Connect with us
Advertisement

Is Masisi using state agencies and functionaries to fight political battles?

NDULAMO ANTHONY MORIMA
EAGLE WATCH

In any state where the rule of law reigns supreme, there is separation between the ruling party and the government. Consequently, no government functionary, including the political leadership, uses the state or state agencies to perpetuate the ruling party’s interests or to fight political battles. It is needless to say that one of the reasons why Botswana has gained international acclaim as a beacon of democracy is that there has, since independence, been a clear separation between the ruling party and the state.

I do not remember there being issues about former Presidents Sir Ketumile Masire and Festus Mogae using state agencies and functionaries to fight political battles. On the contrary, during Lietenant General Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama’s era things changed, with the Directorate on Public Service Management (DPSM) and Permanent Secretaries to the President (PSPs), Eric Molale and Carter Morupisi, being used to fight the battles between government and the Botswana Federation of Public Service Unions (BOFEPUSU) which was believed to be sympathetic to the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).

Of course, our founding president, the late Sir Seretse Khama, departed when I was still too young to know about political battles, but I have not heard any insinuations that he used state agencies and functionaries to fight political battles. However, since His Excellency the President, Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, assumed office, there has been suggestions that he is using state agencies and functionaries to fight political battles.

These suggestions gained momentum especially in view of the way H.E Dr. Masisi is perceived to have reacted to the challenge by Dr. Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi for Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)’s presidency. The truth is yet to be known, but rumours that the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) are after Honourable Sampson Guma Moyo have left some wondering whether Hon. Guma Moyo is being punished for supporting Dr. Venson-Motoi in her challenge against H.E Dr. Masisi.

Today, about three months since he left the country, allegedly for South Africa, Hon. Guma Moyo is still in self-imposed exile, reportedly for fear of unwarranted arrest and persecution by the DISS. The dramatic arrest of the former Director General of the Directorate on Intelligence & Security Services (DISS), Colonel Isaac Kgosi, a close confidant of Dr. Khama, by the DISS at the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport upon arrival from a foreign trip also left tongues wagging, especially that no charge on corruption, for instance, as was anticipated, has, to date, been levied against him.

As we know, Col. Kgosi was later charged with two unanticipated counts of disclosing the identity of DISS agents, a matter that is still pending before the courts and, therefore, cannot be commented further on since it is sub judicie. Dr. Khama has allegedly had his own share of persecution by state agencies and functionaries, allegedly at the instruction of his protégé tuned nemesis, H.E Dr. Masisi.

Reportedly, the PSP, Carter Morupisi, has, without consultation with Dr. Khama, removed staff assigned to him as former president, a matter that was serious enough to warrant legal action by Dr. Khama, but was reportedly settled out of court and the Office of the President(OP) retracted its action. Despite being entitled to travel by air, Morupisi at one time reportedly denied Dr. Khama such privilege in what the latter believed were unwarranted circumstances. This also led to threat of legal action, and the matter was also reportedly settled out of court when Dr. Khama was reimbursed of the expenses he incurred when he chartered a private plane for the trip.

Then there was Dr. Khama’s visit to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama, a trip which government opposed and when Dr. Khama travelled nonetheless he was denied the attendant diplomatic protocol to which he is entitled as former president. Reportedly, in a swiftness uncommon of government, the security personnel who accompanied him were later subjected to a disciplinary process, which many regard as unwarranted because the officers, who are assigned to Dr. Khama, were merely performing their duty.

In an unprecedented step, Morupisi has issued press releases and addressed press conferences during which he used language against Dr. Khama which is unexpected of a civil servant towards a former president. Through those press releases and press conferences, it was clear that Morupisi knows he has the full backing of H.E Dr. Masisi. Indeed, it appears he has because H.E Dr. Masisi has not reprimanded him even for saying “Khama is a waste of time”, an utterance which is, at the very least, discourteous, but is, in my view, contemptuous, especially when uttered against a former president.

Of late, it appears H.E Dr. Masisi is preparing to have his government table an amendment to the President's (Pensions and Retirement) Act to clip Khama’s wings by removing the benefit of travelling by air. It also seems the Act will be amended by repealing or amending the provision that allows former presidents to work. It appears that contrary to known legal principles, the amendments may be made with retroactive effect so that they affect Dr. Khama. Of course, if this happens, it will be challenged in the courts.

Many believe that the reason H.E Dr. Masisi wants to clip Dr. Khama’s wings is that he wants to avoid a situation where he will fly around the country campaigning for the Opposition and the newly formed Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) which is associated with Dr. Khama and Dr. Venson-Moitoi. They also believe that the intended prohibition to work is to avoid a situation where Dr. Khama will be effectively active in politics, but for the benefit of the Opposition, especially the BPF as well as launching the parliamentary candidates which he says he wants to see replace some BDP candidates.

In my view, there is credence to these views because before their relationship soured, H.E Dr. Masisi had no issue with Dr. Khama flying aeroplanes and political activism. In fact, at one point the BDP announced that Dr. Khama was going to be the face of its 2019 campaigns after his retirement as state president. Just this week, the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) commander, Lietenant General Placid Segokgo, issued a notice through which he indicated that Dr. Khama will no longer be allowed access to the BDF’s obstacle course at Sir Seretse Khama Barracks in Mogoditshane and the firing ranges and Animal Park since he is a retired soldier.

It is about twenty years since Dr. Khama retired from the BDF. The question is: why is this decision being made now? How can people not link the decision with the political fights between Dr. Khama and H.E Dr. Masisi? Therefore, while the decision may be justified since Dr. Khama is now a civilian, it raises suspicion that it was made following a directive from H.E Dr. Masisi.  You would also recall that in March this year, the BDF did not invite Dr. Khama to the commemoration of the Fallen Heroes held at the Three Chiefs Monument despite the fact that all Former Commanders were invited.

The BDF’s Director of Protocol and Public Affairs, Colonel Tebo Dikole,  justified that by stating that Dr. Khama was not invited because his designation as Former President precedes that of Former Commander. A convenient answer indeed, some would argue. In view of the aforegoing, it is difficult not to conclude that H.E Dr. Masisi is using state agencies and functionaries to fight his own political battles.

Of course, this is not to say that people who are suspected of committing crimes should not be charged, but justice should be the blind lady that she is.It cannot be that within the BDP, for instance, only those aligned to Dr. Khama and Dr. Venson-Moitoi have committed crimes. Such a coincidence is simply not fathomable.      

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!