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All foreign guests, welcome to Botswana 50th independence celebration!

MICHAEL DINGAKE
The flame of independence torch is passing through cattle-posts, hamlets, villages and towns in a race to the golden jubilee celebration in the capital, Gaborone. At every overnight station, the torch - Molelo wa Kgolagano, has been welcomed with ululations, dance, and excitement; outsiders watching the count-down to the big day on national television, must be green with envy, watching.

On 30/9/2016 it will be 50 years to the day since Botswana attained its independence; Batswana will be celebrating the feel-good of their country’s sovereign status. Invited outsiders to the occasion, should be looking forward to witness the pride, prestige and splendor of living in Botswana, a country envied by others.First-time visitors are probably suffering anxiety and insomnia already, in anticipation of flight to the looming festivity in a foreign capital. Botswana, an African country is famous for her un-African outlook, unique in the continent.

The country broke ranks with the front runners to independence; whereas the norm was to adopt a one-party democratic system as a standard form of democracy, Botswana opted for multiparty democracy.

Multiparty democracy was a model of government scorned by the fledgling states determined to exercise unfettered self-determination and initiative. Today, the African countries without exception, are in theory at least, multiparty democracies holding regular general elections to elect new government, new MPs and new local government councilors. Some, in their vaulting ambition, have even adopted two-term limit for the presidential tenure of office in their constitutions, which sadly hasn’t been easy to live by.

The point however, is that Botswana is one of the first three African countries to recognise, that democracy couldn’t  be democracy, unless it was a government of many parties (multi-party). Anything less was humbug, despotism and absolute totalitarianism!

In the process of leading by the good example, Botswana earned herself the flattering accolade of the  ‘shining example of democracy!’ This should be the magnet to attract invited and the uninvited guests to the country’s September 30, 2016 bash! To Western eyes, Botswana has maintained its popular ‘shine,’ even enhancing it through the meandering path towards the golden jubillee summit.

Before Brother Muammar Gaddafi met his gruesome death at the hands of the NATO agents, Botswana was far ahead, unceremoniously booting out the Libyan ambassador to Botswana and instructing

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him to take back the camels present from  Muammar Gaddafi in the cordial days of brotherhood, before NATO divined regime change in Libya; President Omar al-Bashir of the Sudan, wanted by the ICC for crimes against humanity and genocide can expect to be given short thrift were he to stray an inch into Botswana territory! 

Botswana is a darling of western governments and institutions. Transparency International perceives Botswana as the ‘ least corrupt African country!’

We don’t hear of the least corrupt European, Asian, Latin American or American country, only the least corrupt African country, Botswana! Either Africa is a symbol of corruption or other continents are squeaky cleanest in the realm of corruption.

All roads, all flights must take a beeline to Botswana golden jubilee, to behold and admire Botswana, a paragon of good governance! It shouldn’t be missed!Two, three months before the looming event, Botswana naturally could be expected to consolidate the world  goodwill.

However, a youth protestor carrying a placard decrying youth unemployment stood outside the Botswana Parliament;  was arrested by the police, handcuffed with unusual venom, leaving bruises on his wrists. Crime? Failure to obtain permit to stage a peaceful protest! Few weeks later, the youth reinforced by an enlarged group, was back, more placards and more hands reminding MPs in the House of representatives that ignored scourge devastating their voters! Police descended on the scene to whip the protestors and march them to the police station under arrest, with journalists as collateral.

One journalist’s  video camera was snatched from him on suspicion it had footage of the inhuman and unlawful police conduct. A journalist, thoroughly intimidated was overheard contemplating quitting journalism! Opposition back-benchers and lawyers representing the detained, converged at the police station shocked, to say the least. They couldn’t help but compare the modern police service in Botswana with the apartheid police force in the pre-1994 South Africa!  Welcome!



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