Somebody needs to talk to this nation

SHARE   |   Sunday, 10 August 2014   |   By Ephraim Keoreng
UDC youth at the memorial UDC youth at the memorial THOMPSON GOBOPANG

At a time when the nation is mourning and the political cimate is poisoned by accusations and counter-accusations of foul play in Gomolemo Motswaledi’s death, there is need for real political finesse and frugality. The recent booing of Botswane Democratic Party (BDP) MPs like Botsalo Ntuane and the way in which assistant Minister Gaotlhaetse Matlhabaphiri was removed by angry youths at Motswaledi’s funeral service is a very serious matter that needs not to be ignored or just dismissed as mere hooliganism. It is an unwelcome behaviour of course, but we should not just dismiss it. It is a spark of underlying subterranean currents that have been allowed to simmer for too long. This calls for true leadership. A real leader should stand up and talk to the nation; assure them that the investigations into Motswaledi’s death are on-going and that a report into what happened will be released to the public. This is what Motswaledi would have done. 

The death of the most influential individual, especially under unclear circumstances, will always give rise to controversy. This scenario, if left unattended to, is also likely to see people reaching various conclusions, leading to the emergence of various conspiracy theories as has been happening. Motswaledi's death, where his car was found by the road side, in the Ramatlabama border road, with minimal damages on its fenders, while it looked intact both at the front and at the back, has raised all sorts of theories. At a time when the nation is going for elections and given the man's painful political history, some of his allies in the opposition have concluded that their man has been a victim of a pre-planned murder. It was pre-meditated, they argue. It could have been just a road accident that claimed his life. But Motswaledi was not your ordinary politician and the extraordinary circumstances around his death and questions that are still being asked need to be answered in time to put everyone at ease, knowing that there was no foul play and that all is well. 

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We are talking about man of the people, a real patriot whose love for this republic has been without question throughout his life. It is no wonder that at his funeral, the whole of Serowe, where he originates from, was so full that you would have thought it was the funeral of a state president. Even deputy Prime Minister of Lesotho, Methojoa Metsing came and gave a moving speech about the Motswaledi that he knew and interacted with in the terrain of politics. 

When you look at his background, he was a man who had endeared himself to the people; both the ordinary and extra-ordinary folks knew and liked him as one would love their son or brother. He was amiable. He was a man who made time to chat with you; a man who started a big influential choir, KTM Choir, while in his early 20s, harnessing young talents and grooming young people to become responsible young adults in their various professional lives. 

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His father, addressing mourners on Friday that while two weeks old, in 1970, he called Sheleng, a virtuoso of folklore music, to come an serenade the infant with his rendition. The young child slept fitfully only to wake up to Sheleng’s music which went on until in the evening. Thus began his initiation in music, giving rise to a powerful music icon.

Motswaledi is said to have loved music such that while at primary school he would, while sent by his mother to buy something at the shops, go singing and conducting an imaginary choir, only to forget what he had been sent to buy at the shop, causing him to go back home only to get a good hiding from his mother, who felt that he was too playful. At times, his passion for music, was so intense such that those close to him were worried that the man was going crazy.  He went on to form KTM Choir, at the age of 23, which has since become household name.

Even his passion for politics elicited similar fears; that he was too radical and challenged the status quo especially after the infamous BDP Kanye Conference that saw him elected to the powerful post of Secretary General. When he felt that the party was taking a different route as opposed to the rule of law and democratic principles, he was not amused. He went on to take the party leader to court, making history as secretary general of da ruling party taking the president of the party and republic to court! It was unprecedented and people respected him and some feared for him. He had taken a lonely road of challenging the most powerful man in the country, President Ian Khama over what he felt were unfair and undemocratic practices. The man was at the height of his political power, being the secretary general and when other people would have chosen to keep quiet about their concerns and enjoyed the powerful position which among others set the young man for the plum post of the presidency in the future, Motswaledi listened to his conscience and sought the courts for answers. However, as fate would have it, he lost the case because in Botswana the President is protected by the constitution from suits.



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