..and here is what he has to say
“Thank you and goodbye Democrats,
My friends and well-wishers, the time has come for me to wind down my stay of service to the BDP. Thank you for the support and the love you’ve shown me over the years. After careful consideration I have decided to cease with my membership of the Botswana Democratic Party. The passion and the zeal with which I have canvassed for and sold the party has irretrievably waned. I seek not to invite discord over my departure.
I leave to go to fight for the same ideals I joined the BDP seeking to advance: the development of our country for the collective good of all its people. This is my dutyof citizenhip. When you come from parts of the country that some of us come from, each time you go home Gwaa looks at you and you also see him. Koketso is there and so is David. If you’re with conscience, they get you asking yourself if we have done enough and if we are honest to them, and their vote.They prick your conscience. I still have conscience. I worry a lot about these people. I live with them. I grew up with them. I must answer them candidly with honest answers. But I now fail to answer them, to give them hope. Is there hope that the next day will be better for them? It is this very question that drew me to politics, had me leave a plumb job and run for Parliament.
The truth is this question remains. Prior to the election and for some time now, I nurtured the belief that we would get to the answer. I no longer believe we have the answer to the question within the BDP. Given this, I cannot deny my conscience a home any much longer. Remember that Julius Malema says " conscience when it leaves you it never says Goodbye."
Where will we go this summer? This is a question a young Bjorn asks his father Ragnar Lothbrok. In this sequel by Michael Hirst, Ragnar answers, ‘The Earl decides.He owns the ships. He will send us to the east, as always, to the Baltic lands. But I want to know what is to the west… what cities and gods are there… see, I am not satisfied with this… '
He then seeks after his brother Rollo and empahsizes ‘that’s why we should sail to the west. I have heard such tales Rollo… great cities and towns, treasures; hordes of gold, silver…..’ So then began the scourge of England and France as the Vikings descended. I want to see what lies on the other side and what value we could bring to the people.
So I want to thank you democrats. For the fellowship, for the good times. For those whom I encouraged or in one way or another pushed to join the BDP, those to whom I sold a dream of transformation and a better Republic for all, I sincerely apologize. But I must say, all i said was what I honestly believed we would get to do with our competent cadres and a generally educated population. I never for one day sold you something I actually knew would not be. My departure in no way ends our friendship unless you so choose to end our association as human beings.
To Lesang, Bontsi, Jojo and others, I am truly sorry I must go. How I wish we had met much earlier! I hope President Masisi will trust you to help him steer this organization back to what it should be and whom it should be for the sake of the wretched of the Republic. You are guys with a plan and I know you mean well for the party and for the Republic.
To the many Stallions, especially to Galegake Keoraletse, Keitumetse John and many of you who took to us before we became fashionable, I wish to say Thank you. We have spoken. This decision is for you and your children. It’s for our brothers and sisters. We have agonized over this and the time has come for decision. Matters that need decision were never meant to be dragged on. Our bonds are strong.
For the sane amongst us, our relationships shall remain in place. For the many hopelessly deprived and underprivileged, so twisted as to think your fitting role/place is to insult and abuse people on social media for exercising their freedom of expression and not denying their conscience a home, go right ahead.
To President Masisi, thank you for the good and bad times and good luck in leading the Republic. I harbor no ill will. That said, I believe the country now needs to fundamentally change direction. You need to hear the cries of the people out in the streets. See their faces and feel their pain in their hearts. Start with those who surround you who feel muted, who cry to outsiders. They are deeply worried, not for you only but for the country.
I do not believe change would destroy the Republic. It would rather bring out the best for our country as no one would act with impunity; each side would treat Gwaa and Koketso with a little more respect and consideration. They would matter more for one would know that they serve at the pleasure of these citizens.
Our duty of citizenship is to do for those in communities we come from, who need a hand the most. For those of us who have been fortunate enough to see the other side, it is vain to not be moved by the plight of the fellow citizen back in our communities. I answer now as the toll of citizenship blights my ears. Now is the time to answer; to step up to this duty of citizenship no matter the perils.
What is a duty of citizenship if not service to Gwaa? If not working to ensure that he himself understands what it is that holds him back and how it is that he may be emancipated from the shackles that hold him back?
Frederick Douglas said it in 1852 in his ‘What to the Slave is the fourth of July’ speech. I quote, ‘I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you this day, rejoice are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence bequeathed by your fathers is shared by you, not by me...This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems... Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak today?’
These words echo and I ask what to the wretched of the plains of the Makgadikgadi, is the success story that is our country. And if I am to party and rejoice in the gains of our country, I must simultaneously think of those we have been left behind. I must have consideration for those dwelling in little more than mud and wattle huts seemingly forgotten. Deliberately.
With more of us giving a hand to the course of change for the better, the contestation of ideas will only be enhanced. It is not out of hate for no man or woman, but out of a desire to see better for those that need help the most. They are hungry. They are too trusting. They tend to think we mean what we say. It is to these segments of our citizenry that I would like to be of service to for the foreseeable future.
Mr President, I do not pretend to be a messiah or anything larger than what I am. But I would like to fight with them at Njuutshaa. I would want to be by their side in Lepashe as they get imprisoned by two rivers whenever it rains because we are failing to construct a mere bridge for them, to be with them as they battle for survival each and every day at Manxotae, to help them see it at Mosetse that they need not drink incredibly salty water that you cannot make tea without the milk coagulating; I would like to be out there at Tshwaane-Malelejwe with these, our people as they wake up to tend to other people’s livestock for a bag of maize meal.
It is now my duty to go be next to Mr Mokotedi at Kutamogore and give him a hand as he seeks answers for food rations not reaching many of them, for so many young boys and girls loitering around without income. I would like to go ride horses with the cowboys that tend to look after cattle in the plains and pans of the cradle of human kind that is the Makgadikgadi and have conversations with them about why it could all be better and why it is not.
I would want to be in a position to say it to them that it need not be that their children only ever dream of becoming cattle herders for the children of others; it is my intention to be with them at Nata and Dukwi-for the youth bulge massed there to know that it need not be that they wake up and ask themselves what they will have for lunch, and who will be insulting them later for always asking for a pint of beer. That they need not be unemployed way into their 40s.
Mr President, I do not think Budani and his good fellas at Sepako should be drinking really dark water from the wells sunk in the sands as elephants and cattle. And yes, I would like it for Shororo and Maria at Gweta, Zoroga and Tsokotshaa to know that they need not have fear in their hearts each time rain clouds gather thinking that their houses will be swept away by floods when towns and cities are built on huge rivers properly leveed.
I wish for you to let me go now so I can go be with them at Sowa where mounds of salt get ferried eastwards via train Tirelo is unemployed and we are not even able to allocate land for Matshidiso to startup a business to merely packaged the salt right in Sowa or for another to build a home.
Mr President, these were the dreams we shared, the ties that bound us together day and night. These are the shared dreams that energized us to go out and tell these people you are ‘the guy next door’. It is with pain and sadness that I have come to acknowledge that these people will not see these things as it is. And it is for this that I must go. NOW.
I like fine things of life. I have seen the other side Mr President but I am born of the peasantry; of the poor and wretched of our country and it is to them that I must now go back- to work and fight alongside. Many of those that changed the course of history were boys and girls who set aside the instinct for self-preservation and went through shadows of valleys of great danger and peril out out of loyalty, love, and an abiding faith in the possibility of greater happiness for all.
I by no means say all problems in this country are of your doing but you had given hope that these would be taken care of. You have a pen, a powerful signature to change many of these problems. But that hope is now like a candle in the wind. It cannot be held on to. And so I must go. I want to go and be a fighter (politically), a revolutionary for our people. I am a human being. Human beings are because they have a soul, and are capable of compassion and the necessary sacrifice. It is here that I am now. And I shall endure.
What conversations we have had over the years, what may have been confided and or discussed, I go to the grave with. So, there should never ever be worry or thinking what my departure means. It means just one thing: my Conscience!I do not betray friends and associates. If I had truly liked you and given all of me to you, you must know it was deep. I only seek to take the side to which I probably (by parentage to borrow words from the other day) rightfully belong. Once again thank you Mr. President.
To the forces of change, I come without preconceptions. I do not expect a bed of roses. I come to roll up my sleeves and fight by your side. I come to learn and also contribute to the collective effort to birth something better, something more inclusive and profitable for Gwaa and others whom we have left behind. As usual, I will give the best of me. What spaces or roles there are to play, I will play.
Have no fears that I come to take. I have nothing I have kept that side to come and take. Hold my hand as your brother and teach me. I am quite teachable and I act with sincerity. I believe in being my brother’s keeper. Most of all, I come to help the course of the people who need help the most in our Republic. I should hope that’s what you also stand for. I will not and I cannot teach you the struggle for I find you long in the trenches. But I will give you a steady hand.
To Mr. Joe Linga, thank you for always being an affable gentleman. I value your counsel deeply. Once again, we shall work from the same side. I am excited.
To my departed sister and confidante Roseline Panzirah Matshome; tears sting my eyes at the thought of you. But I am here now. Finally. But you are not here to rejoice in our reunion. I do not know what it is like over there but I sure hope you’re in your version of Valhalla. Please watch over us. Let’s see what the other side brings. It is time.
The universe takes care of its own.
Lawrence Ookeditse of Mosetse Village, Nata-Gweta.”