Connect with us
Advertisement

The Masisi euphoria should not become a nightmare!

Ndulamo Anthony Morima

EAGLE WATCH

No doubt, the ascendance of His Excellency the President, Dr. Mokgweetsi Keabetswe Eric Masisi, to the high office of President brought euphoria to many of our people.

In my view, such elation was expected, especially following the ten years of former President Lieutenant General Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama’s tenure which many describe as the worst in Botswana’s political history. But, it ought to be remembered that when Dr. Khama himself assumed the presidency Batswana were excited. Many saw him as the Messiah who was going to solve all their problems.

Then, you could not dare criticise him. He was regarded as Rraetsho who was almost infallible. Put simply, he was a demi-God; the best thing that had happened to Batswana, at least since the passing of his father, the founding president of Botswana, Sir Seretse Khama. Of course Dr. Khama’s predecessor, Festus Mogae, was no dictator, but he was largely regarded as a dispassionate leader who ruled according to the book. He lacked charisma. He was a black letter president, if you like.  

In neighbouring South Africa, the ascendance of Cyril Ramaphosa to the Presidency, in 2018, brought about what has come to be known as Ramaphoria. This followed the about nine years of former President Jacob Zuma’s reign which many, including those who served in his cabinet, describe as the darkest age of South Africa’s political history post-1994. But, it also ought to be remembered that when Zuma assumed the presidency South Africans were excited. Many saw him as the Messiah who was going to solve all their problems. He pacified the people through liberations songs.

This followed the reign of Thabo Mbeki who, just like Mogae, was regarded as dispassionate and detached from the common man. On the contrary, Zuma, just like Dr. Khama, was a populist. In neighbouring Zimbabwe, there were scenes of jubilation when long-time dictator former President, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, was disposed by the military and replaced by Emerson Mnangagwa whom he had fired as his deputy.

Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s liberation hero, had himself risen to a demi-God status not only in his country, Zimbabwe, but also in Africa and Latin America mainly because of his land redistribution policy and resistance to white domination.  Though Mnangagwa’s ascendance to the presidency did not give rise to the same euphoria that Mugabe, Masisi and Ramaphosa brought it nonetheless brought a glimmer of hope that living conditions would change for the better.

But before even three months could lapse the spirits of Zimbabweans have been dampened. First, was the brutal treatment of civilians by members of the security forces which resulted in loss of lives following the post-election protests waged by supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) who believed that their leader, Nelson Chamisa, had been robbed of electoral victory.

Second, was the careless manner in which the Zimbabwean government responded to the strike by junior medical doctors, the result of which were sympathy strikes by senior doctors and teachers. Third, is the brutal treatment of civilians by members of the security forces which has also resulted in loss of lives following the protests motivated by the unprecedented increase, of about 150%, in fuel prices by president Mnangagwa.

It is common knowledge that the Mugabephoria turned into a nightmare when he, over the years, turned on his own people during the Gukurahondo massacre, operation Mrambatswina, and the failed land redistribution programme which brought untold suffering to his people.
The Zumaphoria also turned into a nightmare when he abused his people’s admiration and got involved in acts of corruption which saw the near collapse of state institutions, especially in the security cluster.

It was during Zuma’s tenure that the South African state suffered the capture of its institutions, mainly by the Gupta brothers, the result being a debilitating decline of its economy and general degradation of its polity. One hopes that Dr. Masisi uses the euphoria surrounding his presidency for the betterment of our people’s lives and not to create a personality cult of himself. My greatest fear is that just like during Dr. Khama’s euphoria years our nation is becoming polarised.

Even more troubling is the fact that he is fact turning into a personality cult. There are those who would die for Dr. Masisi and those who would rather die than support Dr. Masisi. This should not be the case for one of the cardinal duties of a president is to unify his people, not around himself as a person, but around the country’s ideals and values and in pursuit of the country’s vision.

Just recently, I came across a Face Book post through which the author made a claim that Dr. Masisi has been appointed by God to be our president. Expectedly, the post elicited a heated debate, with his detractors arguing that it is heresy to make such a supposition since Dr. Masisi was appointed by a man, Dr. Khama, and not God.

Naturally, when one is still new in office many people want to align with him, not necessarily because they like or believe in him, but because they want to benefit from his patronage and favour. This is the most dangerous stage in every leader’s life cycle for he or she is likely to serve certain interests and agendas and forget to serve the nation. It is during this time that such people or interests present only themselves as virtuous and the rest as villains.

It is during such a time that some people can take advantage of the president’s favour and use state institutions to settle personal scores or to gain socio-economic and political mileage. Now that the dust is beginning to settle, H.E Dr. Masisi has to, for instance, look at the saga surrounding the recent arrest of the former Director General of the Directorate on Intelligence and Security Services (DISS), Colonel Isaac Kgosi.

He has to ask questions. Was the arrest in the public interest or it was a way of settling personal scores? Is the DISS truly a reformed institution or it is the same old institution that had become a menace to our people? He has to introspect on the impact the race for the presidency of his party, the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), is likely to have on national unity. He has to be careful not to be used by some for political expediency at the expense of nation building.

After all, when all is said and done it is him who has the responsibility to unite us as a nation. Such responsibility does not lie with his party’s functionaries nor does it lie with his campaign team. It rests with him and him alone. It is him who, as state president, has the responsibility to bring finality to the stand-off between him and Dr. Khama, lest others, who masquerade as his cheer leaders, exploit the stand-off for their own self-preservation and advancement.

Were most of these cheer leaders not Dr. Khama’s cheer leaders when he was still in office? Have they not abandoned him? Won’t they abandon Dr. Masisi after he ceases to be state president because he will no longer be useful to them? It is inarguable that Dr. Masisi has, during the short time that he has been president, done many things that give hope to our people. But, he ought to be careful that the euphoria that came with his presidency does not end up as a nightmare as it happened with Dr. Khama, Jacob Zuma and Robert Mugabe.

Continue Reading

Columns

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.

Continue Reading

Columns

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.

Continue Reading

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.

This content is locked

Login To Unlock The Content!

Continue Reading
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!