Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Kgathi’s Press Release: a clear sign of bodela

Shaw Kgathi is Chairperson of BDP’s Publicity Sub Committee. He is a member of parliament for Bobirwa and he is a Mmirwa. In the Bobirwa area, when someone acts dumb, or stupid to be precise, they label such a person a ledela and refer to his actions as bodela. Shaw Kgathi and his Publicity Sub Committee have never, as far as I’m concerned, issued a meaningful or substantive press statement worth the money their party spends on advertising space bought to flight Kgathi’s statements.

When I saw a BDP Press Release signed by Kgathi in the newspapers last week, at first I was not so keen to read what Kgathi had to say this time around because I knew, just like all press releases issued by his committee before, he would be defending the indefensible. I only read the press statement because nowadays you can never know what the BDP has to tell the nation. Are they telling us that Ian Khama is now life president? Or Ian Khama has decided to step down and hand over the presidency to his brother. The press release could be alerting us of the increase in alcohol levy or a clamp down on opposition parties. So, ignore BDP press statements at your peril.

In his latest press release, Shaw Kgathi, in his capacity as BDP’s Publicity Sub Committee Chairperson, is on the rampage attacking the leaders of opposition parties for addressing the striking public officers. First of all, Kgathi writes in his capacity as BDP spokesperson and as such I don’t understand what gives him the adrenalin to believe he is the only politician best suited to address the plight of workers. Before I go further to expose Kgathi’s bodela, I wish to state that I do not write on behalf of those opposition leaders attacked by Kgathi. I comment on Kgathi’s statement as a consumer. He issued the press release to newspapers and this goes to show his message was not only intended for consumption by Duma Boko, Dumelang Saleshando and Gomolemo Motswaledi. It was meant for everyone who has access to the newspapers and I happen to be one of the many who religiously and extensively read local newspapers.

Kgathi says, “We observe that when we are dealing with a labour issue the opposition by interfering for misguided political gain is jeopardizing Unions chances at the negotiation table by politicizing the issue.” Here Kgathi spices his bodela with some arrogance. It is pure bodela to expect opposition political parties to fold their arms and not try to make some political gain out of the impasse between BDP government and public officers. It is also a clear sign of arrogance on the part of Kgathi and his BDP to boast that they will make the Unions suffer at the negotiation table just because opposition parties have decided to support the strike. It borders on bodela for Kgathi and his government to believe they are doing the Unions or the workers a favour when they negotiate with them.

Kgathi says, “We would ordinarily not comment on a labour matter, which is subject of negotiations.” When he says ‘we’ I want to believe Kgathi refers to the BDP. What surprises me though is, the BDP President Ian Khama is gallivanting around the country talking about the same labour matter, which supposedly is subject of negotiations. I wonder, is Khama not part of Kgathi’s ‘we’? Kgathi further says they in the BDP believe nothing in the world can replace dialogue. What Kgathi should know is, Batswana have been fooled enough into buying the notion that dialogue is the best remedy to all disagreements and now they know the best remedy to deal with an arrogant government. We all remember how for more than a decade, Kgathi’s government fooled the nation and the world into believing they were in negotiations with the Basarwa and how they told Survival International to back off. In the end, and because of survival international, this heartless government had to be forced to allow Basarwa to draw water in the CKGR. I can only hope opposition parties won’t be intimidated by Kgathi’s rumblings and continue to support any course of action taken by any organization or individuals for as long as their conscience and counsel gives them the green light to support any of such occasions as the current strike. Kgathi’s government denied Basarwa water with the stupid thinking that they were punishing Survival International. It is now clear Kgathi’s government is punishing the workers out of the same silly mentality. They think by refusing to increase the workers’ salaries, they are punishing opposition parties.

Kgathi should know that he is no wiser than the three young men at the helm of opposition parties and for him to try and dictate to them how they should handle the workers’ strike is an insult to their intellect. Kgathi’s president at the BDP refuses to meet the leaders of opposition and hear what they have to say about the strike and so the only plausible way to reach out to Khama is through taking to the podium at strikes because there you can rest assured Kgathi and his team, which includes DIS agents, will take the message and possibly pass it to Khama. Kgathi says, “We therefore urge the opposition to allow workers to exercise their rights as prescribed by law, and be left alone to bargain with Government.” Kgathi should ask the BDP lawyer and he will be embarrassed to know that opposition leaders too are exercising their rights as prescribed by law.

Kgathi claims to know better on issues that led to uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. Let me remind Kgathi that the issues need not be of the same nature to have the same uprisings here. Any arrogant government risks being forced out of power and we do not want to see our leaders’ under clothes (remember Gbagbo?) as they are sniffed out of their bunkers.

Still from last week’s newspapers, I came across an editorial comment that was similarly full of bodela. Does Kgathi have a twin at Guardian newspaper? The newspaper’s editorial comment shocked me. I hope the BMD will respond to the vitriolic criticism from the newspaper on their just ended congress. Whoever was behind the editor’s desk of the Guardian newspaper last week was either too lazy or very crazy. I attended the BMD congress and can bear testimony to the fact that all positions in the NEC were open for contest by all BMD members. I don’t understand why Guardian newspaper should blame the party for what they term lack of intra-party democracy.BDP might have forced Khama to join politics but should we expect the BMD to force people to stand for positions when they don’t want to or when they feel other people are best suited for such positions? What baffles me is, after criticizing the BMD for having unopposed candidates, the Guardian newspaper goes on to condemn and attack Sidney Pilane for standing against Gomolemo Motswaledi. I find the Guardian comment to be contradictive and without substance. That is my personal view as an avid reader of local newspapers.

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