Friday, July 10, 2020

UDC should treat citizens with dignity, honesty and civility

“Tell no lies, claim no easy victories.”

That is a dictum coined by Amilcar Cabral.

He continued that “always bear in mind that the people are not fighting for ideas, for the things in anyone’s head. They are fighting to win material benefits, to live better and in peace, to see their lives go forward, to guarantee the future of their children. Hide nothing from the masses, expose lies whenever they are told, mask no difficulties, mistakes or difficulties.”

This could easily have been a directive to the Umbrella for Democratic Change.

The UDC wants to lie and cheat its way to the State House. That should be exposed.

Almost non- stop they claim easy victories.

They take the public for fools.

At UDC nothing is constant.

Consistency is not a big factor.

Today Ian Khama is a demon belonging to jail; tomorrow he is a great statesman who should be engaged.

The leadership makes policies and pronouncements on a whiff.

They do not think their statements through.

Civility among them is a rare commodity. Bullying, a phenomenon hitherto confined to those in the media is now being aggressively extended to the ordinary members of the public.

Anybody who raises a finger to question anything from the party is an enemy  or a combatant ÔÇô to use a word coined by their Dithapelo Keorapetse ÔÇô who has taken to his new UDC membership with the zeal of a born again Christian.

UDC’s relationship with the media has been a tempestuous existence.

But things really came to a head when the Botswana Congress Party was admitted into the Umbrella.

Whatever little decency there was went off through the window.

A UDC in power is likely to be much worse in its inhibitions and restrictions.

From the look of things, we had said Ian Khama was worse.

The truth is we ain’t seen anything yet.

We got a peek of what the UDC government will be like when early this week Keorapetse issued a decree calling for a boycott of Sunday Standard and The Patriot.

His masters later attempted to overturn his fatwa against the two newspapers, but the damage had been done.

By that time his temperament, his thin skin as well as his lack of tolerance had been put in public display for all to see.

The UDC aversion to public scrutiny deserves some context.

In the build-up to the 2014 General Elections, the line dividing the UDC and the media was largely blurred.

That was mainly on account of the hostile Ian Khama.

Khama had literally driven the media right under the UDC orbit.

With the coming in of Mokgweetsi Masisi, the media has been exerting its independence, mainly on account of his media freedom posture.

That has meant the media moving away from the UDC.

This has rubbed the UDC the wrong way.

They are now behaving like a jilted lover.

Many of the journalists find themselves accused of taking bribes from Masisi or in some instances from the intelligence services.

These allegations are made by the UDC leadership, chiefly Keorapetse. No evidence is produced. The burden of proof of innocence is left on the accused journalists.

The attacks by UDC on the media are not a coincidence.

They come at a very important moment in Botswana’s political calendar.

In less than four months, Batswana will head to the polls.

Rightly or wrongly, the UDC feels that this is finally their turn.

The media finds itself accused of appending a UDC victory.

And for that UDC members are openly incited to harm the media.

Thus anybody perceived of standing between UDC and power should in the words of Keorapetse be “lethally” attacked.

Keorapetse is paranoid, and seems to see an enemy under every tree.

His expansive zeal often comes across as somebody who doubts his UDC bonafides.

He strikes me like an atheist who woke up one morning and suddenly discovered that there is God.

Everyday he lives it like he wants to pay for his years of sin.

The man should relax.

His attacks on Ms Tirelo Ditshipi were truly reprehensible.

By far they remain his lowest and most vile so far.

Unprovoked by this woman, he questioned Ms Ditshipi’s health and hygiene.

This is unpardonable and should be called out.

We live in a society full of abuse, especially against women.

That abuse sadly happens inside the high walls.

But Keorapetse’s attacks against Ms Ditshipi were made in public ÔÇô on social media.

Sadly nobody raised a finger to defend Ms Ditshipi ÔÇô neither the UDC leader nor the BCP president.

Dumelang Saleshando made light of the whole matter saying it was a boys’ brawl.

I don’t know if Ms Ditshipi looks like a boy to him.

The UDC still has too many balls in the air.

Their economic policies often smack of voodoo economics.

They need to resolve such issues before they start abusing innocent people.

For the public, it is important to stand up to UDC bullying.

That should be done now when they are in opposition.

We cannot wait to hold them accountable when they are in government, because by that time they would have become a firing squad ÔÇô taking all of us down; one by one.


Read this week's paper

Sunday Standard July 5 – 11

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of July 5 - 11, 2020.