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The Guptarization of BDP

Kesitegile Gobotswang (PhD)

BCP Deputy Leader

The Weekendpost (Saturday 06-12 May 2017) reports that some influential business people mostly of Indian descent have vowed not to extend financial support to members of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) who are not in support of Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s bid for the powerful position of party chairperson. 


According to media reports, individuals associated with the anti-Masisi camp will not receive material support from that section of the Indian business community during the primaries and general elections. Potential candidates in the 2019 General Elections aligned to anti-Masisi camp are threatened and blackmailed to withdraw their support from the opposite camp.  

However, for people controlling the purse, internal democratic processes are an inconvenience as they threaten the status quo. To them such contestations present uncertainties which make them uncomfortable. They strongly subscribe to the notion of the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know. In the same issue it is reported that the Molefhi faction was struggling in raising sufficient funds to mount an effective campaign for their candidate.

In an unprecedented move, Nonofo Molefhi who is the Minister of Infrastructure and Housing decided to challenge Mokgweetsi Masisi for the position of chairperson in the ruling party. Masisi who is the Vice President of the Republic of Botswana is the current BDP Chairperson, a position he is defending against advice from President Seretse Khama Ian Khama. Surprisingly a similar advice was offered to Molefhi suggesting that both may not be Khama’s preferred candidates for the position of party chairperson.

Things turned against Molefhi’s camp after Khama publicly endorsed Masisi for the position of party chairperson. Subsequently, potential donors closed doors against the anti-Masisi camp. As if that was not enough, Masisi took advantage of his position to traverse the length and breadth of the country campaigning. Unlimited public resources are used to the disadvantage of Team Molefhi. State apparatus such as the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) have been deployed to instil fear within the anti-Masisi camp. In the contestation for the position of BDP chairperson, the playing field is obviously not levelled. One can safely conclude that the BDP elections will be free but not fair.

This is not to suggest that the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) is sympathetic to Team Molefhi. In our view they are experiencing the taste of their own medicine. Facing a well-resourced campaign mounted by Team Masisi using state resources serves them right. In the past when the opposition complained about uneven political playing field in the general elections, the same individuals labelled us cry-babies since they were direct beneficiaries of an unfair electoral system. Clearly they are accomplices and not victims of a fraudulent electoral system as they would like us to believe.

The same Indian Business community they are complaining about led by Satar Data consistently closed doors on the opposition parties while availing unlimited cash to the ruling party in previous General Elections. In addition, public resources were availed to the BDP election campaign machine. This came in the form of helicopters used by the President and his deputy. As candidates in previous general elections, members of Team Molefhi directly benefited from the fifty seven (57) cars equipped with public address systems donated by Satar Dada who is also the long-time Treasurer of the ruling party.

As we head towards the 2019 general elections, the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) must brace itself for an uphill battle since the number of choppers that will be availed to the BDP will be unprecedented. In the past we were faced with choppers used by the BDP President and his Deputy. In 2019 we expect the retired Khama to be using another chopper to support the BDP campaign in addition to the two used by the presidency.

We are also aware that there is an arms race where Khama’s associates are rushing to acquire helicopters that are likely to be used against the opposition. Tshekedi Khama who is the Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism has already secured himself a private jet using public finances. The DIS has acquired unknown number of such equipment since they are only accountable to themselves.


Even Parliament has no clue on the expenditure pattern of DIS. It is not a far-fetched idea to expect Thapelo Olopeng to go shopping for a personal helicopter to add to the fleet. Olopeng a close confidante of Khama is the Minister of Empowerment, Youth Sport and Culture Development.

The position taken by the Indian business community to rally behind Masisi is shocking but not surprising. It confirms what is widely suspected, that the ruling BDP has virtually been captured by a section of prominent Indian and Chinese Business people. In the current political jargon they have been Guptarized.

Guptarization is a terminology that came into being following what has come to be referred to as state capture by the Gupta brothers in South Africa. It is generally believed that the Gupta brothers through their close association with Jacob Zuma had become so powerful to the extent of influencing the day to day operations of government business. They use their financial muscle to influence appointments in strategic public institutions and cabinet ministers. The extent of their involvement was vividly documented in the State Capture report by the fearless former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.  

The level of involvement of the Indian Business Community in the BDP in general and the Vice President campaign in particular should be of grave concern to those who cherish democratic values and good governance. This is because under the notorious automatic succession Masisi is the heir to the throne.


He is destined to be the president of the Republic of Botswana on April 1st, 2018. Unfortunately he has mortgaged himself and by extension the incoming government to some sections of the business community. It is a sad state of affairs. Strategic decisions will be influenced by people who are not democratically elected. In fact policy decisions will be influenced by people who may not be citizens of Botswana either.

The ultimate result of state capture is shedding off state assets to business interests with close ties to powerful politicians. Already there is a worrisome trend where public assets are sold for a dime. Palapye Glass Factory, Morupule B, BCL and Tati Nickel Mines, Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) and Air Botswana are up for grabs under dubious circumstances.

Botswana desperately requires truly independent oversight institutions to effectively curb corruption and abuse of public office. The introduction of Freedom of Information Law, Declaration of Assets and Liabilities as well as Prohibition of Insider Trading will go a long way in ensuring that public assets are not stolen by the ruling elites and exchanged for blankets rejects.

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The Daring Dozen at Bari

8th December 2020

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.

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)


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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