Recently, I wrote an article in which I argued that despite the automatic succession clause, i.e. section 35(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Botswana it is not a foregone conclusion that His Honour (HH) the Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi, will be President.
I opined that the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) government may, at the instance of the anti-Masisi camp, amend the Constitution and repeal the automatic succession clause before 31st March 2018 ensuring that HH Masisi does not automatically succeed His Excellency (HE) the President, Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama when he retires.
Also, the BDP, still at the instance of the anti-Masisi camp, may amend clauses 29.1 and 29.3.4 of its Constitution before 31st March 2018 to provide that elections for the President of the Party be held before the incumbent party President steps down as State President, thereby bring an end to automatic succession.
Further, HE Khama may, in terms of sections 34(1) and (3) of the Constitution, serve as President until the election of the President, who may not be HH Masisi, after the 2019 general elections.
After all, HE Khama is not, in my view, constitutionally obliged to step down earlier as former president Festus Mogae did to allow HE Khama to automatically succeed him. This was just a party arrangement which ensures that the Vice President assumes power earlier in order to stamp his authority before the general elections.
Also, even if HH Masisi wins the BDP presidential elections, the BDP is likely to lose the 2019 general elections to the UDC, especially if the UDC enters into a coalition with the BCP and the Botswana Federation of Public Service Unions(BOFEPUSU) does not suffer further loses after Botswana Public Employees Union(BOPEU)’s disaffiliation.
There is a recent development which has made me to conclude that even if the BDP and the government do not repeal the automatic succession clauses in their respective constitutions, HH Masisi may automatically succeed HE Khama as president, but may go down in history as the shortest serving president.
This development is that, according to the Weekend Post newspaper, HE Khama’s brother and Minister of Environment, Wildlife & Tourism, Honourable Tshekedi Khama II, has, in an interview with them, confirmed that he will, if the BDP implores him to, contest the party presidential elections in 2019.
According to the report, Khama II confirms that some members of the party have requested him to contest the elections and he has accepted such request in the interest of not only the party, but also and most importantly the country. Khama II is quoted as saying his father taught him that the country comes first and the party comes second.
Khama II’s name has been among such names as Honourable Nonofo Molefhi, His Excellency Botswana’s Ambassador to Japan, Jacob Nkate, Ramadeluka Seretse, Tebelelo Seretse and Robert Masitara who have been reported to be the likely contenders for the BDP presidency in 2019.
Hitherto, I have argued that there is no doubt that if Khama II decides to challenge HH Masisi he is likely to win the BDP presidency by mere fact of being HE Khama’s brother and/or a Khama. Not only that. There are many in the BDP who believe that considering the performance of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) in the 2014 general elections, the BDP needs a personality as compelling as Khama II to win the 2019 general elections.
This camp argues that the BDP would rather be accused of relying on the Khama cultism than running the risk of losing the elections. They argue that Khama II, like all other BDP members, has the democratic right to contest the party presidency and, if the BDP wins the general elections, to become State President.
They argue that denying Khama II his democratic right simply because his father, the late Sir Seretse Khama, and brother, HE Khama, have been State Presidents would be undemocratic. This camp is said to have prevailed over Khama II, imploring him to stand up for his own legacy and the name “Tshekedi”, whose owner, his uncle, did a lot for this country.
This camp is also reported to have asked Khama II to stand for the presidency lest his father’s country goes to the dogs under the governance of the inexperienced UDC. Reportedly, this, together with the warning that the UDC would bring Communism to this country, convinced Khama II to stand for the BDP presidency in 2019.
There is also a camp which believes that HH Masisi is still a political novice and should not have been made Vice President ahead of such party stalwarts as Daniel Kwelagobe, HE Jacob Nkate, Honourable Nonofo Molefhi, Ramadeluka Seretse, and Tebelelo Seretse.
They support their point by stating that, unlike former presidents, HH Masisi had never held such influential positions as party Chairperson or Secretary General prior to ascending to the presidency. Also, they contend, he had been in cabinet as a full Minister for less than five years when he was appointed Vice President.
Reportedly, this camp brushes away the fact that HH Masisi recently won the party Chairpersonship with a huge margin despite a fierce contest involving about five candidates, two of whom are the so-called party stalwarts and heavy weights, Ramadeluka Seretse and Tebelelo Seretse.
According to them, it is reported, the reason HH Masisi won the party Chairpersonship is not because of his own political prowess, but because he had the backing of HE Khama. Not only that, they argue. It is also because Khama II did not contest the Chairpersonship elections.
This camp seems to have been emboldened by the fact that, of late, HH Masisi has openly stated that his ascension to the presidency is guaranteed and stated that those opposed to him should give up since there is nothing they can do.
It is in this regard that if HH Masisi succeeds HE Khama without incident on 1st April 2018 his presidency may only last until the 2019 general elections for two reasons. Firstly, as stated earlier, he would likely lose against Khama II for the BDP presidency in 2019.
Secondly, the UDC, especially if it will have entered into a coalition with the Botswana Congress Party (BCP), and still has a working relationship with BOFEPUSU, is also likely to win the 2019 general elections.
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.