Sunday, September 27, 2020

There’s little I can do for Peloetletse and Ringtone

Ringtone Nteletsa. What a name!
I find it hard to believe a certain Mr Nteletsa has a son or daughter named Ringtone. This lack of conviction in the existence of such creative, mobile phone-inspired names leaves me with no doubt to believe Ringtone Nteletsa is just a pseudonym used by some coward to respond to my articles. However, let me state, I have no problem with cowards responding to my articles.

In fact I revel at that.
In his letter that appeared in the Mmegi issue of 12th March 2010, headlined “Lets differ but in deference,” Ringtone Nteletsa takes issue with my comments, in particular my last column in which I had written about the Vice President of the Republic of Botswana.

He starts off by defining Botho and its relevance in our society. He even quotes some statements from the internet alluded to some Batswana who were asked why they love their country.
Apparently one of the interviewees had this to say, “We are free here, our country is so peaceful, you don’t have to be afraid.”

According to Ringtone (can’t stop laughing at this name), another Motswana said in the interview, “You can criticize the government, you have free speech, free elections.”

Surely, Nteletsa is one of those nauseated by my column. He is definitely one of those who shrivel up on the truth that I write. The might of my pen gives Ringtone incessant headaches. I need to tell Nteletsa and all other boot lickers, right here and right now, that my inclination to write about the idiocy, insensitivity and barbarism of the powers that be, emanates from the realization that they are drifting our country away from its known democratic principles of civil liberty, freedom of speech, freedom of association and the right to consultation on issues that directly affect us.

Nteletsa is playing foolhardy to believe those statements he quotes from Batswana are still relevant in the present Botswana. The interviews that Nteletsa rants and raves about were conducted way before the current regime took over.

Nowadays, only a na├»ve Motswana can proudly say “we are free here”. In the present Botswana, only Batswana who are still swimming in denial can brag about freedom of speech. I can assure Nteletsa that it’s only a matter of time before I am silenced for the truth and the freedom of speech that I subscribe to.

And when I finally get silenced (God knows how), and as he springs to celebration, Nteletsa and Batswana at large will know it’s vindication to my assertion that democracy has eluded our country.

Nteletsa says my comments go beyond the decorum of free speech. As far as he is concerned my comments fail the ‘botho’ test by far. Well, Nteletsa can gnash his teeth and froth at the mouth but I remain true to my conviction and character of a freethinking citizen who cannot be muzzled by dictators who want to feed their hungry and military-infested egos through iron fist rule.

The same barometer used to measure my level of botho should be used on our leaders. Botho can hit the highway if it promotes such wicked mentality of leaders who are never questioned by the followers.

As I write this, president Khama is on Btv announcing that he will be increasing the alcohol levy in the next few weeks. A resident at some sleepy village stands up and complains about youth who drink alcohol and our president thinks he is solving the problem faced by that villager by simply standing to announce the increase right there, on the spot.

He even says ‘I’ and not ‘we’ and this goes to show everything is about him yet we are fooled to buy the crap that these are cabinet decisions.

I bet all cabinet ministers, just like you and me, heard about the impending levy increase through that news bulletin. And Nteletsa wants me to keep quiet in order to pass his botho examination.

As we speak, Khama has okayed some recommendations brought to him by a task force made up of Dikgosi and religious leaders. I hear they had even recommended that people should be told what to wear.

Crazy is an understatement here.
How am I expected to extend the so called botho to leaders who see nothing wrong in increasing the age limit of alcohol consumption form 18 years to 21 years, just like that?

Clearly, the ramifications of this move have not been considered. Quite frankly, our leaders apply their hearts and not minds when making decisions that may have permanent implications on our lives.

How logical is it to decrease the age of voter eligibility from 21 to 18 years and then increase the age of alcohol consumers from 18 to 21 years? I mean, I had thought the whole reason for having 18 year olds participate in general elections was a recognition of the fact that at 18 they are mature, responsible adults who can make informed decisions.

Eighteen-year-olds will be stupid not to contest this move because there is no way they can be deemed responsible enough to elect a legislator or parliamentarian when it comes to voting while they are regarded irresponsible when it comes to choosing between Fanta Orange and Windhoek Lager.

In any case, people finish senior school at 18 and then some who do not progress on to tertiary education join the employment sector. How then do you stop someone who earns his or her own salary from buying and consuming what they like? That is not democracy.

So Nteletsa must know I don’t mean to disrespect our leaders. It’s just that I’m young, liberal and I get restless when old people don’t respect my right to enjoy, fully, my democratic rights.
And then there is my friend MacDonald Peloetletse!

By the way, he saw me for the first time this past weekend at the Gaborone Flying Club, just two days after I was served with papers of his complaint against me, which were served on me by the Secretary of the BDP Disciplinary Committee, Mr Lee Lesetedi.

Truly speaking I had already forgotten Peloetletse existed until last Friday when I got a statement of his complaint.

I used to enjoy my interactions with Peloetletse in the newspapers but all of a sudden he ran out of steam. Or, perhaps, the authors of his articles abandoned him.

That I will never know but I’m told his business is doing well and that might explain his long absence.

Funny enough when he eventually reawakens, he lodges a complaint against me, picking articles that I penned long before the Kanye showdown. Anyway it always feels good to hear from MacD.

Like he did after they sidelined him during the selection of specially elected councilors, Peloetletse is wailing like a child and complaining about my writings.

Peloetletse has laid 8 charges against me before the BDP Disciplinary Committee. He has cited Dr Serema, Shima Monageng and Olebeng Ngwakwena as people who can bear witness as to the circumstances surrounding the commission of the offences. If you know BDP politics very well those names should ring a bell to you.

After receiving those papers and realizing the complainant was MacDonald Peloetletse, I threw them into the dustbin. Afterall he is always complaining. Something then told me to retrieve them from the dustbin and check who else has been given the copies of Peloetletse’s complaint.

Apart from me, Peloetletse copied his letter to His Excellency The Party President and to the Secretary General. This is exactly what has motivated me to take the letter seriously.
I have now decided to respond to the letter.

I mean, how long have I wanted audience with the President and what an opportune time to air my views to him than now. Thanks to Peloetletse’s complaint my reply to his letter will land in the In-Tray of the highest and most powerful office in the land.

I feel honoured to have been given the opportunity to write something that will eventually get Presidential attention.

I have always cried out loud that the president is sidelining urban dwellers when it comes to his visits and so-called consultation. I always see him addressing Kgotla meetings and everytime he will be giving instructions and telling his audience about his decisions from there we are told he had gone to consult.

When will people learn to differentiate between consultation and announcement? I cannot afford to meet the President at the Kgotla but I surely will meet him through my response to Peloetletse’s complaint.
I can’t wait.

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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

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