to proper upbringing of children. Today we see the destruction of the family unit and many homes are single family homes. In many cases the father may have abandoned the children and the mother is forced to raise the children alone.
 
Many of today’s homes are no longer the havens of peace, comfort and tranquillity that we once knew as they are filled with domestic violence, vulgar language, family strife, lack of respect and a whole host of modern day ills. How then do we expect to raise well-adjusted children in this poisoned atmosphere? Children need role models, and parents are their primary examples. To be good role models themselves, parents must also have models or mentors of their own whose example they can emulate. This means that parents, too, must model their lives according to the Islamic way of life.

Parents have to take an active role in guiding their children and families onto the path of righteousness. Islam holds parents responsible for steering their children’s upbringing according to the guidelines of the Quran and Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) teachings. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: ‘No father has given a greater gift to his children than good moral training’.

The Bible also gives guidance: “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward”. (Psalms 127:3).  Also: Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it”. (Proverbs 22:6)

On the importance of a mother: Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) when asked ‘who deserves the maximum love and respect’. He replied ‘your mother’. Who is next? He replied again ‘your mother’. Again asked ‘who is next’ the reply was ‘your mother’. On the fourth time he answered ‘your father’. This shows that a mother gets the maximum respect and love – ahead of the father.

So the recommendation to be dutiful and good refers to both parents, but the mother’s share is greater.  What is meant is that the mother deserves a greater share of her child’s honour, and her rights take precedence over those of the father in cases where a choice must be made.

The Bible says: ‘A wise son maketh a glad father; but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother’ (Prov 10: 1). And: ‘He that wasteth his father and chasest away his mother, is a son that causeth shame and brings reproach’ (Prov 19: 26)

Remember that no day care centre, nursery or school can make up for the absence of the mother and father. What the children need for their upbringing is not a poultry farm, but the love that only parents (especially a mother) can give to their children.

In return let us show that love, respect and caring for our mothers, because they deserve to be treated with our utmost love and attention. We are because of them.  So the truth is: Mothers: they are real gold, why should anybody trade them in for glitter?

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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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