Sunday, September 27, 2020

Response to Bashi Mothusi

In his column Realpolitik, The Telegraph newspaper of February 8, 2012 Bashi Mothusi headlines his article, “Michael Dingake misdirected himself.” In response to Bashi Mothusi I wish to look at the following:

1) The meaning of the word misdirect(ed). I consulted my Collier’s Dictionary for the meaning of the word. The dictionary gives the meaning as: ‘to direct wrongly or badly; to address (a letter) incorrectly; to give incorrect instructions….’ Unhelpful. I tried the PLAIN ENGLISH DICTIONARY and it says:”If you say someone’s energies are misdirected, you mean they are used wrongly or inappropriately. (I re-read both DR Bashi Mothusi’s article and my response to it and failed to see where I might have misdirected myself) Similarly, public money or other resources can be misdirected……If something is misdirected, it is sent to a wrong place.” Irrelevant. After all the effort to understand the heading of Dr Bashi Mothusi I read his article to get the hang of where and how I might have done all that misdirection.

2) Dr Bashi Mothusi is inspired by my age to write and engage in political debates. Why? Why does Bashi Mothusi find inspiration to participate in political debates because rre Dingake, a grandfather is still at it? Does it imply granddads seldom or never participate in political debates according to him, or could it be an insinuation that those granddads, like me who participate in political debates must lay off because political debates are not for them? I know there is a school of thought that teach absurd puerile theory that politics is for the youth? If they had their way they would banish oldies from politics and political debates. But why then do we find the youth not turning up to vote, why are the youth afflicted by voter apathy? Why do they admire and behave like Julius ‘Juju’ Malema, pretending to have ALL the political answers to all political questions or his friend Kagiso Ntime who swings like a pendulum from one extreme point of the political spectrum to another as a result of political frustration? Why does Bashi Mothusi’s response refer at all to my age? He brings back this question of age in connection with the ages of the parties. He implies that I regard the older parties as more relevant politically than the newer party(ies). Why is he so obsessed with age in {wo)man and organization? Is he misdirected? I never wrote that. Kindly show where are say that, rre Bashi Mothusi? I challenge Mothusi or any other person to show how BMD would have a better chance of winning the constituencies which were marginalized by BCP or BNF contest in the previous general elections: I make the argument:

“I am aware Mothusi is contemptuous of the alleged claims by BNF and BCP on entitlement to certain constituencies by virtue of their share of the popular vote in those seats. Such quibble is misplaced. Some constituencies are marginal in the light of these parties 2009 documented popular support The parties (BCP and BNF) have a better chance of winning such seats, than the BMD, unless someone can tell us the previous winner, the BDP is interchangeable with the BMD….”
The BDP won these seats that are now marginal as a result of previous BNF/BCP contestation, does Mothusi or anyone believe the BMD has a better chance of winning these than either the BNF or the BCP? Why? Because Domkrag won the seats and former Domkrag members now BMD, are replicates? These are questions to be answered.

3) Obviously Bashi Mothusi knows me, probably he has read about me somewhere. Unfortunately I have not read of him anywhere and I am at a disadvantage and constrained to write more intimately and personally about him. I don’t know him from Adam. To write that I am ‘economical with the truth’ without substantiating why I would be lying, for ‘economical with the truth’ is a polite way of saying someone is lying, or without laying his educated finger precisely where the lie is, is taking the sort of liberty that one takes with a playmate! Did I lie by saying BMD did not compromise when other parties compromised? He implies that I should have indicated other reasons why there was collapse. Nobody asked me and my article did not purport to advance any reasons why the negotiations deadlocked. My article was from a different angle altogether. If he wants me to advance all reasons why the umbrella talks collapsed, I shall oblige with alacrity, pleasure, honesty and vigour and hope he shall apologise for branding me a liar.

4) My gripe with Bashi Mothusi was that he failed to provide facts on the specific statement in the article I was responding to, where he states: “….The BMD is not led by political lightweights. It is led by intelligent political schemers who know how political battles are fought and won…..” My spontaneous reaction was ,”With all due respect, what political battles has the BMD fought and won in their brief 18 months?” Quiet honestly I found Bashi Mothusi’s statement intriguing and I sincerely wanted to know. Instead of answering this straight question, Bashi Mothusi veers off into circumlocutory expedition mentioning names: Botsalo Ntuane, Odirile Motlhale Gomolemo Motswaledi, Nehemiah Modubule, Kentse Rammidi, in their previous political involvement: student politics, political parties’ structures they defected from. Were they lightweights? I had not been interested in individuals, but the party called the BMD! In its 18 months, what battles did it fight and win? Schemers the leaders may be, we know even big schemers like GW Bush of the US lose elections, only to re-win them by roundabout ways of ‘loaded’ courts of law!

5) In his defensive response where he becomes a spokesperson of others (he uses the word ‘us’ instead of I) he goes on to refer to and denigrates selected members of the BCP: Taolo Lucas, Habaudi Hobona, Dr Kesitegile Gobotswang, Vain Mamela, Morgan Moseki and the President of the BCP Dumelang Saleshando. I am at a loss why these persons come into the response of Bashi Mothusi except in the small print where he alleges mischievously, “Rre Dingake took offence to the statement that I made to the effect that the leaders of the BMD are not political lightweights….” Aikhona! I didn’t take any exception to any such statement, as I assert above, I was merely curious to know of the battles fought and won by the BMD. That’s all. The erudite lecturer is absolutely misdirecting himself. At any time I will be constrained to be drawn into an argument of who of which party is better than who of what party. Only time, that one slow but accurate answerer of questions, will tell who is better.

6) Last but not least, lecturer at University of Botswana, Dr Bashi Mothusi becomes presumptuous. He presumes that he knows when I joined the BNF. “I believe that when rre Dingake joined the BNF, Modubule was already an active member of the party. All the BCP MPs found him in parliament and rre Dingake wants to tell us he is a political amateur………” Anybody please read my article of January 20, 2012 and tell me whether I wrote, that Honourable Modubule or any of the Honourables of BMD are amateurs. There is nothing of the sort but pure thumb-sucking by grandson. The tendency however is to be found in the generation.

Look how he presumes to know when I joined the BNF. The BNF was founded in 1965 though launched officially as party in 1966. Most of the founders of the BNF have departed this life: Patrick Tshane, Daniel Kwele, Ambrose Motsumi, Kitchener Moletsane, Fish Keitseng, Dr Kenneth Koma, Mosepele and others. I was one of those founding members, who adopted the name Botswana National Front in October 1965 six weeks before my kidnapping and eventual 15 years on Robben Island Prison.

I am among a few of those who are still hanging tenaciously to life and enjoying it. I was involuntarily away when the BNF was officially launched. I came back in 1981 to continue my membership. I wonder whether Bashi Bathusi knows my involvement in the eighties: I chaired the Presidential Commission on Administration (1986) and was appointed to the Presidential Commission (1988)! With rre Gabatswane and rre Wellie Seboni. Honourable Modubule could not have been active in the BNF when I joined the BNF! I am not saying Honourable Modubule is an amateur, I am merely correcting distortion of historical facts , a hobby of many learned professors.
I welcome political debates with anyone. But all who enter these debates should enter them absolutely free of condescension to granddads. You might be bruised!


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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.