The 2015 Global Peace Index released recently has ranked Botswana among the world’s most peaceful nations.
┬áFrom the onset there is at least one thing on which all of us need to agree on which is the impeccable integrity of the Institute for economics and Peace which produces the index.
Many a times as Batswana we have sought to differ on the integrity of organizations that from time to time produce similar or related ranking.
One such organization is Transparency International.
As Batswana we should apply the same rules when we evaluate these organisations.
One such rule is to scrutinize the players behind these organizations and also the motives for their existence.
As an aside, the credit rating agencies have recently come under increased scrutiny in the West, chiefly for their bias but also for being infiltrated by ulterior motives. And as Batswana we should be careful not to swallow their observations line, hook and sinker without questioning them.
Back to the GPI, Botswana has been ranked 31 out of 162 countries.
According to information of office of the president, this is up five places from last year.
In Africa, Botswana has only been beaten by Mauritius, which by the way has dominated almost all the African rankings and indices over the last 20 years.
If as Botswana we really want to gauge and monitor our progress, Mauritius, not Zimbabwe is the country we need to constantly make reference to.
But that is a matter for another matter.
The achievement contained in the GPI really should unite us all as Batswana.
The peace that we are being praised for through this rankings has been achieved not on the exclusive efforts of anyone person or anyone political party. It is a result of collective efforts for which we have strenuously labored as a country and also as a people. The temptation is always to try and politicize it and become partisan in its acknowledgement. The upshot of it is to divide ourselves as a country and people. That is unfortunate in that it takes away a priceless opportunity to celebrate that which has for many years remained elusive to many countries; peace.
In Botswana we take peace for granted because it is the only thing we have grown to know as a people.
In other countries generations have come and gone without ever living through a day of peace.
In many African countries citizens are displaced internally as a result of the ravaging wars.
In yet more countries, we see citizens crossing their borders and literally risking their lives as they flee from lack of peace in their own countries.
As Batswana this must teach us not to take our peace for granted.
We must guard it jealously and also work at nurturing it, including exporting it to other countries by way of mediating where it does not exist and also, resources allowing sending our troops.
We call on our authorities to use the peace to create second tier rights and opportunities for our people.
Peace by its nature brings with it prosperity.
Peace by its nature allows for individuals to realize not just their dignity but also their full potential.
These acknowledgements from the world, instead of serving to polarize us by creating atmospheres of triumph for some of us should bolster us to achieve more especially economically.
Countries that are prosperous economically seldom resort to civil wars. Countries that are inclusive economically seldom breed adherents of terrorism.
This is mainly because when the country prospers and nobody is left behind, everybody feels that they have a lot to lose in the event of war. Thus to resolve any differences everybody resorts to peaceful negotiations because in that instance it is a win-win.