‘We love you Mr President’

Masisi interacts with Batswana living in the US

Disembark the subway train at the Grand Central located at Lexington Avenue and 42nd Street in downtown Manhattan, and you are in the busiest “Times Square”, whose landmarks include The New York Times.

The area is also home to the Broadway stage where live performances are held no matter the hour of the day.

Head east, four blocks and turn right in between the Lexington and Third avenues, but don’t jog or you might miss the address 154 on your right.

The Botswana Permanent Mission to the United Nations is housed at this address, and in there, a reverberating voice of an impassioned leader is piercing the reception area into the 46th Street, where on both sides, cars are packed like sardines in a can.

The organizers received 78 confirmations for this Sunday afternoon event but have run out of chairs after nearly 110 people, some travelling from as far as Washington D. C., Pennsylvania, upstate New York, Maryland, and Atlanta teemed in.

Here, you are counting medical doctors, pharmacists, dentists, optometrists, radiologists, radiographers, actuarial scientists, and in recent years, performing artists and humanities’ graduates that have launched their careers in the United States.

The young and vibrant citizens, upon whom taxpayers’ money was generously spent to educate them at American universities in the critical areas that our universities could not offer, have chosen to stay put after graduation.

They say, there was no hope to inspire them to return home.

Rockie Moncho flew in from Atlanta, Georgia – a good two-hour-flight to “meet and greet” the republic’s president Mokgweetsi Masisi.

“There is no single individual who can claim moral authority on conservation of our wildlife, when we have done it so well over the decades. We don’t need a lesson by anyone on how we must protect our wildlife. If these people are genuine about what they mean, they should concentrate in parts where citizens are less protected than wildlife. And there are countries they know so well,” says Masisi as he talks in reference to reports that 87 elephants have been killed in Botswana in recent months.

He continues; “Botswana by far, has the best protection of its wildlife. The anti-poaching unit is fully armed. We must not have people behaving like essayers. I categorically deny that there were any carcasses of the alleged 87 elephants. The DIS, the BDF, Prisons, and the Police over and above the anti-poaching unit are all involved in the protection of our species. I have not seen any country that has its whole security apparatus dedicated to the protection of its wildlife like Botswana. What you need to appreciate is that this is a smear campaign and whenever there is a campaign, it does not matter what kind, the truth is the number one casualty,” the room is buzzing with excitement, interjecting the President in his remarks.

President Masisi emphatically points out that the animal-people conflict is an ongoing challenge that his government cannot turn a blind eye to, and in the process of ensuring an ecological balance, he as a democrat, will continue to engage with the communities where these animals are found with the view to ensuring that firstly, the lives of the citizens are safeguarded, and that they coexist with the wildlife in the most tolerable manner.

“I will consult. Botswana was built on this concept of democracy even before the Westminster system. Our ancestors have always consulted those they led and I am a true believer in this leadership model. Those who adulterate the truth have their own agenda. But this is not their house; this is Botswana – a land of the Batswana. Ga se kwa ga Mmapereko. Ga re a tla go tshameka diketo.”

“If they find pleasure in playing games, they should limit it to their home environment. Enough is enough. I will consult and hear good advice to use it, not because I would want to return to power once my term is over. There is no permanent job at the presidency. I will gladly go away and rest in my retirement, so don’t be misled that I am putting a premium on consultation because I want to stay forever,” says Masisi amid applauses as he concludes his speech.

“Let me speak on my behalf and I believe on behalf of everyone – Mr. President and the First Lady, we love you,” says Moncho as he gets interrupted with engulfing cheers and ululations of endorsement. “There is so much positivism after a dark period. There is flicker of hope in our Botswana, and surely there is light at the end of the tunnel. This is our Botswana we have come of age knowing and I want to declare our love for you to restore it.”

“I love you all back. It will be remiss of me not to caution you to abide by all the laws of the American people. Don’t overstay and do not harbor relatives and friends who overstay. Stay away from trouble – be good citizens and represent us well, that is how a Motswana is described,” the President replies.

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