On Thursday 15th June 2017, on Duma FM at around 19.00 hours Botsalo Ntuane who is the Secretary General of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) repeated the party’s usual cheap political talk. He claimed that the opposition parties in Botswana have no alternative policies to those of the BDP. He further asserted that opposition parties are just protest movement without alternative policies to those of the BDP.
President Khama on several occasions in his usual unguarded careless talks claimed that opposition parties have contributed nothing to the development of this country. He is on record saying opposition parties only know how to criticize BDP but offer no solutions to the challenges facing Botswana.
First of all we don’t know if BDP has any policies to talk about. What we know is that the BDP government implements policies developed by the public servants. They do not have a policy development or review structure that feeds the government with policies as it is done elsewhere. In South Africa or Zimbabwe the party initiates policies and feed them into the public service for implementation.
In Botswana the reverse is true. Ntuane is on record expressing concern over the situation where the BDP rubberstamps policies initiated by public servants. This is why BDP can without shame and embarrassment claim that it was the IEC which came up with a policy/law on Electronic Voting Machine (EVM). That is why the BDP claims no knowledge and hence invited Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to Tonata to explain the EVM.
What is interesting is that government and the President have gone so far as to sign EVM into the law while their party had no idea what it is all about. Otherwise, Ntuane should confirm and confess that the BDP Policy structure discussed and decided on EVM.
In fact, BDP is failing Batswana because it has no carefully researched and practical policies. We understand that both President Khama and the BDP new generation, who are fond of insulting opposition parties, are political novices. They do not know much about where this country has achieved with the help of Opposition policies. For their information, there are scores of policies that were originated by opposition parties. Such policies have made huge impact in making this country what it is today.
As far back as 1970s the opposition had started advocating for free education policy. Past election manifestos of the Botswana National Front (BNF) bare testimony to this historical fact. The proposal faced fears resistance from the ruling party. After ten years the BDP reluctantly acceded to the demand on account of mounting political pressure. They have since re-introduced school fees.
Another example is the policy on drawing water from Chobe and Okavango rivers to the eastern part of the country mainly for irrigation, proposed by the BNF in 1967. It took the BDP government more than forty years to begin considering the proposal. Five years after announcing the implementation of Zambezi Integrate Agro-commercial development not much has happened. Part of the reason is that because of government indecision countries that share the waters of Zambezi are presenting challenges. The international laws on shared resources have tightened over the years.
The policy on diversifying the beef industry including using meat, bones, blood, skins to make leather products and create jobs, which BDP is currently trying to implement but failing as in the “Lobatse Leather Park Project” was advocated by Opposition BNF in the 1960s and 1970s, and subsequently by Botswana Congress Party (BCP) in the 1990s.
Adoption of education with production or a strong Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) was initiated by opposition parties –BNF, BPP, BIP, and BCP. Even Lesedi la Botswana (of the late Mrs. Eitlhophe Mosinyi) advocated for the policy. It is only now that BDP is struggling with this approach to education, but again unsuccessfully.
There are many more policies and initiatives that came from the opposition like the Establishment of IEC, Reforms of Electoral Law in 1997, Payment of Old Age Pension, Reforms of Labor Laws, Freedom of Information Law, Funding of political parties, proportional representation, etc some of which BDP is refusing to adopt. If Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) had not advocated for the introduction of a national army Khama would have joined a growing population of the unemployed back then.
Lately in the 2014 Elections, BCP came up with a number of policy options which BDP is now trying to copy and implement. The BCP Manifesto used the slogan “Bring Back our Jobs”. BDP has now agreed that it has been selling jobs by exporting unprocessed goods. The slow learning BDP is now talking about processing and beneficiation of all products including minerals. The Vegetable Processing Plant in Selibe Phikwe and Leather Park in Lobatse are but borrowed policies which the BDP corruption-ridden government cannot even implement properly.
If you look at policies originated from opposition, you will immediately see the quality and impact of these on the country’s development. Clearly both Khama and Ntuane are either ignorant, uninformed or they want to continue to reap from opposition policies because they are intellectually challenged. In short the main originators of government policy are the opposition and public servants.
What Ntuane also confessed in the same Duma FM interview was that, “for the first time in the history of Botswana, the BDP is facing difficulties running this country”. True. BDP is currently facing a leadership crisis of a monumental magnitude. They are corrupt and fighting over who is corrupt and who is not corrupt. Newspaper stories (12 -17 June) reported on how Biggie Butale escaped a trap by another faction of BDP using Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC).
Prince Maele a Minister implicated in acts of corruption confessed that some of his “Cabinet Colleagues” are corrupt because they were fighting him for cancelling a P5 Billion North-South Water Pipe-line Tender. President Khama’s Wilderness and Air Botswana’s privatization added the last evidence of corruption of BDP leadership just under a period of one week.
In short, the BDP is “finished”. Talks like those of President Khama and Ntuane are the “last kicks of a dying horse –ke go ragaraga ga bofelo ga pitse e e swang”. Efforts to stop party elections through a compromise list are indeed examples of a party in crisis which is trying to cover up the possibility of another major split. BDP is at a stage which they used to refer to when talking about the minority regimes of Ian Smith in Rhodesia and Apartheid South Africa as the last kicks of a dying horse. For them we say mene-mene -tekele- upharasin – the writing is on the wall.
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.