I look back at 2014 as a dark year. It was a bad, bad year in all sorts of ways. It was the year of numerous deaths, the year of the BDP bulldog shouting mosuntubaki and sekadikadi in the north, and the Mummy returned in the Mass Media complex. This year we lost the leader of the BMD Gomolemo Motswaledi in a car accident, or an alleged car accident, as doubters would say. His lifeless body was found in an Audi A3 on the Phitshane Road. Shock and wonder, tears and fear. Utter disbelief! Unanswered questions. The nation wept for its finest son, he whole nation went through its blackest night, during its lowest and darkest hour. The knight was a broken man who declared in self and national consolation: “gatwe go swa motho, go sale motho”. The Harvard man on a podium declared poignantly: Ecce Homo… ‘behold [the] man’. On that night, on a historical Ngwato village of Khama III the people’s knight rested “his body to that pleasant country’s earth, And his pure soul unto his captain Christ, Under whose colours he had fought for so long”. He rested in the company of the heroes and heroines of the world and in the company of our nation’s departed. His father eloquently posed that rhetorical question: “La reng ka seo?” Over night a song crafted in French evangelism amongst the Basotho became a national hymn. Morena o ba etele, Bana bohle ba lefifi, Lesedi le ba chabele, Ka bophara ba lefatshe. 2014 was a very bad year indeed. It was the year that Brooks Monnaanoka died. Brooks had established himself as a radio legend, especially as one who had introduced, presented and sustained the Saturday rock and roll program. This year another national hero, Justice Julian Nganunu passed away after 13 years as Botswana’s Chief Justice and having served as a Judge of the High Court for five years. We lost a national hero who distinguished himself as one of Botswana’s great legal minds and visionary leader. 2014 was indeed a dark year. On Saturday November the 8th, we buried my friend and UB classmate, Laona Segaetsho, at Phomolong in Phakalane. We committed his body to the belly of the earth. Eleven years ago when I married Shinie Lekoko, he stood beside me as my best man. Laona Segaetsho married his wife on the 27th March 2014 and seven months later lost his life in a tragic boat accident in Lake Ngami. Seven months later there was an uneaten wedding cake that had to together with the coffin be committed to the belly of the earth with the departed journalist. Laona Segaetsho is gone too soon. He leaves behind a distraught pregnant wife with a young son. She is now left to grapple with complex existential questions of life.
This year the dark cloud also landed in Maun. The BDP’s 32-year-old Alec Seametso – a Mongwaketse man from Ntsweng crashed into prominence first when his pictures taken on a BDF plane during a trip to a BDP politically rally in Ghanzi flooded social media. His most unflattering image showed him with his right hand on his bulging belly and in the words of one Wynter Mmolotsi “e ka re o a sellega”. Second, he delivered a speech in which he attacked and lampooned, Kgosi Tawana Moremi of the Batawana. Not only was Kgosi Tawana attacked, Kentse Rammidi was dismissed contemptuously as sekadikadi and mosuntubaki, Duma Boko was called mothwana while Seametso accused the late Kgosi Bathoen II of the Bangwaketse of go latlhega and go gogela batho mo lefifing. He didn’t stop there. He called the dignified morafe of the Batawana, a most demeaning label: Matawana. For all these reproachable acts he has now been rewarded with a Specially Elected council seat in the Southern District Council and further elevated to the Deputy Chair seat of the Southern District Council. He is now the Honourable Councillor.
2014 was a nasty year. It was the year Edgar Tsimane, the 43-year-old Senior Reporter at the Sunday Standard and The Telegraph newspapers fled from his own country seeking asylum in neighbouring South Africa. From the other side of the border he declared: “I love my family; I love my country; I love my job, but I fear my government.” The dark cloud then shifted to the Editor of Sunday Standard, Outsa Mokone, and he was slapped with sedition charges. He was charged with sedition under Sections 50 and 51 of the Penal Code. The charges were in connection with a story in which the Sunday Standard newspaper claimed the president was involved in a road traffic accident. It isn’t clear now if the government is pursuing the matter against Mokone.
This was also a dark year for the BDP. First to fall were its old guard during its primaries. In the South Peter Siele and Moeng Pheto were defeated while in the north Skelemani and Pono Moatlhodi bit the dust. More were to fall in the general elections. The legendary Daniel Kwelagobe, who first went into parliament before Gomolemo Motswaledi was born, lost to the UB academic Dr. Mmatli, while Matlhabaphiri was defeated by Mahommed Khan. For the first time since independence, the BDP formed government with a popular vote of less than 50%. Then there was Madam Speaker Sir whose publication irked some leading to the defeat of Margaret Nasha in her campaign for the position of Speaker of the National Assembly. In the Mass Media complex the mummy returned. Before long the mummy had been slapped and repeatedly floored in a catfight. This is the year that De Beers Botswana Chief Executive Officer and former Minister of Trade and Industry, Neo Moroka Moroka allegedly shot and killed a Tsabong man on April 22, 2014 at his farm, after he allegedly mistook the man for a dog. Then there was The hands up case in the High Court! Dear reader, this was a dark, dark year! Shall it get any darker?!