In July this year, the Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) emerged from their conferences with a resolution to enter into a bilateral cooperation for the 2019 general elections if the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) conflicts remain unresolved by mid-August.
I argued then that considering the magnitude of the UDC’s problems, largely caused by the conflicts within the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), such a time frame is unrealistic. I further opined that the time frame is a political ploy meant to give an impression that the BNF and the BCP tried to remain part of the coalition UDC but had no option but to leave owing to the UDC’s failure to keep its house in order.
My theory has been proved true because, according to media reports, even before the mid-August deadline, the BNF and the BCP have already started giving effect to their conferences’ resolution. This gives credence to the theory that the BNF and BCP had, prior to their conferences, caucused and agreed on the resolution, with their conferences merely ratifying what the parties’ Central Committees had agreed upon.
No wonder, some say, prior to the conferences the BNF and BCP presidents, Honourable Advocate Duma Boko and Dumelang Saleshando respectively, submitted the new UDC constitution to the Registrar of Societies without the concurrence of the BMD and the Botswana Peoples’ Party (BPP). According to a report in Mmegi’s online edition of 9th August 2018, the functionaries of the BNF and the BCP have, since the parties’ July conferences, met twice for ‘exploratory’ talks in relation to forming a coalition that will contest the 2019 general elections.
According to the report, the BCP leader, Dumelang Saleshando, has confirmed the resumption of the talks, stating that “by entering into talks with the BNF we are implementing one of the resolutions taken by party members at our conference in Bobonong last month. I cannot say much about our talks with the BNF because they are very sensitive”.
The report, however, states that the BNF Publicity Secretary, Justin Hunyepa, while confirming that the BNF recently met the BCP, shared a slightly contrasting version with that of Saleshando, stating that “the main agenda was to discuss how we could win the election as a united opposition not specifically with the BCP.” Hunyepa is reported to have continued to say “we will be holding such bilateral meetings with the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) and the Botswana People’s Party (BPP). We will soon be meeting them.”
But truth be told, considering the fall-out between the BNF and the BCP on the one hand and the BMD and the BPP on the other following the BNF and the BCP’s unilateral submission of the UDC’s constitution to the Registrar of Societies for registration, it is unlikely that the UDC will be intact in 2019. It is common knowledge that as a result of the dispute over the unilateral submission of the UDC constitution to the Registrar of Societies, the BMD and the BPP have threatened legal action. That notwithstanding, there has been no known reconciliation between the parties on the matter.
Hunyepa’s assertion that the BNF also intends meeting the BMD and the BPP may be a mere political gimmick just like the unfeasible time frame of mid-August that the BNF and BCP conferences gave for the resolution of UDC troubles failing which the two parties should enter into a bilateral relationship for the 2019 general elections, effectively leaving the UDC. A possibility exists that with the BMD no longer part of the equation, Honourable Ndaba Gaolathe’s Alliance for Progressives (AP) may join the BNF and BCP coalition, making the coalition more formidable during the 2019 general elections.
This is especially true considering the fissures which have started showing within the ruling BDP arising from the fight for the soul of the party between former president Lieutenant General Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama and His Excellency the President, Mokgweetsi Masisi. Even without the AP, with the UDC’s imminent demise, a coalition between the BNF and the BCP is, in truth, the hope for the 2019 general elections for those who wish for a change of government in 2019.
In the 2014 general elections, while the BNF garnered seven parliamentary seats, the BCP garnered three seats. Of course, the BMD had garnered the most number of parliamentary seats, nine, one seat less than those for the BNF and BCP combined. But, following the BMD split which resulted in the formation of the AP, today, the BMD remains with three seats, with four having been lost to the AP while one, Honourable Tawana Moremi II, is an Independent Member of Parliament (MP).
Though there is no guarantee that the BNF and BCP MPs will retain their seats after the 2019 general elections, it is likely that the BNF and BCP will have the highest number of seats combined in the next Parliament. If the AP were to join the BNF and BCP the Opposition’s fortunes are likely to be increased since all AP MPs are likely to retain their seats in 2019 considering that since splitting from the BMD it has remained largely peaceful and better organized.
On the contrary, considering the turbulence it has been going through, the BMD is likely to lose several of its MPs during the 2019 general elections. Granted, the BNF has had its turbulences too, but not to the magnitude of the BMD. The BCP has, since it joined the UDC, regained the momentum it had pre-2014; it has re-found its voice; its leader, Dumelang Saleshando, is back in the centre stage of Opposition politics and, in fact, dictates the agenda of Opposition politics.
If the BNF and BCP work together in 2019 they are likely to snatch certain marginal seats from the BDP. In Bobonong constituency, the fierce contest between Honourable Shaw Kgathi and Francisco Kgoboko, who was recently seemingly endorsed by Khama, is likely to hand the constituency to the BCP’s Taolo Lucas. So, the BNF and BCP coalition is the Opposition’s hope for 2019. I say hope because, as I have argued before, the BMD debacle which the UDC allowed to go on for far too long, has allowed the BDP to regain some of the voters it lost in 2014.
This, coupled with the BDP’s resurgence under Masisi’s leadership may thwart the Opposition’s hope to bring the BDP’s 52 year rule to an end in 2019. Yet, the recent fissures within the BDP, which some argue led to the postponement of the party’s primary elections scheduled for this weekend, may give a slim chance to the Opposition, especially if the BNF and BCP enter into a coalition as early as now.
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.