If this article is published this week, Sunday, the 26th of November 2017; we can calculate the days until the penultimate political personage and president-designate will ascend to the post of head of state of the Republic of Botswana and the nation’s supreme public servant. Surprised by certain terminology?
As part of the Botswana Defence Force high command, Major General Pius Mokgware had to assist the effort of maintaining friendly relations with military leaders of neighbouring states.
“We will explore and actively undertake as necessary and advisable the production of medical marijuana as well as industrial hemp to harness the unique potential offered by these enterprises,” said the Leader of the Opposition, Duma Boko, in his response to President Ian Khama’s state-of-the-nation address.
The national lottery may be months, possibly years away but for now you can bet that MPs will be harping on “fighter jets” – or variations thereof during the current session of parliament. The government has announced plans to acquire jet fighters at a cost of P5 billion but the opposition is vehemently opposed to such plans because they feel that there are more pressing problems.
Addressing a political rally in Maun, Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi whetted his audience’s appetite with his own announcement that the state-of-the-nation address contains goodies. One is supposed to be a durable plan, wrapped in a set of new economic initiatives, to tackle unemployment. The historical record provides no incentive to wait for the Monday announcement with bated breath.
If there are any rules about what makes a real social activist, Talita Monnakgotla ticks all the important boxes. The eccentric “&T” in the husband and wife AT&T Monnakgotla business empire may not be your placard waving, slogan chanting ruble-rouser, but she is a significant force in the fight against abasement, poverty and illiteracy among Bakgalagadi.
By any Global South standard, the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) is a very progressive party with a policy platform that compares favourably with some of the best on the continent. However, some of its mid-level leaders don’t always do good cultural relations and their missteps have attracted extremely bad press.
Distrustful of the villainous “Bantu”, a member of the British House of Lords didn’t think it was a good idea to give Botswana independence before extracting cast-iron guarantees from the country’s future leaders about the welfare of the downtrodden Bushmen.
Granted, the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions’ Democracy and Constitutional Reform Conference at Oasis Motel was not Australia’s Festival of Dangerous Ideas at the Sydney Opera House.
It’s a long way from when chairmen presided over meetings, firemen attended to burning buildings, policemen enforced the law, and the average citizen all politicians claimed to be concerned about was the man in the street.
Increasingly nowadays, patients at government health facilities are having to buy their own medication because it is not available at such facilities.
A week after Sunday Standard’s revelations that the Botswana Police Service is literally gearing itself up for possible election violence in the 2019 general election, it has emerged that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is, likewise, not leaving anything to chance.
A tall, bouncy grey-haired old man with a strikingly high bout of self-confidence walks to meet us as our car pulls off.
He has been waiting for a while. And his impatience shows as he takes me by the hand.
“Let’s go and sit that side monna Spencer,” he says even before we can exchange any pleasantries. The scene is a pizzeria outlet by the corner of the mall.
With as much energy as President Festus Mogae spent fighting HIV/AIDS, as much money as the United States pours into HIV/AIDS programmes and as much airtime as that single HIV-free-generation advert gets on Btv, Botswana should be doing very well in the fight against this disease. It is not. A US State Department report shows that Botswana is not doing as well as two of its neighbours.
When I sit down to ask the Vice chancellor of BIUST what the institution has so far achieved towards becoming a key player in the country’s overall economy, my host chooses without any second thoughts to take me by the hand along what in the end manifests as the overarching strategy of the university.
Two weeks later, when tempers and heads have supposedly cooled, it is worth reflecting on what Kgosi Malope of the Bangwaketse and one of his subordinate traditional leaders were really fighting about.
In becoming a republic on September 30, 1966, Botswana accorded equal rights to all its citizens. In exercising such rights on September 2, 2017, Kgosi Kebinatshwene Mosielele of the Bahurutshe was ceremonially garbed in a leopard skin at a ceremony in Manyana. Only there was one thing wrong with this ceremony.
What does it say about the legal profession when someone without formal university training can practice as a lawyer?
A Botswana Democratic Party councillor in the Central District Council will tomorrow go toe to toe with a former Director of the National Museum and Art Gallery over contents of a letter that the latter wrote to the Council Secretary.
The upside is that the new Tribal Land Act will make land in rural areas more valuable than it currently is. That upside will be a downside for the government which will have to pay much more than it currently does in order to acquire land for infrastructural development projects.