Monday, August 10, 2020

We are a nation in search of a positive image

There is no doubt that as a result of Covid-19 we are living in an era full of stress and all kinds of traumas that are psychological and mental in nature.Families and relationships are being stress-tested to the limit. These are challenging times for parents, especially.People are confused. And children do not even know where to look as they seek guidance in this labyrinth that is a daily existence. These are indeed confusing times.And in times like these nations need a united and positive image leading at the front.

In times like these people need a positive message to survive and add a meaning to their otherwise empty lives.To face coronavirus and defeat it, people will need much more than just a lockdown. They will need leadership that they can relate to.Rather behave like a school principal, such leadership will have to provide mental therapy, an assurance that in the end everything will be fine.At the moment a majority of our people are worried that the nation is not getting that.They are worried that there does not seem to be a united front at the top. In the face of what is possibly the deadliest virus the world has seen; our people are flapping around for unity and all they see is a society getting more fragmented and more unstable.They search in vain for a more refreshing leadership in politics, and all they see are a bunch of selfish individuals shouting each other down.Not so easy to admit it, but the seeds of this sad undertaking were here before us long before the era of coronavirus. Like our leadership as exemplified by scenes from parliament, our society has become more and more relativist.

As a society we have not only lost ourselves, we also have lost our sense of proportion. Members of Parliament are supposed to be the epitomes of responsibility.For a Member of Parliament who supposed to be in quarantine to be seem mixing with members of the public at a shopping centres simply defies all logic. We really have a long way to go.As the country sails into uncharted waters, this is not the time to encourage cynicism.We need unity.But it would be remiss to look the other way on such a glaring public misdemeanour. Early in the week president Mokgweetsi Masisi called party leaders for a private briefing on key issues surrounding national preparedness against coronavirus. He called for leaders from opposition.

Only minnows turned up.The main opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change did not turn up.It was a big event.There is no underestimating the importance of opposition in a democracy – especially official opposition such as the UDC.We shall never know for sure just what happened. But already fingers are pointing at Mpho Molomo and Kaelo Molefhe as key conspirators in all efforts to undermine the UDC. Professor Molomo and Dr Molefhe are recent appointments at Office of the President. Both of them are former senior academics at the University of Botswana and their appointment to the heart of civil service, a very rare occasion – had given some of us reluctant reassurance that they would want to do things differently. They are now behaving like an old flock – or worse.

For them to now turn around and act like snitches when they are only a month or so old in office should really get us really worried. We are sadly aware that all the way from top down, the other side too is made of people who attach no premium to their integrity, honour and/or character. UDC leadership has never covered itself with glory.They are never serious on anything. They don’t answer calls. And never return calls.It is this happy-go-lucky attitude that annoys and turns people off. Even when they are not at fault, people will be capitalizing on the well-known absence of honour on the part of UDC leadership.And that seems to be what professor Molomo and Dr Molefhe are doing. We expect more.

Our intellectuals should teach us the virtues of cooperation.That aside, for the president to spend over 4 hours of his time with parties that have no representation at any level – inside Parliament, let alone councilors is hardly a glorious achievement. So much about party politics. A lot can be said, but again this is not the time for cynicism. There is a lot of bad news around. And people are scrapping around to hear anything positive.

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