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DCEC as good as disbanded

Kesitegile Gobotswang (PhD)
BCP Deputy Leader

Reports that Rose Seretse Director of Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) has been unceremoniously deployed to a position in a newly established Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA) is yet another sign of a country pushed by a desperate and corrupt ruling elite into unchartered waters.

In addition to the deployment of Seretse an elite DCEC investigation unit has been dismantled.  In particular Itumeleng Phuthego the Chief Investigations Officer and his team were targeted. According to media reports Phuthego was involved in the investigation of Prince Maele the Minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services over his alleged involvement in acts of corruption. When news first surfaced it was alleged that Phuthego had leaked information around the case of Maele. So incensed was the Minister that he used government stationary and resources to defend himself over a matter that is private.

Apparently Phuthego and Seretse were collateral damage in a political battle between Carter Morupisi the Permanent Secretary to the Office of the President and Maele for the Lerala-Maunatlala constituency.  It is alleged that Phuthego is a close friend of Morupisi. This was strongly denied by government. To demonstrate that this was not the case the letter that suspended Phuthego was signed by Morupisi.

It is possible that the case of Maele was used to get at the Director of DCEC by the powers that be. Although Serete is related to President Seretse Khama Ian Khama by marriage she was at loggerhead with Isaac Kgosi the Director General of Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS).  Kgosi is a trusted allay of Khama.A few years ago DCEC investigated Kgosi over his alleged involvement in corruption and money laundering. He is alleged to have attempted to deposit cash amounting to P50 million into a local bank. Investigations were concluded and a docket was passed to the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) for appropriate action.

According to the latest media reports Kgosi may never appear in court since government is working around the clock to kill his case. Deployment of Seretse and dismantling of a critical DECE investigation unit is viewed as an attempt to safe Kgosi from prosecution. For some reason Kgosi is a hot potato at government enclave. He is untouchable. Like the President of the Republic of Botswana, he is virtually immune to prosecution.  The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is alive to the fact that Kgosi is one of their biggest liabilities but they remain powerless to deal with him. It is the kind of baggage that Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi is prepared to inherit.  His exit from DIS is almost impossible because he knows where “all the bodies” are buried.

In the past the United States of America complained about lack of commitment by government to effectively fight money laundering. Like other oversight institutions Financial Intelligence Agency (FIA) is toothless. Government is prepared to face sanctions by the international financial bodies than risk prosecuting Kgosi over alleged money laundering. Both Maele and Kgosi have denied any wrong doing. Surprisingly they appear to be unwilling to appear before a competent court of law, the only avenue to clear their names. Failure to appear before court will mean that they will face a court of public opinion that is grounded on the notion of guilty until proven innocent.

Before Maele and Kgosi three Ministers appeared before courts on corruption charges and emerged innocent. To his credit Ramadeluka Seretse the former Minister of Defence Justice and Security resigned his position to clear his name. The zero conviction rate in cases involving powerful political figures has always been of grief concern to us in the BCP. The view that Seretse is not suitable to lead DCEC because she is more of an engineer than an investigator is a lame argument. One can also argue that Kgosi is not qualified to head DIS because he is more of a low level auto mechanic than an investigator yet when he sneezes everyone at government enclave catches fever.

We are alive to the weakness of the piece of legislation that established DCEC ensuring that the outfit is placed under tight control of the executive arm of government.  It is a situation that is not uncommon across the continent. The laws that established anti-corruption watchdogs are deliberately watered down to protect the corrupt political elites or the “Big Fish” as they are popularly called. The victimization of Seretse comes after the victimization of Patrick L.O. Lumumba the former Director of Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC), Ibrahim Lamorde the chief of Nigerian Economic Finance Crimes Commission, Leonard McCarthy former head of Scorpions (Directorate of Special Operations) of South Africa, and George Siane the head of Zambian anti-corruption agency.  

Lumumba has since become the leading anti-corruption crusader across Africa. According to him Africans are involved in primitive accumulation of wealth. For example the estimated wealth of Mobutu Sese Seko the former president of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) or Zaire as it was known during his time exceeded the total national wealth. This may be an exaggeration but it demonstrates the magnitude of corruption in Africa. Furthermore Lumumba says that the mortality of anti-corruption crusaders is high. Only those who pretend to be fighting corruption survive.

All eyes are on the newly appointed Director of DCEC to show whether he will fight or pretend to be fighting corruption. We are hopeful that the incoming Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) government will find all the files intact and fully accounted for.
The ruling party must not be deceived by the current skirmishes taking place at the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMC) and think that the UDC project has reached a dead end. The prophets of doom will be disappointed when the two warring groups embrace each other.  Both are well aware that the stakes are too high to go separate ways. After all they are Bakaulengwe now and in future. We all share the same vision for our beautiful country Botswana free of corruption.  

Botswana Congress Party (BCP) advocates for the independence of oversight institutions such as DCEC. The legislations that established oversight institutions require serious overhaul to make them truly independent and directly accountable to parliament. The position of Ombudsman should be enhanced by merging it with the office DCEC. Botswana can borrow a leaf from the South African institutional robustness. 

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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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