Thato Best Dineo
Lerala/Maunatlala BDP Youth Chair
The past 18 months with President Mokgweetsi Masisi being at the helm of our Nation has been characterised by some push back and rejection some from the ruling party and opposition. For any leader, they come in with their own school of thought; they have their road maps and plan for the country for their term.
I was yet to be born during the founding President reign, but it is no secret that during his time he was a man on a mission. He was on a mission to build a nation that had nothing; he had to build schools, roads, hospitals, educate and train teaching and health workers most importantly. It’s no doubt he did it exceptionally well, and it is the reason we are where we are now, having been able with years due to his road map after independence been able to now having different professions and all contributing immensely in our today’s economy.
During Masire’s reign, i was just a little boy in diapers. I had no idea I would be able to observe things around and formulate an opinion. I understand he was passionate about agriculture; he pushed and encouraged Batswana to be able to fend and produce for themselves, something that to date we still do. Batswana ba lema, ba kgona go ja ebe ba rekisa. He found a way too that could contribute to the economy and help Botswana grow and be stable during tough times.
Festus Mogae, my all-time favourite, took HIV/AIDS head on and pulled all stops to save the nation – our small population from being wiped off due to the epidemic. He fought for and ensured free health care most importantly free provision of ARVs to the infected. It was during his reign that programmes such as Prevention from Mother to Child were put in place – all in the best interest of our country. Mogae was bold and had to do whatever it took to maintain the country and its people.
Lt Gen Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama came in while I was completing my Junior Certificate. His ascendency came with so much excitement and hope, especially among old folks. When the world was hit by recession in 2008 international organisations put pressure on Botswana to cut down in labour force. Khama stood firm and put his head on the block and flatly refused to accede. He came with initiatives such as "Poverty Eradication and wanted to see every Motswana being able to fend for themselves through their skills. He was a darling to mostly rural folks and probably a thorn among urban folks and working class. Khama ruled with an iron fist, but I believe it was all out of love for his people. His style of rule did not appeal to some Batswana, most especially the youth. He stood by his methods and led the nation.
Then Dr Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi behold came the man. President Masisi, just like past Presidents, has his own plans and ideas. Why then should he be dictated to on what to do? It shouldn’t be your predecessor who claims to carry his plan.
Masisi appeals to the youthful lot and the elderly as he resonates with the two groups with ease. A lot of youth, who for the past years have been roaming the streets with no hope and desperation have now come alive because President Masisi comes across as a leader who is in touch with current trends and the youth plight, and if that is what he has to do to keep the BDP in power, then he has to do it to drive the nation. And as a nation we must stand firm and support Masisi and protect the peace that Botswana is known for.
President Masisi just has boosted BDP’s popularity vote in the just ended General elections, and already there are rumours that opposition claim elections were rigged. I’m not in any way saying they shouldn’t complain if they feel otherwise. I’m pleading that may the way they do it should not incite people to rebel against the government. We may take these things lightly and just sit at our homes, Facebook or tweet about them, making jokes about it and throwing jabs and insults at those who feel hard done, but my inner guts are telling me we might find ourselves in a situation we have never been in before. Especially when we have someone like former President also alleging that elections were rigged. Lt Gen Khama still has massive influence and following and uttering such statements in what seemed to be a rally in Okavango constituency has potential to throw our country into a shocking state.
We must love our country more than we love any individual and protect it from all that might disturb its peace. No country started off as a warzone; at some point there were as peaceful as Botswana and took all that for granted. Let’s us protect our country!