What an extraordinary mix! The standard fare of the recent past has continued with China, the Dalai Lama, the Directorate of Security Intellgence, the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), and the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) dominating both the newspaper headlines and the newspaper pages.
The reasons behind the now imminent breakdown of relations with China remains to me, at least, obscure. It is surely no more than a statement of the obvious that, in theory, at least this country, like all the other 150 or so in the world, has the right to decide who should come in and who should not.
The current mass migration of people to Europe, and to this country from Zimbabwe, demonstrates that it is a right which is not, and perhaps never could be, absolute. It may also be worth noting the muddle that the UK has got itself into over this very kind of issue with some part of the population resentful of migrants and others welcoming them.
Here, as it seems, is David standing up for this right against a mighty Goliath, who wants to trample all over it. So far, so good. The question now remains as to why this problem was allowed to develop so that it became a matter of ‘either or’, with a mid-way point no longer being attainable? International relations are bound to involve balance, the need to compromise and an ability to anticipate problems and head them off.
In this instance, crunch time could so easily have been avoided. We still don’t know why the presumably very small Mind and Life group here decided to invite the Dalai Lama and why the government would have backed that invitation? We also don’t know why the Dalai Lama, having received that invitation, decided to accept it?
What had he to gain by coming here? Against that, what had he to lose? He would certainly have known that by coming here, he would inevitably be the cause of a bust-up between this country and China. Surely, this is something that he could not possibly have wanted?
So why is this happening? It’s hard to avoid the suspicion that somehow we are being humbugged - to use Wellington’s comment about Napoleon. Somewhere along the line, there are interests at play about which we know nothing.
Perhaps, in the next few weeks some element of the truth will begin to emerge. Until then, we will continue to ponder what the country gains from the visit and what it will lose? If one mystery is not enough, we had another with the little affair of the Tholwana Borethe report, which was understandably given full
Do I not remember a Minister saying long ago that the Botswana National Front (BNF) needed to be crushed underfoot like a snake? The realisation that it is in danger of losing the next election has undoubtedly increased those feelings.
The stakes now can hardly be higher. For any observer, it must be difficult to avoid the conclusion that the BDP therefore will do absolutely anything to retain power. But to do so, it has both to increase its share of the vote and decrease that of the opposition.
Whilst this is obvious and straightforward, it does seem that its perceived, even admitted, ruthlessness regarding the opposition may both help it on the one hand and cost it dearly on the other. The danger both for the BDP and the opposition parties is that the electorate will simply opt out being disillusioned about both, by the ineptitude of the one and the blatant ugliness of the other. Politics right now is not a pretty scene! But let me stick with topics that are disturbing and often unpalatable at the national level to something similar way down below – at village level. Specifically, I refer to the problem of poo, which now besets anyone using the Mmamashia to Odi road whether by car and most horribly, for those on bicycles or on foot who cannot close a window to try and shut out the appalling smell.
Quite simply, poo, as it is politely described, has been leaking down the road to the river for the last 10 days or so. It comes from the Phakalane Estate, and most probably from its BHC housing complex and it seems, at the time of writing, that attempts to fix the problem, if any, have failed.
The paradox is that those who have been contributing to this poo problem may be blissfully unaware how badly this affects others. Bluntly, the poo problem is being passed on by those who contributed it to others who did not.