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Words Of Encouragement

IQBAL EBRAHIM
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM

Usually at this time of the year some of us are starting the New Year with ‘recharged’ batteries or dreading the just arrived New Year, so we all need words of inspiration to help us face the New Year.

Because my very busy schedule I have chosen something that I previously shared with readers years back and I hope will to put a smile on your face, fill you with comfort and enthusiasm but more importantly inspire you to ponder about adopting a life changing attitude. Inspiration comes from outside but change comes from within. Life is Like a Book. Some chapters are sad, some are happy and some are exciting, but if you never turn the page, you will never know what the next chapter has in store for you. 
 

  • The best teachers are those that show you where to look but don't tell you what to see.
  • Your mind is a garden. Your thoughts are the seeds. You can grow flowers. Or you can grow weeds.
  • Laughter if the best medicine but if you laugh for no reason – you definitely need medicine
  • When ‘I’ is replaced by ‘We’, even ‘illness’ becomes ‘wellness’
  • We all smile in the same language
  • Good friends are hard to find, harder to leave, and impossible to forget.
  • Most people walk in and out of your life, but only friend's leave footprints in your heart.
  • True friendship "never" ends. Friends are forever.
  • The eyes are like great friends: They don’t see each other except once in a while in the mirror, they blink together, they move together, they cry together, they see things together, and they shut out each other only in sleep: that's what friendship is.
  • People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges.
  • If we are incapable of finding peace in ourselves, it is pointless to search elsewhere.
  • The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life.
  • A change of heart changes everything.
  • Our greatest glory is not in ever falling, but in rising every time we fall.
  • You only live once – but if you work it right, once is enough.
  • One generation plants trees, and the next enjoys the shade.
  • When you grow older you realise how rich you are. You have silver in your hair, gold in your teeth, crystals in your kidneys, sugar in your blood, iron in your arteries and an inexhaustible supply of natural gas!

The Road to Success is not straight and easy:

There is a curve called failure, a loop called confusion, speed bumps called friends, caution lights called family, and you will have flats called life’s daily challenges. But, if you have a spare called determination, an engine called perseverance, insurance called faith, and a driver called God, you will make it to a place called success!

Live for something:

Do good, and leave behind you a monument of virtue that the storms of time can never destroy. Write your name in kindness, love, and mercy on the hearts of thousands you come in contact with year by year, and you will never be forgotten. Your name and your good deeds will shine as the stars of heaven.

A Lesson in Life

A daughter complained to her father about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it, and wanted to give up. She was tired of all the fighting and struggling. It seemed as though in solving one problem, two more would arise.

Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In one he placed carrots, in the second he placed eggs and the last he placed ground coffee beans. He let them sit and boil without saying a word. The daughter impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing. After a few minutes he turned off the burners.

He fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them a bowl. Then he ladled the coffee out and poured it in a cup.
Turning to her he asked. “Darling, what do you see?” “Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.
He brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft.
He asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.
 Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. She smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. She humbly asked. “What does it mean dad?” He explained that each of them had faced the same adversity, boiling water, but each reacted differently.

The carrots went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. But after being subjected to the boiling water, they softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But after sitting through the boiling water, the insides became hardened.  However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

 “Which are you,” he asked his daughter. When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean? How about you? Are you the carrot that seems hard, but with pain and adversity do you wilt and become soft and lose your strength?

Are you the egg, which starts off with a changeable heart? You were a fluid spirit, but after difficult times, you became hardened. Your shell looks the same, but are you tough with a stiff spirit and heart?
Are you like the coffee bean? The bean changes the hot water, the thing that is bringing the pain. When the water reaches its peak temperature, it just tastes better. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and make things better around you.

I hope that these few lines will give you ‘food’ for thought and who knows you may be inspired to re-look at your life and make some changes to our lives so that we learn to live in peace and harmony with our hearts and our souls. Now that we have learned to fly in the air like birds and dive in the sea like fish, only one thing remains – to learn to live on earth like humans. ~ George Bernard Shaw
 
…and celebrate the constantly the praises of your Lord, before the rising of the sun and before its setting; yes celebrate them for part of the hours of the night, and at the sides of the day; that you may have spiritual joy (Qur’an 20:130).

Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. Roses may have thorns, but they’re still beautiful. The greatest joys and pleasures in life are often accompanied by a little pain. Life is a journey; Heaven is the destination.
Finally the ‘golden median’ from Prophet Muhammed (pbuh): ‘My Sustainer has given me nine commands: to remain conscious of Allah, whether in private or in public; to speak justly, whether angry or pleased;

to show moderation both when poor and when rich; to reunite family relations with those who have broken off with me; to give to him who refuses me; forgive those wrong me and oppress me; that my silence should be occupied with thought; my speech be full of Allah’s remembrance; that my looking should be an admonition and that I should command what is right.’
Smile God Loves you.

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Columns

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
FATED “JIHADI” JOHN

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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