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Where is BMD’s court case?

Ndulamo Anthony Morima

EAGLE WATCH

Even prior to its expulsion from the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) on 25th October 2018 the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) had, since its suspension, threatened court action were it to be expelled.

In fact, even during its suspension, there was talk that the BMD was considering approaching court on an urgent basis to apply for the suspension to be set aside and to interdict any envisaged disciplinary action by the UDC. So, when the BMD was finally expelled on 25th October 2018 there was expectation in others and fear in some that it would approach the courts, even on urgency, to apply for its expulsion to be set aside.

So imminent was the likelihood of such court action that many feared that that would result in a protracted legal battle that would only be prejudicial to the UDC’s prospects of attaining state power in 2019. Consequently, some, including me, were of the view that in the event of such court action the Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) should leave the UDC and form a bilateral coalition for the 2019 general elections.

This, it was opined, would save the Opposition project since the bilateral coalition was likely to be attractive to the Alliance for Progressives (AP), something that could give birth to a united alternative to the shell that the UDC would become if it remained with the BMD and possibly the Botswana Peoples Party (BPP). However, to date, more than one month since its expulsion, the BMD has not commenced legal proceedings as it threatened. Considering that we are about to enter the festive season, it is unlikely that the case, if any, will be registered this year.

Of course, considering the fact that if the BMD approaches the courts it will be by way of a review application, which should be commenced within four (4) months of the event giving rise to it, the BMD still has about three (3) months on its side. But, one can not help but wonder why the BMD would wait that long in view of the limited time remaining before the 2019 general elections which are likely to be held in October 2019, about eleven (11) months away.

When the BMD opted not to appeal its expulsion to the National Congress (NC) it was understandable, politically, because the chances of it succeeding in such an appeal were close to nil. There was, in my view, almost no way the BMD, even with the support of the BPP, would win an appeal at a NC dominated by the BNF and the BCP not only in numbers but also in political ideology.  

But it is not understandable why the BMD has, to date, not approached the courts. It cannot be an issue of lack of legal preparedness because the BMD, led by Advocate Sidney Pilane, himself a legal hawk, has enough legal arsenal to have waged an attack by now. After all, the BMD had, in preparing its submissions to the UDC against its expulsion, traversed most of the legal arguments it would raise during the review application at the High Court.

It can also not be an issue of lack of funds to retain an Attorney because with Advocate Pilane, and of course other Attorneys who are members of the party, the BMD needs not outsource attorneys to represent it. What then could be the reason for the delay? Could it be because the BMD never intended any litigation in the first place and was using the threat of court action to scare the UDC into not taking action against it.

Or it is because the BMD realizes that it has limited prospects of success in the matter and, therefore, fears the embarrassment that losing the case can bring it as a party and Advocate Pilane personally? It would be remembered that at some point the media portrayed the UDC/BMD fracas as the battle of the advocates- UDC president, Advocate Honourable Duma Boko, and BMD president, Advocate Pilane.

Surely, none of them would want to lose such a potentially historic case, lest their reputation as Advocates of note be irretrievably tainted. Advocate Pilane, for instance, has been praised by his National Executive Committee (NEC) members, including Secretary General, Honourable Gilbert Mangole, as an Advocate of impeccable record. How then he risk it at this potentially historic moment?

Advocate Honourable Boko, on the other hand, has, following the Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve (CKGR) case in which he was part of the team defending Basarwa against forcible relocation by Government, built a reputation as a Human Rights attorney. Or it is because, for strategic reasons, the BMD wants to commence the proceedings in early 2019 so that the matter drags through the courts in 2019, something which would adversely affect the UDC’s campaigns.

In my view, realizing that it is likely to lose the court battle, some in the BMD leadership may choose to hurt the UDC by using the uncertainty caused by the envisaged court action to minimize its prospects of success in 2019. But, what benefit will this be for the BMD? In the first place, in the event of an ensuing court case, the BMD will, just like the UDC, be adversely affected politically. The only beneficiary of such a protracted legal battle will be the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).

Can the BMD be so incensed by the UDC that it can orchestrate a plan that would effectively see the BDP, its supposed real nemesis, retain state power in 2019? What Opposition party, especially which defected from the very ruling party, can do that? Would that not bring credence to the theories that have been making the rounds that some in the BMD leadership, including Advocate Pilane himself, are emissaries of the BDP who have been planted to destroy the Opposition project?   

The UDC’s decision not to expel BMD Council candidates, allowing them to represent the UDC in 2019, may also have thrown the spanners into the works for the BMD, thereby causing it a dilemma in dealing with the UDC. This was a political master stroke by the UDC. It was political curve ball which, if the BMD did not handle with care, was likely to sow seeds of division within the BMD, especially if it were to expel the concerned Council candidates for abiding by the UDC’s decision.

Prior to its expulsion, especially during its suspension, the BMD had enhanced its campaigns. It was all over-in freedom squares, bus ranks, etc. Its publicity functionaries had almost monopolized the air waves. But, following its expulsion it remained in the public space for only about a week. Thereafter it, for all intents and purposes, disappeared, not so much into political oblivion, but into conspicuous absence and silence.
 

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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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