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Happy Independence Day

Enough with opposition politicians. These guys have undeservedly dominated every newspaper publication for weeks, if not months. Every headline has been about their egos, lies and power mongering.

Make no mistake about it, there is nothing in the public interest about their catfights. They have nothing to do with championing the cause(s) of the people. Forget the rhetoric and statements of good intentions. When you peel back the layers, it is all about self. It is about hate, attention seeking and power.

The smell of power has aroused every animalistic instinct among some sections of the opposition. That is what we see playing before our eyes. The problem is not the supposed problem. The problem is these politicians. They beguile the gullible public to rally behind them and to uncritically populate their armies. The opposition follower has been reduced to a pawn in some juvenile beep matching contest playing out on a national stage. I am beginning to think that a thumping loss in 2019 may do the opposition some good.

The sooner these guys beat themselves into line and realise that Batswana are into opposition politics for national reasons and not for their personal aggrandizement, the better. As things stand, each time these guys have a tiff, Batswana must begin a blind, goose march to another political movement.

You have people who can hardly handle internal party differences; who throw stones and set dogs on each other saying that they should be entrusted with the destiny of a nation virtually on an economic freefall. We know it is not about Batswana. It is about them. It is about the survival of their personal political careers. I am talking about both sides of the quarrel. Look here, I like and admire many of them at an individual level.  Intelligent men and women they are. But the promise of power, like power itself, reveals our true selves. It reduces great men to minnows. We have a classical example on hand. The problem with the opposition is its blessing; the realistic possibility of assumption of power. You have everyone’s tongue sticking out.

Let us not focus on them for once. This week I want to salute the true heroes and heroines in our society who go out of their way to make all of us happy without expecting anything in return. I am not talking about the motley, politically connected lot you see paraded at the national stadium to receive national medals and honours. I am talking about those whose hearts flow with the pure white milk of human kindness. Those who sacrifice personal time and resources for the good of their country.

I have noticed, on this score, the proliferation of high school alumni organisations across the country.

These are groups of men or women who have answered the clarion call to arms. As one singer puts it, “nobody knows their names, but they are heroes all the same”. They are people who have taken a personal oath that they will not sit back and see their societies founder under the vast array of ills that have enveloped our country. Instead of blaming government for all the troubles bedeviling their societies, they elected to join with government as partners in national and community development. And boy, they have arisen with fervor and the movements have gone viral.

Government must encourage the mobilisation of high school alumni organisations as positive forces for educational and socio-economic change. Boasting members from diverse backgrounds, they are willing to lay their skills, personal resources and experiences at the disposal of their communities at practically no fee. I do not consider myself a hero, but I am happy to serve with such heroes at the Madiba Class of ’93. Week in and week out, we are thrilled with news of sister alumni entities formed or still being formed. A friend of mine told me about their work at Letlhakane Senior and another friend about theirs at Francistown Senior. I know of a handful others. All these, and the many others I cannot mention, have one common denominator. They are committed to their communities and to education. I am aware that the Ministry of Basic Education has taken note of this development. I am heartened by that recognition. I hold the firm view that if we can all return to our schools and communities through this model, it would be one less pain for our people.

Alumni entities are not the only entities doing voluntary work for their communities. Many people, and entities, groan under the weight of societal woes. The space allocated to this column would not carry their names and it would be a disservice to try and summarise their successes, setbacks and hardships in 900 words. From the family that opens their doors to the orphaned children next door to the under-resourced charity campaigning for women and children’s rights. From the police cluster volunteer to the young man or woman who has devoted his time to fighting drug and substance abuse. To the many, who soldier for variant causes for charity, I say keep the faith. You are the true heroes. Let us continue to love and to serve our country in our own private ways. That’s the first duty of a citizen.

Happy Independence day.

Chief On Friday




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