We can learn from Brazil’s leader of opposition’s death by accident

SHARE   |   Sunday, 20 July 2014   |   By Gobe Pitso
Motswaledi Motswaledi

Recently a majority of us watched with deep concern when the passing of a local politician was turned into a fray by many in political circles for reasons best known to them. Our national values of integrity, civility and constructive engagement had somehow eluded us during this period. As public officers with different tasks, it is our responsibility from time to time to highlight critical issues where we think the public good needs to benefit. 

Against this backdrop, it was while we were witnessing the aforementioned fray that Brazil lost a member of the opposition, leader of the Brazilian Socialist Party and also Presidential candidate in the 2014 upcoming Presidential elections Mr Eduardo Campo in a tragic plane crash. 

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According to reports from Brazil, officials said the pilot had aborted a landing due to poor weather and was attempting to change course. All seven people aboard perished, including the pilot and co-pilot, a reporter, a photographer and two of Mr. Campos' campaign aides.

Mr Campos, who was 49 years old, was a two-time Governor of Pernambuco State in northeast Brazil. He hailed from a left-wing political dynasty. In a tragic coincidence, he died on the anniversary of the death of his grandfather, Miguel Arraes, a former Governor and major figure in the opposition in the 1960s and 1970s.

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He was a leftist who was also friendly to business and tough on crime. Mr. Campos had hoped to appeal to both progressives and fiscal conservatives, but his campaign had trouble gaining traction. A recent poll had shown him with about 8% of the likely vote, a distant third behind Ms. Rousseff, the Brazilian President and her main rival, Aécio Neves of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party.

At the time of his passing Brazilians came together to mourn the passing of the Mr Campos to respect his integrity and cherish his memory, something that I think, from casual observation, we failed dismally at as a country as underscored by recent events. One welcomes the comments from Ditshwanelo - the Centre for Human Rights and associated organization in their recent press release in relation to the matter. 

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It is however; perhaps critical to underline that as a society we are better than what obtained recently in this regard. Vision 2016 belongs to all Batswana across the political divide, and we ought to live the values espoused therein. Integrity, civility and constructive engagement is not alien to our society, our kgotla system enriches our culture and is the envy of many across the globe. We should, against this backdrop, be able to introspect, learn from this incident and also learn a few things from others on such matters. 

We have seen other countries live and achieve their Visions like Singapore and Malaysia. If we were to dissect some of these issues, such as why they succeeded and why we ought to emulate them? We will perhaps find that they did not implement or live their Visions selectively. Their values, as inscribed in their Visions had become part of their culture.  Le rona ke tsaya gore, we can do better.

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*Pitso is the Press Secretary to the President.



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