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Salvation for cash - Even for enlightened Batswana
Rejoice Ngwenya
February 04, 2013

My last visit to Gaborone was in the late 1980s. Subsequent trips terminated in Francistown. Mitigating devastating effects of President Robert Mugabe-s Kamikaze pricing policies! Looking in from outside, Gaborone is a bustling cosmopolitan endowed with surreal imagery. At first glance, one is struck with a feeling that President 'Retired Lieutenant General Sir Seretse Khama- Ian Khama has succeeded in galvanising this vast Southern African nation around the values of growth and stability. You are tempted to assume good governance, as inherited from Sir Seretse Khama, founder of the Botswana Democratic Party [BDP], is steeped in the traditional kgotla system. Grassroots democratic and development discourse.

But opposition politicians - particularly Gilson Saleshango-s Botswana Congress Party [BCP] and rival Duma Boko-s Botswana National Front [BNF] - may not equate BDP to Zimbabwe-s ZANU-PF - that habitually predatory human rights offender. However, President Ian Khama, like President Robert Mugabe, is considered a benevolent dictator. The BDP-s Back to School policy has been labelled populist electoral gimmickry. It is said, just like in ZANU-PF, tenderpreneurship creates a ruling elite commandeering Botswana into a corruptive vote-buying abyss. Satar Dada - like Emerson Mnangagwa of ZANU-PF - has been fingered by opponents for pushing the ruling party in the trail of selfish materialism.

Outside this hullabaloo of political bickering, a 'refugee- from Zimbabwe would still feel secure in serene rural Mochudi [Botswana] than toxic Mashonaland Central [Zimbabwe]. The fierce political rivalry in Botswana breeds contempt but certainly not violence. Nonetheless, spasms of xenophobic behaviour from Tswana hosts are frequent, especially against Zimbabwean men. Who can blame them? Zimbabwean males flaunt around an aura of self-righteous, conquer all machismo that irritates even the most tolerant of all. The influx of an alien breed of Homo erectus with capacity to lure women via the path of least emotional resistance is our undoing! After all, when your government treats you like trash, those you escape to toss you into the dust bin.

At one time Batswana were 'poorer- than us - despised as semi-literate pastoralists desperate for 'enlightenment-. Strange enough, opposition leaders feel that Batswana-s paralytic subservience to the Khama dynasty resulted from Seretse-s marriage to Ruth Williams - a white British woman who instilled a sense of 'assimilado- with all-things British in them. As a result, Batswana struggle to contend with white supremacy. Once Ian and his two twin brother siblings decide to marry 'another white whomen- - street lingo - we might as well kiss the Ngwato black legacy goodbye!

My own opinion is that Botswana is economically galloping. Zimbabwe - currently burdened with a political contraption called indigenisation - stands paralysed by debilitating authoritarian dictatorship. ZANU-PF is allergic to economic advancement, obsessed with property plunder. Botswana boasts electrified homes from Ramokgwebana to Mafeking, with dual carriage ways that make Zimbabwe-s main roads look something like Roman cobblestone strips. Well-lit streets, dustbins in public buses, 'loud- colourful billboards, late model cars and pothole free roads are the rule. Careless garbage disposal is punishable by law - hence Botswana-s clean surroundings. The occasional 'peep peep- by over enthusiastic 'kombi- drivers, cluttered plastic market stalls are crude reminder that one is not far from Zimbabwe. Astronomical internet browsing rates in five-star hotels is not exactly an example of enlightened African hospitality either!

Yet Botswana, like my 'poor- Zimbabwe, has not been spared the deluge of vote-buying patronage and faith healing 'salvation-for-cash- crusades. I would have thought Batswana are more discerning. But then again, being liberal that I am, individual choice is the sole determinant of one-s destiny. If Batswana have enough disposable incomes to 'buy salvation- from rampaging crusaders of 'false gospel truths- - it is their sacrosanct, democratic choice.

My only advice to Zimbabweans is that wealth creation is no gospel miracle but hard work. We have to learn from Botswana that good national governance, political tolerance and respect for citizenry have everything to do with advancement. Praise-singing and blind fanaticism is a curse. No amount of succumbing to cult leaders will transform Africans into overnight millionaires. 'David Koresh-type- lustful materialism, vote-buying can only be described as criminal deception. But then who am I? I merely observed how, like we Zimbabweans, gullible Batswana are now exposed to 'dirty money-. For once, I have to convince them that there is no political or spiritual salvation in cash.

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