Home » News » News » Preview: The General: In the Service Of My Country

Preview: The General: In the Service Of My Country

Publishing Date : 30 March, 2015

Author : Masego Ramakgathi


Sir Donald McKinnon, former secretary general of the Commonwealth, in his foreword, described it as the compelling account of a life so well lived, with a strong political and personal legacy.
I agree. Absolutely!


In this book, Lt. Gen. Mompati Merafhe himself not only tackles a wide range of subjects from the Lesoma incident to the Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve (CKGR) issue to his relations with the private media and political opponents, but also reveals information that has never been put in public domain.


Born and raised in Serowe, his life changed dramatically when a confluence of circumstances put him in a police uniform as a Constable in pre-independence Botswana, before he was ultimately connected to the political power grid to become Botswana’s sixth vice president decades later.


The General, as he was fondly known to many, was the man, if any, to achieve such a feat. He had enormous intellectual ambition.


This book does more than tell The General’s personal story. It also traces Botswana’s history from the time he became conscious of his surroundings to the time he retired from public service in 2012 after 52 years of diligent service to the nation. To read through the first two chapters, is to be reacquainted with his humble beginnings and modest education.


There are other aspects of his early achievements as a police officer, prosecutor and army general. It is clear, for example, that he saw his task as one not of power but as a call to perform his duty “according to the will of his people and by the grace of God.”


His early days in party politics bring out the best in him. The General was no longer the combative army chief, but a rising political figure acutely aware of the political forces at play and of the pressures associated with party politics.


He shares his experiences about his maiden political campaign in Mahalapye, where he described his opponent “as a political novice of sorriest order” on the basis of the latter’s campaign methods. He says while his opponent questioned his kinship with the people of Mahalapye as he was from Serowe, he restricted his campaign pitch purely to issues of substance.


The General explains that the opposition candidate’s campaign was not based on serious self-evaluation but rather on political adventurism, adding that the latter was clearly the architect of his own defeat.


The book also takes you through his years as Botswana’s top diplomat and exceptional custodian of Botswana’s foreign policy, a task that will always be marked with distinction.  


As one commentator noted, this book is “...a wonderful store of knowledge about our beacon and guiding light in the diplomatic service, who transformed himself from being a army general to a consummate diplomat with the ability to take debates on global challenges to a higher level...”


You do not necessarily have to be knowledgeable or politically-conscious to realise that The General was one of the outstanding political figures within living memory. This book provides insight into the life of one of the most striking, interesting and influential figures of our times.


It is a story of a rare genius, who will without doubt stand high in the records of the fine achievement in the fields of Diplomacy and Leadership.


Towards the end, he shares his experiences as vice president and leader of the House. He reminisces about his exchanges with a youthful opposition politician, whom, by his own admission, did not come across as an adversary per se, but an otherwise brilliant and articulate son of the soil.


In his own words, Merafhe quips: “...it thrilled me beyond words that the free education that the BDP-led government provided was not going to waste if it could turn out products of such high intellectual acumen...”


In essence, this book gives an account of Botswana’s tireless, true patriot who will undoubtedly take his place in the roll of principled modern time leaders. No political figure in modern Botswana was ever the subject of more unremitting attention on the part of the media and social commentators. This is a refreshing and interesting read that shall leave everyone spellbound.

Cartoon

Polls

Do you think the courts will help put the UDC, BMD impasse within reasonable time ahead of the 2019 General Election?

banner_14.jpg
banner_12.jpg

POPULER BRANDS