Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Our Independence and the Dynamics of our Democracy: BTU

Once again the sun will rise to a standing ovation on September 30th this year as Batswana the country over celebrate the fruits of independence and the freedom that has reigned in the country since 1966.

At such a historic moment we will be naïve as a nation if we could not salute all those who played a vital role in crafting the road to independence and sustaining the socio-economic and political fiber of our country from grassroots to where we are today. The road was never easy and it will never be easy because the process of building a democracy is hectic, cumbersome and at times frustrating.

In the midst of all that, Botswana Teachers Union would like to put it on record that as a nation we can stand together today and look back at our achievements and face the challenges and frustrations of the future with confidence and the hope that we shall overcome.

In unity lies our strength even during times of trouble especially when our emotions lead us to despair and anger. Our commitment to building a greater democracy as a nation always motivates and inspires us to raise our heads above our shoulders and look ahead with the hope and the spirit that we shall liberate ourselves and turn a page in history for the betterment of our country and our precious generations to come. We have come a long way as a nation-there are great things to celebrate and many more to mourn and frown at especially looking at our socio-economic and political status today.

As we remain devoted to the philosophy of Kagisano as a nation, we believe that this is our time to put our heads together and work on building young and vibrant new generation of leaders who can take Botswana to the promised land of political glory. BTU is optimistic that Botswana can continue nurturing a culture of socio-economic and political progressivism. We have come a long way and the tunnel to the future continues to sparkle with a glittering light of hope. However, as we observe this Independence Day, let us reflect and ponder over the following socio-economic and political dynamics which if not taken into consideration may jeopardize the future of our democracy:

ÔÇó Crime: BTU is worried about the current state of affairs of our streets, corridors and even our homes. Crime is rising and in the past few months we have experienced painful moments when some citizens lost their lives at the hands of thugs. It is our prayer that both the Police Service and the Defence Force will be given the due support by availing resources which can help them overcome the monster called crime in our country. Any loss of life at the hands of thugs is regrettable and our prayer is that the powers that be will rise to the test of time and do all in their powers to combat crime in our democracy.

ÔÇó Corruption: Many nations have collapsed due to the thickening of the muscle of corruption in both the economic, social and political fabric. Corruption of all forms in this country should be quashed and once again we at BTU subscribe to the notion that the state should rise with confidence to suffocate corruption from all frontiers.

ÔÇó Land: Of late our media especially the radio and newspapers have being characterized by a common plea regarding the availing of land to citizens so as to develop and emancipate themselves in all structures of life. Apparently our policies on land have been so lax to the degree that land in this country either ends up falling in the hands of the┬á few or either gets grabbed by foreigners who have explored the weaknesses of our operations. Historically land in Africa has triggered havoc in many countries and we┬á┬á in Botswana should be careful not to find ourselves in the same situation. We ought to protect our land and ascertain that it is equitably distributed despite ones’ position is society. We can do better on that as a democracy.

ÔÇó Unemployment: In one of our articles by our Treasurer, Mcedisi Rodger Solomon, about a week ago, we aired our sentiments pertaining to the fact that we ought to move away from bookish education and advance a pragmatic oriented education system that will make Botswana citizens compete well in the global fraternity. The fact that a lot of our graduates today cannot make ends meet on their own soon after graduating is disheartening and troubling. We ought to revisit the nature┬á┬á of our education system and focus on developing an empowering and liberating education which will enable and energize our graduates to create jobs for themselves. Our education should be geared towards self-reliance as outlined in a historic National Commission of Education (Education for Kagisano). We are still far from attaining the goals of the commission and it is high time that we revisit our ways of doing and focus more on pragmatism and progressivism so as to conquer unemployment.

ÔÇó National Economy: Botswana Meat Commission (BMC), amongst other sectors, has played a key role in the development and prosperity of our nation from time immemorial. However, the current developments regarding BMC are a serious eyesore and as a nation we cannot fold our arms and gaze at BMC falling apart. Something is horribly wrong at BMC and whilst we appreciate the efforts that have been taken by the state to address the bizarre anomalies at the commission, we would like to call upon the government to act with the most possible degree of expediency on this matter. The collapse of BMC will truly be a devastating calamity in our country.

ÔÇó Education: Issues surrounding education have now turned into some kind of a repetitive and permanent condition. We have had a chain of meetings with the stakeholders and those in positions of power but from the look of things the cloud is getting darker and the quality of our education is becoming a mockery of some kind. Welfare issues have been echoed time and again. It is an open secret that the morale of teachers in this country has gone down due to the poor conditions of service which appear never to be getting better. If truly education is a factor in developing our citizenry in this democracy, then certainly we ought to prioritize and arm teachers with resources and any other ammunition which will make the teaching-learning process enjoyable. We cannot continue with the current state of affairs, welfare issues ought to be resolved once and for all so that we can focus on other agenda issues. Please let us do justice to our education system by listening to the pleas of teachers.
 
Finally, Botswana is our motherland. It is the only land we have as a nation and BTU would like to call upon the nation to continue building our democracy with love and passion despite the current challenging dynamics. It is normal as a people to have differences once in a while, but our differences should not breed any seeds of hatred amongst us. We are a diverse nation and as such we truly have to respect our diversity. As the USA President Barack Obama has observed, “Our individual salvation depends on collective salvation.” BTU believes that the future of Botswana lies in our hands and together in solidarity, peace and tranquillity we can become a shining example of a democracy.
 
HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY BATSWANA!!
 
*Ibo Nana Kenosi is the Secretary General of Botswana Teachers’ Union (BTU)

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