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RUTH KEDIKILWE and MOSIDI MOKAEYA sift through the 2019 elections banter
It is the eve of the elections and the gloves are off, it is like the French Revolution all over again with Napoleon armed with canon bombs, rifles only this time there is social media. Leaders across the political divide are tearing each other apart grappling at literally any and everything to drive a wedge between voters and their opponents.
All is fair in love and war? Possibly if the mudslinging remained between opponents but it has somehow managed to infiltrate into the families of the candidates. Innocent people continue to fall victim of their dirty laundry being aired and the best (worst) tool in politics that is propaganda, has it always been like this or the advent of social media and the disintegration of the moral fiber made it possible to freely politic about the spouses, children, parents and even fertility (or lack of it thereof) of candidates all in the name of garnering votes.
Speaking on this matter, spokes person for the Umbrella For Democratic Change, Moeti Mohwasa blamed it on the decline in political education and lack of respect and tolerance. Mohwasa further stated that, “The absence of comprehensible manifesto by certain organizations has also led to them seeking refuge in insults to disguise the shallowness or lack of depth in their policy offering.” Mohwasa described this deplorable situation as regrettable and further encouraged by the unconventional methods of politics. “It is time that political parties and national leaders came together to deal with this unfortunate situation which continues to introduce us to a very bad culture,” said Mohwasa.
Chairperson of the Botswana Democratic Party Communications Subcommittee Kagelelo Kentse alludes that most of the people given a chance at the podium lack the propensity of engaging in issue based politics hence they resort to dragging the names of their opponents in the mud. He however also pointed out that it is important to be cognizant of the fact that entering into the public space by vying for political office leaves you vulnerable to public scrutiny which will ultimately drag out any skeletons you may have in the closet.
One may argue that the campaigns may have always been like this the only difference is the voters got younger, more educated and there are more permanent platforms that utterances are left on like social media as opposed to them being left at the freedom squares. Voters are digging deep in the gutters from as far as the 2009 elections to compare and contrast the sentiments of the candidates. Case in point the current courtship between UDC leadership with the very Botswana Patriotic Front leadership they once vowed to persecute is awaiting their anticipated cotillion should they ascend to power on October 23rd.
One may wonder what may at the end of the day earn the politician the vote. It seems the modern voter has lost sight of the meaning of why a political figure should deserve their vote as they get lost in the banter. Cheering on politicians depending on whose blow was the lowest at the last rally. Without seeming to be judgmental politicians have been loved for all sorts of shallow reasons; how many beers they have bought potential voters at the bar, who had brought the most fire wood at the funeral and trivial as it may seem who is the most good looking.
There are many opportunists in the political sphere popularly referred to as swing voters, there is no clear indication of where they fall and very often manipulate candidates into believing they are on their side meanwhile they could be sleeping with the enemy. They rarely ever seem concerned about the long term implications of them not appreciating the importance of voting and are probably the guiltiest of voter apathy.
The battle lines have been drawn, Batswana go to the polls on October 23rd 2019 and may the ‘best’ Party win!