Some have claimed that the reason former President Lieutenant General Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama picked Mokgweetsi Masisi to succeed him is that he thought that he will control him to protect his legacy.
According to them, Masisi would effectively be a regent for former president Khama’s brother, Tshekedi Khama, and remain in Khama’s shadow and Khama’s associates would continue to be protected even under Masisi’s reign. In other words, Khama would continue being in charge and rule from the grave as it were, something which he would not do if somebody else other than Masisi, for instance Nonofo Molefhi, were President.
According to this school of thought, such people as the former Director General for the Directorate on Intelligence and Security Services (DISS), Isaac Kgosi, a long time Khama ally, would be untouched and they would in turn protect Khama. Therefore, nobody thought that Masisi would, less than a month after assuming the presidency, dismiss Kgosi, with immediate effect, with four years before the end of his contract, especially after it seemed he would retain him after he did not dismiss him when he reshuffled his cabinet immediately after assuming office.
Judging from the arrogance with which Kgosi recently answered questions before Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC), it is safe to conclude that not even Kgosi himself thought that he would, today, not be the head of the DISS. Recently, Kgosi shocked many when appearing before the PAC when he stated that he does not take instructions from anyone, and he, alone, runs the DISS as he deems fit and without deference to anyone else.
This surprised many for no person who is appointed by an authority can claim not to be accountable to anyone. Even the state President is accountable to Parliament, the Constitution and the people. Right from his appointment when the DISS was established there were concerns that his appointment was not based on merit, but rather on his friendship with former President Khama which friendship started from their time together at the Botswana Defence Force (BDF).
Kgosi’s reign at the DISS has been characterized by allegations of brutality, maladministration and corruption yet he seemed to be untouchable. He was indeed an integral part of former President Khama’s inner circle. Not even his alleged involvement in the National Petroleum Fund (NPF) saga was enough to induce former President Khama to at least suspend him from the DISS pending his absolution from the matter. Khama disregarded calls for a Commission of Inquiry, presumably because he did not want his ally to be involved in investigations.
I will, however, avoid further commentary on the NPF matter since the case is still pending before the courts, save to state that Kgosi could have answered most of the questions arising from the PAC instead of hiding behind the sub judicae rule and national security. In fact, I am convinced that it is the manner in which Kgosi evaded the PAC’s questions and his assertions that, as DISS head, he is not accountable to anyone, including the President, that put the final nail on his coffin.
This, in my view, irked H.E Masisi since it was, in a way, challenging his authority. That the PAC, following Kgosi’s failure and/or refusal to answer many of its questions citing national security and the sub judicae rule, referred him to the Speaker of the National Assembly, may have contributed to his sacking.
Hitherto to his sacking, many had resigned themselves to the fact that Kgosi would remain the head of the DISS until the end of his contract, and even have his contract extended, but that was not to be. His fate was, on 2nd May 2018, sealed in what was diplomatically referred to as a ‘release from his duties.’
The truth is that Kgosi was not released from his duties. He was dismissed, with immediate effect, from his position much to the delight of many Batswana. If it were not dismissal he would have been allowed to serve the normal three months’ notice for people of his position. It is clear that H.E Masisi has been listening to Batswana’s concerns and he, like many Batswana, had had enough of Kgosi’s infamous and tumultuous reign. He was obviously aware of the damage that the Kgosi era had caused to our country’s image.
H.E Masisi should have been aware that the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)’s decline in electoral fortunes in 2014, which saw it attaining less than 50 % of the popular vote for the first time since independence, was partly because of the bad publicity caused by Kgosi’s woes. No doubt, H.E Masisi, knowing how significant the 2019 general elections will be for his presidency and his party, the BDP, could not risk going to the 2019 general elections with the Kgosi cloud hanging over his head.
H.E Masisi dropped former cabinet ministers Sadique Kebonang and Prince Maele despite the fact that they have not been convicted by any court, but simply because they faced allegations of corruption and/or maladministration which were damaging the image of not only the BDP but also the country. Granted, they, like everyone else, are to be presumed innocent until proven guilty by a competent court of law, but because they are public figures, the perception that they were corrupt had, in the world of politics, become more of a reality though it may not have been.
H.E Masisi demoted Honourable Erick Molale from the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration and Ruth Maphorisa from the Directorate on Public Service Management presumably because of their failure to maintain good relations with trade unions and labour, something which nearly cost the BDP power in 2014. Granted, the breakdown in relations between government and labour cannot have been caused by Molale and Maphorisa alone, but the perception was that they are at the centre of such breach and, in the world of politics, such perception became more of a reality.
Granted, Kgosi has not been convicted by any court of law for the allegations levelled against him, but his baggage, at least from a perception point of view, had become too much for the nation to bear. He had simply become a liability which had the effect of, inter alia, scaring potential investors. It is unlikely that H.E Masisi made his decision to terminate Kgosi’s contract on 2nd May 2018. He likely made it even before assuming the presidency, but did not implement it immediately for purposes of getting to grips with the country’s intelligence apparatus before dismissing Kgosi.
Granted, Kgosi’s successor, Peter Magosi, has had his controversies in the past, but I believe Batswana are willing to settle for any person, but Kgosi. They are willing to give him a chance and the benefit of doubt. There is one other person that H.E Masisi has to release from his duties though if he is to detach his government from the past and mend relations with the media and trade unions. That person is Carter Morupisi, Permanent Secretary to the President and Secretary to Cabinet.
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.