Thursday, June 20, 2024

Seretse and Botswana on trial

Former Minister, Ramadeluka Seretse, is expected to take the dock next month.
But on trial will be Botswana: the ruling Botswana Democratic Party, the opposition, the media and its readership.

We have all lost ourselves in our roles as politicians, journalists and readers such that our sense of self is derived from our roles and the selective perceptions that attend them.

We have come to a pass where politicians, political parties and the media need opposition to define their boundary and identity. They define themselves through the wrongs and mistakes of their opponents and thus feel justified to dehumanize opponents.

This has set the relationship between politicians and the media in a permanent state of “against” and that is why grievances constitute a significant part of their relationship.

The relationship is being weighed down by a strong sense that “we need to crucify them and make them evil to get a stronger sense of who we are”. Opposition has become a mindset and most actions that come out of such a mindset can be extremely distorted and selective.

In other words, you will see what you want to see and then interpret it. The adversarial relationship assumes that the other party is guilty until proven innocent. This is not helped by the fact that most of our readers are not looking for news but negative energy.

This explains why the popular tabloid media does not sell news but negative emotions.

All these role players regard themselves as victims and the “other” as evil and, because they have conceptualized and thereby dehumanized the other as the enemy, they can inflict all kinds of pain without feeling their humanity and suffering. We all have a paranoid belief system at our very basis, “us” against the evil ones.

We cannot even tell the difference between an event and our reaction to it. Sometimes the fault that we perceive is not even there. It is a total misinterpretation, a projection by a mind conditioned to see enemies and to make itself right or superior.

At other times, the fault may be there, but by focusing on it to the exclusion of everything else, we amplify it.

The trial against Ndelu Seretse has exposed this clash of conditioned minds. We have even decided to move beyond the realm of simple verifiable facts to justify our roles.

However, if even the simple realm of facts can lend itself to distortion and illusion, how much more so the less tangible realm of opinions, viewpoints and judgments.

Botswana has to wake up to the fact that beyond the realm of simple and verifiable facts, the certainty that, “I am right and you are wrong” is dangerous.

Botswana has lost itself in a myriad of roles. Instead of politicians, journalists, readers and NGOs interrogating the issue and debating with each other, we have a chaos of role conceived conceptual images of each other interacting with each other.

Perhaps it is time for us to stop and insure that concepts, like opposition, rival political party or football team and the judgment that attends them, do not come between our relationship. It is time to establish the sameness of bearing in every human being, be they BCP, BDP, BNF Gaborone United, Rollers, family member or neighbour and only then will we know the truth about the Ndelu Seretse saga.

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