Hence we urge Batswana to watch out for this commercialisation of Christmas by resisting the ubiquitous temptation to make unnecessary purchases. We must not forget that our country has yet to fully recover from the battering recession of 2008 while its budget is still in deficit, hence government's excuse not to review public service salaries since.
Only recently did government strike the pose of increasing public service salaries when it awarded a paltry three-percent for inflation, which translated into no more than P35 for workers at the bottom of the pile.This illustrates the government's attitude to the poor: it cares nix about bridging the gap between the classes and can never be relied upon to the arrest the frightening pace of accumulation and dispossession.
In the widespread abjection that typifies 21st Century Botswana, the majority of the people are compelled to enlist for President Ian Khama's pet projects like Ipelegeng where they earn less than P500 per occasional month. This sadism is at the core of the government so-called poverty eradication programme. Because the public service does not pay Batswana at least sufficiently, most people now rely on loan sharks to make ends meet in the literal meaning of the expression. But in addition to the struggles of the working class, there is a certain category of people that wants to reap where it did not sow. These plundering types find fit to rob, maim and murder. Sadly, the criminal element becomes more pronounced during this period of charity and gladness, and we should all be fairly warned. Do not be misled because these characters come in all shapes, sizes and guises.
Also typical of this season is travelling, for many of us from towns and cities to the outback that remains the common denominator for most Batswana. That calls for patience on the road embracing driver, passenger and pedestrian alike. It requires levels of alertness that only a full rest prior to the journey can muster because with the potholes after it rains and the animals - tame and wild - appearing any time anywhere, that road can be a death trap. For obvious reasons, travelling demands sobriety, especially of the driver. We appreciate the presence of the police and transport inspectors whose job is primarily to ensure the safety of travellers. We regret, however, that these agents of law enforcement often turn themselves into sadists and harass innocent members of the public. We make no case for drunkenness, but for goodness sake, that wretched tippler is a also human being and should be treated with respect.
We do not want to add to the numbers of those who say Khama is an authoritarian teetotaller who runs a police state. Indeed, Batswana and their visitors deserve to enjoy a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year, and that is what we extend to the entire nation.
"Christmas... is not an eternal event at all, but a piece of one's home that one carries in one's heart..."
- Freya stark (french adventurer and explorer