Mmegi Online :: Friendship above opposing political views
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Last Updated
Thursday 21 June 2018, 13:46 pm.
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Friendship above opposing political views

It is a given that split political views naturally causes conflict between people. However, it takes wisdom for friends to avoid being judgmental and ward off attacks on each other for holding differing viewpoints, Staff Writer RYDER GABATHUSE opines
By Staff Writer Fri 18 Mar 2016, 14:43 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Friendship above opposing political views








FRANCISTOWN: It is rare for business partners, Modiri Lucas and Gaone Lewanika, in the Francistown South constituency to have a healthy debate without the discussion degenerating into political warfare.

While Lewanika is the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) Francistown region secretary, Lucas is the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Francistown South branch secretary.

The two men have become the cynosure of all eyes, as they lead the campaigns for the two main contesting parties in the impending Phillip Matante East by-election.

They have suddenly become newsmakers and their differences as one of them has said, have become even more pronounced.

But, the duo is certain their differences are far from destroying their relationship.

Seasoned politicians take it easy and allow simple conversations to turn into debates without tearing relationships apart.

It is also normal for the best of friends to agree to disagree without hurting the relationship in any way.

As for Lucas and Lewanika they are partners in a property business and are both staunch members of the Zion Christian Church (ZCC).

Their relationship reminds one of the famous opposing political couples in the US as captured in journals, who despite their massive differences, continue to make it.

Mary Matalin and James Carville - she, a Republican political consultant and he, a Democratic political consultant - are both set in their politics and not only have opposing views, but also actually work for the opposing parties.

How do they do it?

Carville once stated: “We have different ways of looking at politics. No doubt about that.  But Jews and Catholics who get married probably have a different way of looking at God.  It’s just not a deal-breaker”.

To which Matalin added: “I know it’s hard to believe, but we just don’t talk politics at home”.

“Perhaps the only way it works is if couples like Matalin and Carville, view their beliefs as abstractions — like opinions they came to through some sort of logic and that remain out there.  But once people connect politics to their personal, emotional experiences, it’s impossible to see political views as simple opinions,” stated the journals. As for Lucas and Lewanika, they are treading carefully not to allow politics to destroy their relationship. 

But as politics continues to reach fever pitch, the duo just has to mind what they say to each other.

Lucas steps in: “We share clients in the property business and there is just no way in which we can avoid each other more so that we are of the same age of 36”. The

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politician insists that in business one deals with all and sundry regardless of people’s political affiliations.

“We don’t fight physically, but it’s only through ideas that we differ.  As the political game reaches another gear in our area, we have lately been arguing about which party will win the vacant ward,” he said.

Whenever the duo meets, they will never end a conversation without an argument, more so that Lucas is always forced to fend off a strong belief held by Lewanika that the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), a tri-party alliance, in which BMD is a partner, is going to win the 2019 general election.

“This is where we differ a lot and it does not matter where we are.  We have lately picked arguments of this nature easily,” Lucas said.

He insists that the BDP is the only party of choice and there is no alternative, a view that Lewanika does not take kindly to.

“I can’t just watch him attack the BDP programmes and allow him to get away with it,” Lucas said.

Lewanika shouts whenever they argue in an endeavour to drown out Lucas’ viewpoints.

“Yes, Lewanika has the gift of garb, but it does not mean he can outwit me at all,” argues Lucas.

Lewanika responds to Lucas’ version of things: “Of course there are instances where we differ on political viewpoints.

 And yes we have instances where our clients spark political debates that in the end affect us.  The best thing to happen is how then do we deal with such issues”.

At the end of the day, however, the duo knows they have to live together amicably and Lewanika emphasised that tolerance of other people is very important.

The main thing that separates BMD or UDC from the ruling BDP, Lewanika said, is that they (UDC) preach issue-based politics because that is what the people want to hear. “We are into the game of politics for a reason just like we are into business to make a living. 

When we hit hard at each other, it’s the nature of the game and no bad blood at all,” he said.

Lewanika acknowledges that even when they are found ‘shouting’ at each other, such negative energies are spent on each other for a reason.

“After all, we tell each other the truth as we are soldiers who go deep into the trenches,” said Lewanika, as a parting shot.

Besides politics, business and church the duo socialises together.   Last year Lucas was best man at Lewanika’s wedding.

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Fri 18 Mar 2016, 18:00 pm
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Fri 18 Mar 2016, 14:43 pm
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