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ADULTERY: A gateway to evil

Iqbal Ebrahim

Islam and in fact every other major faith has a firm and decisive stance against adultery. In every upright society, adultery is regarded as one of the most immoral and heinous of sins. Almighty Allah declares in the Quran: ‘Nor come near to adultery; for it is a shameful deed and an opening of the road to other evils’. (Ch. 17: 32). Even the Bible says: “Thou shalt not commit adultery (Exodus 20: 14)

In the above verses we see that The Almighty commands us to avoid adultery, in explicit and unambiguous words. In the Islamic context adultery includes both pre-marital and extra marital sex, hence both are totally prohibited. Therefore, not only is the act of adultery prohibited, but also all the avenues and means leading to the opening of ways leading to these illicit relations.

In today’s world, unfortunately, both of these have almost become an ‘epidemic’ in modern society, with people giving them all sorts of different names, like ‘bit / piece on the side’ in order to justify their lustful, uncontrolled passions and desires. Little do they realise that The Almighty declares: "Say, 'Verily, my Lord has prohibited the shameful deeds, be it open or secret, as well as sins and trespasses against the truth and reason"' (Quran 7: 33).

In our daily lives adultery is a violation of the sacred marital contract; in fact, it is a crime, not against one person but affects individuals, families and the whole of society. A great proportion of marriages that result in divorce these days are as a result of or the main reason for that divorce is linked to illicit affairs, adultery, infidelity and unfaithfulness of one of the partners.

The fall-out from such actions has a long term and even devastating effect on the partners, their children and their families. The greatest tragedy is that children from such a broken home will go through life with this heavy burden in their hearts and it will spawn many negative perceptions of the life ahead. Throughout their lives trust will become just a very difficult concept to practice and believe in.

This action of infidelity erodes the trust and tranquillity that are the foundations of a fulfilling and a happy family life; for adulterers this illicit running around causes mental strain; it undermines peace at home; it corrupts the purity of one’s soul and slowly destroys one’s faith; and finally it exposes the person to the wrath of Allah, in the end resulting in eternal damnation.

Adultery has all the evil characteristics that include lack of piety and lack of one’s honour and more so includes defiance of our religious faith. It is difficult to find an adulterer who at the same time can be pious, as good as his word, truthful, keeps good company or has a sense of honour.

In the teachings of Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) he has said: “No one commits adultery while still remaining a believer, for faith is more precious unto Allah than such an evil act”: “When adultery becomes rampant in a nation, Allah will expose them to His punishment.”: “When promiscuous behaviour becomes rampant in a nation, Allah will send upon them such (strange) diseases that their own ancestors never heard of.” If one were to look around at the world today we will realise that some of the sexually transmitted diseases of today have never been heard of just a few years ago. 

In Islam the enormity of adultery is borne out by the fact that its mention has often been made in the Quran together with the gravest of all sins: that is, associating partners with The Almighty. This means that not only is illegal sex prohibited, but also anything that leads to it is also illegal.

Adultery is always committed with other kinds of sins that precede it, accompany it and follow it. For, indeed, it is an open gateway to evil. Those who commit adultery have the audacity to server the blood relationship, to be ungrateful and unkind to their parents and family members, to earn that which is prohibited, to consume intoxicants, to be unjust to people, to lose their spouse and children.

This can lead to many years of heartbreak, mistrust and unhappiness into the lives of all those affected. In some instances to get even they might also have the audacity to kill and perhaps resort to practices of witchcraft and magic and/or commit extremely abominable acts, wittingly or unwittingly.

It is no wonder then that The Almighty has throughout the ages and via His Messengers (peace be upon them all) have always sounded warnings against adultery in so many ways. Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) has often said that adultery is one of the major sins. “O mankind! Beware of fornication/adultery for it entails six dire consequences: three of them relating to this world and three to the next world.

As for the three that are related to this world: it removes the glow of one’s face; brings poverty (constant debt); and reduces the life-span. As for its dire consequences in the next world: it brings on the wrath of Allah upon the person; subjects him to terrible reckoning, and finally becomes the cause of him being cast into the hell-fire”

Besides giving stern reminders for those who transgress the limits and boundaries of The Almighty, the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) also used positive preaching methods to encourage one and all to uphold sound morals and conduct. He said, “Whoever guarantees me that he will guard his chastity, I will guarantee him Paradise”.

Allah Almighty instructs the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh): "Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that will make for greater purity, and God is well acquainted with all they do. And say to the believing woman that they should lower their gaze, and guard their modesty."(Quran 24: 30-31)

This world of today has many temptations that challenge our hearts and minds and it goes without saying that we are faced with them on a daily basis but we must remember that true enjoyment and happiness of a marriage can never be achieved by indulging in that which The Almighty has made forbidden – the pleasure and bounty of The Almighty can only be attained by being obedient to Him. The transient pleasures of this world are indeed of no significance in comparison to the ever-lasting bounties bestowed by The Almighty to the Faithful who remain steadfast at all times.

Allah says in The Holy Quran:  Allah would never change the grace He has bestowed upon a people until they change their own condition. And verily, Allah is all- hearing, all -knowing.” (Quran 8: 53).

Let us hope that we don’t fall into the temptations of an adulterous relationship that is the beginning of a spiral into the destruction of a family unit and the hurt and mistrust that will haunt the concerned partners for a long time to come.

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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

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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