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BDP may win the 2019 general elections

Ndulamo Anthony Morima
EAGLE WATCH

The 2014 general elections saw the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) suffering its worst electoral performance since its formation. While its seats in the National Assembly fell from 45 in 2009 to 37 in 2014, its popular vote declined from 53.26% in 2009 to 46.7% in 2014.

For many people, including me, this signaled the imminent end of the BDP rule, with the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) expected to attain state power in 2019. However, recent developments indicate that the BDP may win the 2019 general elections, albeit with a thin margin.

While it may appear to be too early to make such a conclusion, history has shown that unless the government grossly fails in its mandate the people, because of the fear of the unknown, are unlikely to change the government. Often, especially in Africa, exceptional conditions have to exist for an opposition party to win elections.

In my view, such conditions, for instance the dissatisfaction of public servants after the 2011 public sector strike; the 2010 split of the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) from the BDP and the alleged assassination of UDC Secretary General and BMD President, Gomolemo Motswaledi, existed in 2014, but the Opposition failed to use such conditions to win elections.   

While the BDP’s win will partly be because of its own positive efforts since 2014, it will also be, or perhaps mainly be, as a result of the indiscretions of the Opposition itself. The Opposition may lose the elections because of inner party conflicts and poor performance by its Members of Parliament (MPs) and/or leaders.

One of the constituencies that the Opposition may lose is Tlokweng. Though the margin between the UDC’s Honourable Same Bathobakae and the BDP’s Olebile Gaborone was a healthy 2,575 votes, Bathobakae’s underperformance coupled with the fact that the BDP’s popular Elijah Katse may be the BDP’s candidate the BDP may retake the constituency.

The other Opposition constituency which is at risk of being retaken by the BDP is Molepolole South. This, not only because the margin between the UDC’s Tlamelo Mmatli and longtime area MP, Daniel Kwelagobe, was only 387, but also because, like Honourable Bathobakae, Honourable Mmatli’s performance in Parliament is grossly under par.

Mephato Reatile, if he will be the BDP candidate for Jwaneng-Mabutsane in 2019, is likely to return to Parliament not only because he lost to the UDC’s Honourable Shawn Ntlhaile with only 544 votes, but because of Honourable Ntlhaile’s underperformance in Parliament. Not only that. Reatile’s position as Chairperson of the Southern District Council will, no doubt, give him political mileage.

The fact that despite support by the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) the UDC, whose member, the Botswana National Front (BNF), had held the constituency for more than two decades, lost the March 2016 bye election to the BDP is writing on the wall. Reatile was the campaign manager for the bye elections.

Ramotswa is another constituency that should be of concern for the Opposition. Though the margin between the BCP’s Honourable Samuel Rantuana and the BDP’s Odirile Motlhale was a safe 618 votes, Motlhale may come back considering Honourable Rantuana’s near non-existence in Parliament.

The UDC’s Honourable Noah Salakae, who out seated longtime area MP, Johnie Swartz, in Gantsi North with only 314 votes is not safe either. This, especially after the government has started making inroads in rebuilding its relationship with Bakgalagadi and Basarwa.

Though the margin between the BDP’s Honourable Slumber Tsogwane and the UDC’s Sam Digwa was a mere 241, Honourable Tsogwane is unlikely to lose the seat. No doubt his position as Minister of Local Government and Rural Development is giving him the political mileage he needs to remain politically relevant despite his poor performance in Parliament.

The defection of Dumezweni Mthimkhulu, who, as an Independent, obtained 1,475 votes, from the BNF to the BDP has made Gaborone South safer for the BDP. The slim margin of 243 with which Honourable Kagiso Molatlhegi beat Murray Dipate may not be a factor. Not even the fact that the BCP’s Akanyang Magama got 2,318 is of concern given the BCP’s current political troubles.

Dr. Ditiro Majadibodu’s defection from the BCP to the BDP has made the Nata-Gweta constituency safer for the BDP. The 2,954 votes that Dr. Majadibodu got in 2014 may assist the BDP’s 3,424 votes which Honourable Polson Majaga got. But, the deciding factor may be the 2,931 voters who, in 2014, voted for an Independent candidate, Joe Linga.   

Of course the Opposition, especially if the UDC and the BCP timeously enter into a cooperation agreement, may, too, wrestle some seats from the BDP. One likely such a constituency is Bobonong which the BCP’s Taolo Lucas lost with a mere 120 votes to the BDP’s Honourable Shaw Kgathi.

The other is Francistown West which the BDP’s Honourable Buti Billy won with a tiny majority of 245 votes against the BCP’s Morgan Moseki. The UDC’s 1,067 votes may be of essence, but only if the UDC and the BCP conclude their cooperation negotiations on time and BMD’s conflicts are brought to an end or better managed.           

Though he won the Selibe Phikwe East constituency with a slim majority of only 242 votes against the BCP’s Kgoberego Nkawana, the BDP’s Honourable Nonofo Molefhi is likely to win in 2019 not only because of his popularity, but also because some people will want him to remain in Parliament so that he challenges for the country’s Vice Presidency or Presidency,

One factor that may lead to the BDP losing the constituency is if those aligned to His Honour the Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi, succeed in ensuring Honourable Molefhi’s downfall during the party’s primary elections in order to eliminate him as a potential contender for the Presidency.

But if that plan succeeds and Honourable Molefhi is replaced with His Worship the Mayor of Selibe Phikwe, Councilor Amogelang Mojuta, as it is alleged is the plan, Councilor Mojuta is likely to win the seat considering his influence as a Mayor and the fact that his mother, Kgosi Olebogeng Mojuta, has been Court President in Botshabelo since 2003.

The other factor that may lead to the BDP losing the Selibe Phikwe East constituency is the poor management at the BCL mine which has led to loss of jobs and recently led to the death of four miners in a mine accident. According to Mmegi’s online edition of 9th June 2016, “… for the past two years (2014/2015) the mine recorded the highest number of fatalities in the sector, with 11 deaths.”  

The BDP may also lose the Ngami constituency. The BDP’s Thato Kwerepe, who prevailed upon the BCP’s Taolo Habano with a mere 48 votes may lose, especially if the BCP and the UDC cooperate considering that the latter had garnered 802 votes in 2014.

The BDP is not safe at Kanye North constituency where its Honourable Patrick Ralotsia won against the UDC’s Kwenantle Gaseitsiwe with a meagre 72 votes. If the UDC and the BCP cooperate in 2019 the 9,638 votes jointly obtained by the UDC and the BCP may be a toll order for the BDP to surpass.  While Kwenantle Gaseitsiwe had got 5,654 votes, the BCP’s Kentse Rammidi had obtained 4,030 votes.

Equally unsafe for the BDP is Kgalagadi North constituency which the BDP’s Itumeleng Moipisi won against the UDC’s Phillip Khwae with a mere 238 votes. Khwae, a formidable grassroots campaigner, may come back in 2019, especially if the UDC and the BCP were to timeously enter into a cooperation agreement.  

In 2019, therefore, the BDP may wrestle five constituencies from the Opposition, namely Tlokweng, Molepolole South, Jwaneng-Mabutsane, Ramotswa and Gantsi North. The Opposition, on the other hand, provided it minimizes its conflicts and the UDC and BCP enter into a cooperation model, may also wrestle five constituencies from the BDP, namely Francistown West, Ngami, Kanye North, Kgalagadi North and Bobonong though the latter is doubtful.

In the result, therefore, the margin between the Opposition and the BDP may remain the same or be increased by one seat in favour of the ruling BDP. If, as feared, the BDP increases the number of Specially Elected MPs and/or increases the number of constituencies by splitting its stronghold constituencies the margin may even be wider in favour of the BDP.      

Ndulamo Anthony Morima

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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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