Mmegi Online :: Stage was long set for a crisis
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Tuesday 13 November 2018, 16:21 pm.
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Stage was long set for a crisis

Were it not for fervent prayers amongst God-fearing citizens, this paper demonstrates that a crisis of unimaginable proportions was imminent and had long been constructed prior to the national poll that happened on 24 October 2014.
By Correspondent Fri 21 Nov 2014, 13:54 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Stage was long set for a crisis








In the privacy of our homes, in small prayer groups, in mosques, in synagogues, in temples and in churches, peace-loving people never ceased to pray for this country to avert a crisis. It would have been irresponsible of any faith leader to ignore beseeching fellow worshippers to pray for Botswana, when all the hallmarks of a crisis looming were obvious.

Who could ignore the antagonistic utterances from opposing camps during the build-up to the election-day and how a bleak future was painted for us, and surely who could not heed words that had every sign of an uncompromising stance to accept defeat at the poll? Who would have been foolishly bold to dismiss repeated media reports showing a nation approaching its end? Certainly the events pointed in the direction of a nation sitting on a time-bomb waiting to explode in our faces.

These prayer warriors invited the Supreme Deity to show compassion for this nation and heal the rifts following the election exercise. Just when we would have revelled at the peaceable poll, where players accepted the results as they were announced, more prayer petitions were made to God, because for the first time in the history of this nation, there was departure from the norm following the results of the national poll.

A constitutional war ensued in our courts, sending a number of a functional democracy systems off-balance, pending the outcome pronounced by the highest level of our jurisprudence. The exercise lasted two weeks from the inauguration of the State President.

While lawyers derived pleasure from slugging it out in English peppered with the classical language of Latin to muscle out each other, eyes were focused on the constitutional crisis created by the matter before the courts, which depending whose side the lawyers argued the matter, did not agree the situation was a constitutional crisis.

In fact the other party boldly declared their disagreement that there was no crisis and if there were any indications, it ought to be recorded as a ‘manufactured crisis’. To plunge a country in a constitutional crisis connotes an inability to apply any set of law to resolve a chaotic situation besieging a nation, basically resulting in a breakdown of orderly operation of an elected Government.

In most cases, this happens when separate branches of Government disagree about the extent to which each of these arms holds sovereignty, in a nutshell, a conflict amongst or between the Judiciary, the Executive and the Legislature as constitutionally, none enjoys supervisory function over the other.

A constitutional crisis could mean a lot of things to different people, but for this paper, it is imperative to bring out the truth that were it not for our fervent prayers—a constitutional crisis of unfathomable proportions would have arisen while the matter was being argued in the courts.

Since this is a religious-driven argument, the paper advances the truth that in our context, the prayer warriors remembered the words by St. Paul when he encouraged Philippians: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the Peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

The office of the President, Members of Parliament and the Speaker of the House of Parliament when inaugurated are made to take an oath of allegiance to the service of this nation without fear or favour, and the oath is incomplete if they don’t say, “…So help me God!” It thus obtains from this oath that men and women entrusted with national leadership are consecrated by applying religious principles (in our situation, Christian and Islamic) hence the fear of the Lord is their beginning of wisdom in discharging these mammoth duties. This is not a simple recitation, if at all these leaders never paid attention to what they are saying when they are sworn into office. This oath is powerful, but like Bagalatia Aaron argued when he took an oath in his native language; it is a personal and intimate connection between the individual and his Creator to be the guide for leadership and direction.

This oath must therefore remind each of the sworn-in members that they must avoid any action that might stall progress of the nation they have asked their supreme deities to guide and lead; to supply them with abundant wisdom to discern good from bad; to give them energy and good health to withstand the pressures that come with national duty. In other words, the men and women who consent to being sworn in applying the available means should at all times be serious about their faith in the God they have committed their lives

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to. The oath is a clear statement of their dependence on God, it is their proclamation that without being helped, they possess no skill, no strength and needless to mention any wisdom with which they can serve us. The dependency on God means a lot of things—one such reality is what is captured in the Gospel of Mark: “But about that day or hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointment time will come.”

There is none with the wisdom to count his days and this appointment of death is one that scared some of us while others had a field day at the courthouse. Without a proper functional Government, what would happen in the event the sitting President died before the courts made their pronouncement on the matter? This question boggled many minds and we prayed that God did not allow for that to happen. We thank God that truly he listened to the nation’s cries to avert the crisis.

Had the sitting President died, we shudder to envision how the legal brains would have come to the aid of the nation to recommend the most qualified of the elected men and women to take over the presidency on an acting capacity. Our Constitution says that in the event the sitting President is incapacitated or dies, the Vice President shall on an acting appointment step up into the Presidency before elections can be held to determine the future of the nation. Lest things be mixed up when I mention death especially with respect to the sitting President; but as one who frequently stands before multitudes to bring comfort to those who have lost dear ones, like I just did this past weekend at Ditlharapa in Barolong Farms, I attest without a shred of doubt that one certain destination is death! On Wednesday this week, a sitting President of the Republic of Zambia was interred and that nation was nowhere near experiencing a crisis because the Constitution is clear that his deputy continues as the interim President.

Death is a certain reality that defines human society and to amplify why some of us were dead worried when the matter was before the courts; we remembered how the 10th Parliament lost three sitting Members of Parliament in the Honourable Baledzi Gaolathe, Honourable Tshelang Masisi and Honourable Maxwell Motowane. These sons of the soil did not know their appointment with the Creator, neither did their families have a hint, nor the voters who placed them in those positions of leadership.

In future, the Church in Botswana must rise up and declare its position on the oath taken by these men and women to help them understand that they are giving up their lives much like a proclamation of faith, when a new convert is made to repeat after the priest or pastor that he is a new creature. Politicians must not take their eyes off the ball after the swearing-in ceremony to trust their thinking and expediently place ahead of everything sensible their political beliefs and ideologies.

That Bible or Quran on which their palms are set contains infallible words that are canonical. Botswana leaders in future, must remember that this country should not be led into a manufactured crisis that can be avoided easily, if they don’t treat the oath of office as simply a recitation. I don’t know what law was being created by bringing this matter before the courts, but we have been scared at the probable options that stared us in the faces, in the event of a deadlock and nothing of those choices would happen without plunging the nation into a crisis.

If we had the sitting President die; if the President had declared a state of emergency, or if the President had dissolved Parliament and called for fresh elections, any of these outcomes would have a debilitating effect on us as the nation, and mind you, we are not even mentioning the unnecessary taxpayers-funded undertakings.

Therefore, whoever in the future shall desire a seat of representation in Parliament must bear this reality in mind; to depend on God and fear God by inviting God to guide the decisions on behalf of the nation! Let us learn from the recent happenings that Botswana should not be just another backward African country; we have a legacy to protect against all odds. Prayer and a trust in God prevented the imminent crisis from manifesting itself with an ugly face; what a near-miss we had!

REV BISHOP ENOLE DITSHEKO*

*Rev Bishop Enole Ditsheko is a current affairs commentator

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