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Questions That Need Answers

Sandy Grant
A salute to the new champion, Nijel Amos, to the previous champion, Amantle Montsho whose best may now be behind her, and to the peoplesí champion, Gomolemo Motswaledi, a rare person, an artist and a decent, honest, human being.

What a loss. At the time of writing, inevitable questions about the circumstances of his death have already been raised and doubtless similar doubts and fears will continue to be expressed. 

 I suggest, however, that we should regard this an accident which occurred without complicating factors until the police state that there are aspects about it which need further investigation.

But Gomolemo was not just another person such as you and me and in his case, the police will be well aware that they need quickly to provide the relevant facts relating to this accident before people begin to offer their own.

It might be helpful were they to make Gomolemo’s timetable available - when he left Johannesburg and whether at Ramatlhabama he was alone or accompanied.

Presumably they will quickly tell us who got to the crash site first, who took him to hospital, if his possessions were intact and if another vehicle or person, perhaps a pedestrian, could have been involved. But then I also suggest that his Umbrella colleagues need to explain why they allowed him to go alone to and from Johannesburg – not the safest city in the world – for a meeting concerned with Umbrella business.

Could no party colleague have gone with him - because of usual concerns about personal safety, to be a back up at this meeting and also to relieve him of the driving burden, wholly or in part, so that he could have some time to relax and de-stress.

What kind of meeting could this have been? If it had been of significance, the Umbrella would surely have nominated more than one person to attend it.

If it was of lesser significance, why would someone of such huge importance to the Umbrella  have been allowed to go it alone? If the Umbrella leaders felt that they had reason to fear for Gomolemo’s safety, for whatever reason, they would not have let him drive alone anywhere in this country, let alone for hour after hour in South Africa. It makes no sense.

Politicians, we can also note, are gregarious. The need to undertake a long drive to and from Johannesburg would have offered Gomolemo an opportunity to take one or more people with whom, on the way, he could talk, exchange ideas, get updates, or simply recognise

the need to re-think.

That particular drive could have been for him, an invaluable opportunity? Why did he not take it and why did he opt to go alone? Only the Umbrella leaders can tell us. 

But I also want to go back to that border post. If Gomolemo had arrived tired at the Ramatlhabama border, he would have had to spend 30/40 minutes getting through the usual routines, would have been on his feet and thus re-invigorated.

Yet only a few miles down the road it seems to be suggested, that tired, he fell asleep and drove off the road.

 If he was indeed so tired he would have fallen asleep on one of those long, empty South African roads, not on the first short stretch after re-entering this country.

Having suggested that the Umbrella leadership needs to explain, what seems to me, the strange circumstances of Gomolemo’s trip to Johannesburg, I am also suggesting that that his death creates real problems for the BDP.

It will be well aware of the damaging assumptions that many people are already making about Gomolemo’s death. It cannot directly confront them nor, obviously should it try to do so. It is totally in the hands of the police who will either allay widespread concerns by providing answers to the obvious questions or, their greatest fear, leave those questions without clear answers.

For the moment though, there is nothing to be gained by anticipating that crucially important police statement.

But that said, there will be many BDP members who will also be well aware that whilst they were electorally prepared to confront Gomolemo when he was still alive, they will have little idea how they can best take him on now that he is dead.

Inevitably, the Gomolemo factor will be a significant factor in this election although no one at this stage can know what form it might take.

Might there be a groundswell of popular feeling which will dislodge it even in supposedly secure constituencies? And if so, what might it do? 

 It would be ironical if Gomolemo dead could achieve what Gomolemo alive might not have been able to achieve. And that is what the BDP must now most fear. But then they will also hope that the dis-coordinated opposition will find a way of blowing such an opportunity.

Etcetera II



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