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We are one Great Nation

Publishing Date : 12 November, 2019

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It is no longer the Botswana of the pre-colonial, colonial era or pre-independence. The generations of that time were different from us; they handled matters in a manner indicative of their time.

We live today, in a country that stretched from 10km of tarred road to hundreds of thousands of bitumen laden roads and many more fascinating modern developments – free education has been the biggest blessing for most of us. Therefore we can’t expect people populating Botswana today to agree on everything all the time. It is healthy to differ, it is a normal to agree to disagree, our people, especially those who are profiling themselves for higher offices, should know this. It is simple as that.

Difference of opinion should not lead to hate – it should not lead to mustered ideas of wishing another person did not exist – it should not ignite malice or mudslinging on the other person. We must be happy we have Botswana, a country where diversity and pluralism dominate despite a mere population of 2 million people. We must manage our differences and ordain our civility with the way we engage one another.

Life is definitely not what you imagine of it, it is what you make of it, it is what you live; it is how you deal with the now and how you plan for the future. Our conversations today will sketch our future. A democratic country like ours should not appear to ooze with people who hate being questioned, or worse, who hate alternative ideas. We must promote a fertile ground for contestation of ideas. At the end of the day, democracy, that which has held us tight for the past 53 years or so, should be the winner.

We all have ideas, but not all of them see the light of day. Some are stillborn, because they will never be discussed at any forum; while some are born premature hence they never succeed at the first hurdle of debate; and lastly some fail along the way and are defeated. It is life – a contest – one that dictates that we accommodate one another amidst all the differences.  Batswana should manage their opinions; be it in the social platforms, political hassle, or in the economic front.

Our opinions will always generate differences, therefore let no emotion, and let no adrenalin overtake your brain. We must learn as a people to control our tongues for they are always ready to spit no matter the situation. Disparaging labels on others, especially the neutrals, for the sake of grand standing is tantamount to inciting violence against them. Botswana should not at any point reach a stage where we kill one another just because we could not agree at the table or at radio mall.

Democracy dies when we start disliking those who think differently from us. Democracy dies when we start suppressing divergent views. Democracy dies when we start hating the ballot. Democracy dies when we start quarantining dialogue. Democracy dies when we start holding secret meetings to discuss how to muzzle others. Democracy dies when we stop loving one another – the old adage, as old as the rivers and mountains, love your neighbour…Botswana is a true definition of diversity, let us not fail at the last hurdle.

It is clear there are simmering cold wars, some defined, some are undefined. At the end of the day our leaders should take the lead and usher us into tranquillity. Let every man be, but cognisant of the rights of the next man! We hear a lot of things but what matters is the truth. Batswana should manage their differences better – and our political space will be a much better place.