Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Covid-19 should not become a cover for further delays in long promised constitutional reforms

President Mokgweetsi Masisi won last year’s election against the backdrop of promises of Constitutional reforms that he made on the campaign trail.

Those promisers are long overdue.

People have long clamoured for the kind of promises he made.

In other words he did not create those.

Rather he agreed to demands.

It looks like Covid-19 pandemic has put brakes on many things, not least the economy.

And while covid19 should only be a temporary setback, in the long term that agenda should survive and in fact move full steam post covid-19.

The planned reforms if undertaken are needed to consolidate our democratic dividends and make every Motswana realise that they matter and are indeed a part of the republic.

Democracy, like the founding president once said is a tree that needs to be forever nurtured.

We are at a moment in our democracy where a growing number of people feel that the constitution was coined deliberately to exclude them.

That might not be so. But an argument of national unity has run its course.

National unity should not be a price paid by excluding other people.

There should be unity in diversity.

There can be no unity when other people are so comprehensively excluded.

The issue of mother tongue deserves to be should be taken more seriously than is currently the case.

Early fears by some of the founders or the expatriates who drafted the constitution for them should not be allowed any longer.

Botswana constitution should reflect modernity in its recognition and protection of individual rights against those of the state.

Parliament should be more empowered.

The current Separation of Powers is nothing but a lunacy.

Like the media, the judiciary still lacks water-tight controls, starting at hiring stages all the way to operational efficacies and even ethics.

The issues of freedom of the media cannot be forever remain as old generation rights as is currently the case.

They need to be engendered.

Government should stop behaving like empowering and accepting the media is part of its patronage that it dispenses to political lackeys.

Media freedom is not a gift or favour from government.

It is a universally accepted right.

There is absolutely no reason why communities in the in the middle of Kgalagadi, in Maitengwe, in Mohembo, in Bobirwa, in Tswapong and in other places cannot be allowed to start community radio stations that use their own languages.

The original disparities had subtle tribal superiority undertones even at conception.

With time the noise has grown much more deafening and even impossible to deny.

Allowing such radio stations will only enrich Botswana’s democracy.

It is still too early to discern which electoral promises were made genuinely.

But there is no doubt that a majority of people believed Masisi and took his word for it.

For him there is a price to pay for not keeping promises made.

Post the pandemic, everything should be done to put on track all steps towards taking this country ahead.

There is no doubt that a lot has to happen economically. But for a majority of people, economics should be part and parcel of their dignity.

People have to feel they belong for them to willingly give patriotism.

Yet for some outlandish theory, Botswana government is denying these communities an opportunity to celebrate and also preserve their culture.

Forcing them to use alien languages because that is for government a way of fostering national unity and also democracy is akin to Nazism

How strange!

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