It is election season on our little patch of the Kalahari Desert, the 23rd of October is decision day . Most Batswana are still undecided for obvious reasons, political breakaways are abound this election season. Our quaint nation prides itself on being peaceful, consultative and understanding. This has been reflected by our political discourse before and after Independence. This year however it seems our politicians have forgotten the true essence of Botswana Politics. Maybe its time for refresher for Rre Masisi, Rre Boko and Rre Butale, I assume most Batswana would agree Rre Gaolatlhe is exempt from this list.
Our nation was built on the foundation of the Kgotla’s consultative discourse fused with modern institutions to create a democratic republic that has flourished for half a century. Undisturbed even by the air raids of the descendants of European settlers or the regime of Ian Smith to the north. We pride ourselves in being great negotiators and diplomatic in our nature. Like I said a very understanding bunch of people. 2019 marks another election year that most Batswana will expect to go as largely uneventful or “boring” as the BBC once called our national election. This year feels like the focus is more on particular candidates rather than “The people”. We have been accustomed to politicians hurling dirt at each other in the spirit of political jest, but this year the mudslinging has reached the general populace. We find ourselves at the “Marakanelo” that I can only assume Daniel Kwalagobe was referring to when speaking at Sir Kitumile Masire’s funeral in Kanye.
Politicians that used to humble themselves before the electorate now seem to have forgotten why we have this political ritual every 5 years. Our politicians across the spectrum spend most times focusing on their personal vendettas and misguided political moves that could jeopardise this nation that United Kingdoms that had been fragmented by similar bickering. Bathoen, Kgama and Sechele defied the odds to unite a little patch of desert to avoid the fate that befell our neighbours all around the Southern African region. It would be a waste to see the work that was centuries in the making go to waste because we the electorate fail to see the true cost of the upcoming election.
What is at stake? The very stability that now forms the core of our national brand, how can we forget the tumultuous history that would have befell our people if our leaders had spent their hours preoccupied with bickering. I understand that it is the nature of political discourse to defend your ideologies and what you believe to be right. If those political ideals threaten the very stage that allows you to do that then what use are your civil and political freedoms.
Our political leaders have forgotten their place, all across the spectrum. The democrats have forgotten that the reason they held on to power so long was because they delivered prosperity and solutions. Something that at the time was unprecedented, not just on the African continent but across the world. Since then our impressive achievements have been blind sided by the pitfalls of having a good thing that never ended. The new opposition movement have forgotten that as much as Batswana want major reforms and changes, not all of us are willing to sell our souls to achieve that. Our country is way more precious than their political ambitions.
What do we know? We are just mindless voters with the mark that distributes the collective power of almost a million people. There seems to be only one outlier in the progressive movement, but it too lacks the robust resources needed to make its voice heard across the country.No one can challenge the allure of Ndaba as president, but our election system is incompatible with the aspirations of most progressives.
Lastly there are the Patriots, Kgosikgolo and friends, rocking the boat for motives that still baffles political pundits across the country. Kgosikgolo’s defection is just a distraction that will ultimately benefit the democratic party more than anyone else. I would not want to get into conspiracy theories of how the vote splitting mostly hurts the opposition. That’ll have to wait until the election results are announced. SPOILER Alert! BDP can only win if the oppositions is fragmented.
I would like to appeal to the true deciders of the outcome of 23 October 2019, the registered voters. Think long and hard about where you place your trust this election. Seek sober advice from your well informed friends and cut out the political noise that pollutes the 2019 Election Cycle. The populist ideas of the UDC will not mend the underlying structural problems facing our economy overnight. Sisi Boy’s charm offensive is unlikely to craft an economy that redistributes its wealth well(Remember the BDP created this mess in the first place). Khama Magic will not change anything Kgosikgolo could not change under his presidency. If Kgosikgolo was rightfully concerned about the state of politics in our country, his 10 year presidency was enough time to make a difference.
We are at the proverbial “Marakanelo”. The same place our forefathers stood when they put aside their differences to protect the greater collective that we now call Botswana. It is not enough to let our collective emotional delusion make the decision, that is exactly what the politicians are preying on. A divided electorate. They see their chance to capitalise their own political agendas over our collective prosperity, health and development. Please remind me when did we start trusting politicians? We have always weighed results and outcomes, all of a sudden we are a nation so involved with the inner gossip of our political elites that we have lost focus of our own needs and priorities. A kalo batsadi.