A Democracy of Unprincipled Politicians
by Agreement Jotia
Botswana’s contemporary politics has of late revealed stunning political hypocrisy by those claiming to be representatives of the masses. Never in the history of this democracy have we seen this kind of political gimmick whereby politicians change their ideology, colour, political jargon and ultimately end up appearing rather foolish before the eyes of the very people they are supposed to be leading. Such kind of acts are a true reflection that we are led by people who lack political principles and who easily get blown by the wind depending on where the so-called greener pastures are planted or depending on who is offering what. So it is simple, I have said this before in my previous subscriptions that ours is a democracy which is so much populated with leaders whose interests are their bellies rather than the welfare of the masses. Politics of the stomach-period! There might be an atom of thin exceptions may be. We are at a political juncture where political hypocrisy is becoming destructive and very dangerous to the democratic project. I refuse to buy into the cheap thinking that people are flip-flopping from one-party to the next as a way of exercising their democratic right. Yes, I am aware of the issue of rights in a democracy but what we see happening is a clear indication that our so-called politicians and leaders take the electorates so much for granted to the extent that they think the electorates are lunatics whose minds can just be played around with like puppets. The very people who claim to be champions of democracy are doing the evil thing of showing the electorates how to lie or even to demonize other people baselessly.
Folks, these politicians are a joke. It is an open secret that President Khama is one unfortunate person in the history of this democracy who has been vilified with all the kinds of words you can think of. We were told by the very people who are part of his government and those in the opposition that he is a brutal dictator, a man who does not respect other people’s opinions, a man who has abused state resources, a man who doesn’t care about the welfare of the people, a man who is this and that, a man who nobody on earth would like to work with blah..blah..blah and God knows what else. And now listening to the hypocritical turn-around of the language we hear repentant statements such as; Yah, we are committed to this democracy, Yes President Khama is the best person you would love to work with, President Khama is a good listener, President Khama is a very forgiving person, President Khama is the only President who really cares about the welfare of the people, President Khama is like Jesus, President Khama ke botate, President Khama this…President Khama that…My goodness! Where are political moral principles? The very President Khama you vilified is all of a sudden your angel as well as your superman; really?
I don’t think people are that stupid to fail to read between the lines that you were telling lies about the President so as to appear better before the eyes of the electorates or so that you can reach your economic driven political destinies. Why don’t you guys just open-up to the masses and tell them that you were just sinning against the President not knowing that life out there can be tough without him? Just tell it as it is and stop wishy-washing about issues-Batswana are not that dumb such that they can fail to understand that this so-called leaders are just after fulfilling their socio-economic agendas rather than truly representing the innocent people. You know at times I wonder, if President Khama were to decide to corporally punish all those flip-floppy politicians who said evil things about him, for many of them their backs would be rotten by now and may be that will be a good lesson to the nation especially our children that you just don’t carelessly use your mouth against someone as a way of trying to be smart or so that you can achieve A, B or C. We are tired of the lies our dear politicians-please for once in your lives learn to tell the truth and may be our children can learn something from you. I wouldn’t want to naively of willfully accept your claim that everything in politics is possible because that would wow me into believing that even lies in politics can just be uttered and then pretend as though nothing ever happened.
The vice of hypocrisy in our democracy as well as in our day-to-day politics should come to a stop. Politicians should develop principles which they can be identified with. Our politicians should learn to be honest with themselves as well as with the people they represent. As much as the bible says one has to forgive their brother 77 times, I think some of this politicians are abusing the scripture because they know that they can be green today, red tomorrow, orange the other day and they can always shamelessly go back to the electorates and tell them “I am sorry for what I did to you and I plead for your forgiveness and mercy.” No! No! This kind of cheap sweet-tongue talking ought to stop and may be some of these politicians ought to learn to stop abusing the emotions and the faith of the very people they represent. People need to desist from playing double-standards because in all honesty double-standards dissolve our democracy to a joke to say the rest. This hypocrisy leaves much to be desired regarding our political moral discourse and to some extent the electorates are now caught in some kind of a quagmire. They can no longer separate lies from the truth regarding some of the bad things said about some of the people in positions of power, especially the President. At this point in our contemporary politics it is important that the masses should be shown some truthfulness in our politics. There is need to go back to political morality because the political malarkey that has been going on of late in our democracy is sickening.
It is my firm belief that many Batswana are frustrated, disenchanted and absorbed in socio-political despair and pervasive depression caused by the latest jokes in our politics. Our politics today have lost a sense of purpose and the dignity of some of our politicians has truly withered away because of the lies they have been painting to the nation about other politicians or political parties. Who really can now take any of this folks serious? Who really in their serious state of mind would vote back some of this political hypocrites? There is certainly profound dismay in our democracy today more than never before and most of it is triggered and perpetuated by the fact that we are led by selfish, dishonest and unprincipled politicians who have no political ideology to stand on.
In view of all this mess, it is time now that we need robust, enlightened, principled and motivated democratic citizenry to take some of this folks to task by punishing them like never before at the ballot-box. Can you imagine the promises and lies of their campaigns? Stuff like if you vote me into power I will do this and that for you and yet up to now some of them have done absolutely nothing because they spend most of their time flip-flopping and exploring which tender to grab so that they can score big for their families and in the process totally abandoning the very people who voted them to power. Some Batswana are without basic amenities such as roads, electricity and water and yet their leaders can still claim to bring down Jesus from Heaven by bringing developments in their areas within the last year of their 5 years. Seriously? If one failed to bring down developments in their constituency in the 10 years they have been in office, what kind of a miracle will it be for them to usher in developments within their last year of their pay cheque? I think we need to see some honesty here. Some of these folks need to learn to tell the truth, for instance, it won’t be a crime for someone to stand before the electorates in a campaign and declare; bagaetsho ke bolawa ke tlala ke kopa tlhopho ya lona! Very simple-Batswana are understanding and loving people, they will still vote for you taking into account your plea ya gore seemo sa mpa se maswenyana. It’s better to do that than promise people heaven and earth yet inwardly you know that you do not have their welfare at heart.
*Dr Jotia is a Democracy and Education Scholar at the University of Botswana