The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC)’s performance in the 2014 general elections led some, including some in the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), to believe that in 2019 the BDP may, for the first time since independence, lose the general elections.
The Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), which in fact gained more Members of Parliament (MPs) than its main alliance partner, the Botswana National Front (BNF), no doubt played a significant role in UDC’s victory.
The BMD, arguably ideologically closer to the BDP, brought many disgruntled members from the BDP when it was formed in 2010, something which, together with such aspects as the 2011 public sector strike and the suspected assassination of the late BMD president, Gomolemo Motswaledi, contributed to UDC’s performance in 2014.
Unfortunately, since the 2014 general elections, the BMD has been at the centre of incidents that have done nothing but make UDC’s prospects of victory less probable than they were in 2014. Unless the BMD changes its ways it can only setback the gains the Opposition has made thus far.
On the contrary its allies, the BNF and the Botswana Peoples Party (BPP), have not been involved in incidents that have hurt the coalition. The BNF, for example, has rallied behind its leader and Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Honourable Duma Boko. The pre-2014 factions have almost disappeared. The Temporary Platform is no longer as prominent. In fact, some of the former leaders of the Temporary Platform are now part of the party’s leadership and/or are supportive of the leadership.
The BMD has had incident after incident. There is the re-admission of Advocate Sidney Pilane into the party. This matter has literally torn the party asunder and resulted in factions led by members of the National Executive Committee (NEC).
According to the BMD Youth League president, Phenyo Segokgo, things have not been well in the BMD since the Advocate Sidney Pilane saga and some members becoming disgruntled.
For all intents and purposes, the BMD has no functional NEC. The party president, Honourable Ndaba Gaolatlhe, has lost control of the party, and there is a risk that he himself may be poached by the BDP which, through His Honour the Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi, has expressed admiration for him.
So divisive was Advocate Sidney Pilane’s matter that it has resulted in some calling for a Special Congress. What political party can stoop as low as calling a Special Congress to discuss an individual’s membership application?
It is incredible is n’t it, especially considering that Advocate Pilane was one of the party’s founding members whom many in the party, including his adversaries, have confessed that even after his resignation he has continued assisting the party technically and financially.
There has also been the leaders’ fights over the control of the party’s Youth League, something which has resulted in the Youth League being ineffective owing to subservience and patronage. Not only that.
The BMD Youth League (BMDYL) has suffered exodus defections, with its nemesis, the BDP as the main beneficiary. Mmegi’s edition of 20th October 2016 quotes BMDYL president, Phenyo Segokgo, saying “… the trend in which some of my youth league members are defecting to BDP cannot be ignored…”
Segokgo continues to lament that “… the painful part is that the party is losing the hard working members who had been playing a big role in the party. We cannot sit back and claim all is well.” Indeed all is not well and it is this lack of wellness in the BMD that may setback the Opposition’s gains.
What is even more troubling is the League’s former National Organizing Secretary, Karabo Gomotsegang, who recently defected to the BDP is quoted as saying “… inner party democracy is not there in the BMD. Again there is no consultation with party members…”
Unfortunately, the state of affairs in the BMD is being used to vindicate the BDP. Claims are made that it is because of ill-discipline that those who defected from the BDP to form the BMD in 2010 could not remain in the BDP.
This is unfortunate indeed because it vilifies the legacy of such party fore bearers as the late party leader and UDC Secretary General, Gomolemo Motswaledi. Those who believe he was assassinated now ask whether his blood was not spilled in vain.
Those who returned to the BDP not long after BMD’s formation are also claiming vindication, stating that the BMD is in such a state of disarray that no serious minded politician can remain its member.
Even those who returned to the BDP for purely selfish reasons are now claiming heroism, claiming that they had the political wisdom to foresee that BMD’s success will be as short lived as the Arab revolution was.
If the BMD truly wants to contribute to UDC’s victory during the 2019 general elections it has to make a serious introspection. Is it true that it lacks inner party democracy? Is selfish political expediency not put ahead of party unity and the national interest?
The BMD’s rank and file have to honestly confront these questions, lest history judges them harshly for setting back the gains the Opposition has made thus far and/or stand to make during the 2019 general elections.
There are some who allege that the BMD, just like the Botswana Congress Party (BCP), is being used by the BDP and its surrogates, including the intelligence community, to destroy the Opposition. Could this be true?
The UDC too should actively intervene and try to broker peace between the warring parties within the BMD. The same applies to the trade unions, faith-based organisations and civil society groups allied to the UDC. Failing this, the peace and stability enjoyed by the other members of the coalition will count for nothing come 2019.
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.