Forget about electoral promises, it is our future that is at stake

23 Sep 2019

The reputation of a politician has never been lower as we go into the last few weeks before an election.

In pursuit of securing votes, the politician knows no limit.

In the politician’s untamed ambitions to get into that much prized office, everything goes.

The first victim in all these has been the truth, to paraphrase George Orwell.

Fairytales have been wantonly thrown about - endlessly parroted and trumpeted out as part of the electoral package.

Election literature is awash with fanciful promises.

The target is the voter who is being bombarded from all sides.

Looking from a distance, the poor voter really stands no chance.

The idea is to swamp him until such time that he becomes numb, even dazed.

The whole thing would make for a good circus were it not of what is at stake.

These promises may sound really silly and even childish.

They are breathtakingly deceitful.

But they are a product of highly sophisticated people using computer programmatics and analytics – eventually to mislead the only person whose verdict ultimately matters – the voter.

The promises being thrown about are outcomes of scientific modeling that have been programmed to establish what the voter’s fears and aspirations are.

They are not about what is feasible. Which is why they are so epically misleading.

These promises are calculated to appeal to the voter’s most base instincts.

The goal is to have control over not just the public discourse, but also the motor of the debate itself by crowding out or better still killing dissent.

The promises elicit excitement. And while too good to be believed, at the same time allowing little space to be questioned.

At the core of all these machinations is a fight for control of the state.But the voter still has a chance to fight back and assert his independence.

Tons and tons of foreign money have been deployed to cause maximum confusion.

On another time, this would be infamy. But we are living in era where anything goes and everything is game.

Botswana, if we are not careful will become a vassal state, completely handed over lock, stock and barrel to a billionaire class that is making all the donations, so-called, to the local politician.

The money being doled out has to be paid back. There is simply no how the politicians can seize the money and run. The politician would be suicidally irresponsible to think that is possible.

The money comes with clearly spelt out conditions.

And all of us will be required to contribute towards that pay back.

With our eyes wide open, we are witnessing the auction of our country under the terms of which we are not a party to.

These anti-sovereignty missionaries need to be stopped. It is not yet too late.

If fighting fire with fire is what it will take, so be it.

It is our future as a people and country that is at stake.

The election will be fought and settled over only one issue; economics, in all its multiple facets and manifestations.

Politics, thankfully has been pushed to the backburners.

The good thing about economics is that by and large it shuns generalisations and hyperbole.

At a least a verdict on the economy can be resolved with a level of decorum and a near unanimous consensus.Not so with politics.

Botswana is currently run under a huge budget deficit.

Savings are all but collapsed.

This cannot be allowed to go on and on. Yet manifestoes are dead silent. Arresting these will take courage.

Growth forecasts are not sufficiently strong enough to take care of the deficit.

There has to be intervention; one way or another.

People are easily getting away with careless overestimates of how much they can extract and squeeze out of the economy.

Anybody wanting to increase salaries and wages has to state without being probed how they are going to finance their way out of the deficit, before increasing salaries.

The two cannot go hand in hand unless there is substantial borrowing, tax increases (possibly by stealth) or a huge cut in government programmes and services.

Yet in pledging to increase salaries, our politicians see no shame basking in what is undeserved reputation of being messiah in waiting.

The World Bank and the IMF have long warned about Botswana’s huge public sector Wage Bill.

It is unsustainable and generally corrosive, they have consistently pointed out.

The wage Bill is part of a milieu eroding the dynamism of the economy. The other has to be a stubbornly low productivity. As is lack of sufficient economic growth.

These too have to be addressed.

A maximalist approach that says everything about increasing salaries but deliberately omitting to address the deficit has to be called out. It is reckless complacency drawn possibly from two things; economic illiteracy or deliberate dishonesty. Neither can be forgiven, much less tolerated.

As it is right now the current state of the economy is not a very convenient platform from which to run a campaign that promises a substantial raise.

Unless the belief is that the electorate is gullible.

Any such salary raise risks laying more and more people off their work, thus further bloating the already high unemployment figures.

This is a simple truth that nobody dares to articulate.

It is a painful and inconvenient truth. The strategy for the politician is to corral more and more people into confusion, then island redoubt culminating in helplessness.

The hope is that by this time the voter will have been fobbed off, that they would become dazed by meaningless statistical fog, and would have long ceased to pay attention to key questions making them susceptible to following their gut feeling