Oh what a privilege that today my party, the Umbrella for Democratic Party, should accept the invitation to commune with our nation’s cultivators of knowledge Men & women whose lives are knowledge fountains from which our people, young and old, have drunken, continue to drink and will always drink
Our presence today is our response to your alter-call
Your gospel, our gospel, to bring the so richly deserved dignity & respect, to our nation’s teachers
The gospel to cultivate the seedbed of fair working conditions, decent wages, opportunity for all, including women
And importantly to propel the economy & living standards of our people by polishing the tools to groom the creative, well rounded, conscientious, self-driven, diligent & entrepreneurial young citizen
Our manifesto refers to this idea as the “education beehive”, the most important piece of our plans in the new Botswana.
We come to ask you to realize how much power you have
You are adequate, you are powerful beyond measure..
Let your light shine, so to permit others to shine as well, the words of a poet
“Education is the key to unlock the golden door freedom”
These are things we talk about during normal times, but
These are extraordinary and exceptional times
Here is our nation, our country, our people
Your people live in fear.
They don’t trust their own anymore
They speak in hashed and pained voices
Our good men and good women cant find their voice anymore
Their talent, diligence and integrity are sources of irritation to the rulers and those who govern our land
Sometimes our good men and women perish
And no one knows what happened to them
This is no freedom
Of course those who govern say there is peace and freedom
I ask for freedom, We ask for freedom, freedom for our people
I beg you, I beseech you, I conjure you, I plead with you, I cry unto you, a pray you the teachers of this nation, help bring back freedom, the freedom of our people
And that is all we have come to ask for, from you
*Gaolathe is the Secretary General, Umbrella for Democratic Change. He was speaking at the BOSETU elective congress last weekend in Palapye.