Botswana is our land which we inherited from our fore fathers and our duty as citizens of this democracy is to defend our land, our freedoms and peace by any means necessary. It is an open secret that for so long Botswana has been branded as a classic example of successful democracy and it is my believe that the successes and failures of this democracy lies within the hands of its citizens. However, I must admit that of late our democratic process has gone through turbulences engineered by socio-political differences.
Tempers rise and accusations are echoed from one pillar to the next-but at the end of the day we must forge forward as a nation in unity. We have to burry our differences and move forward to solidify the walls of our democracy. As a peace loving nation as well as being advocates for peace and solidarity, we should never allow our differences to create a platform of animosity. October 24th 2014 is a date which is unique because it is a date where all citizens of this democracy from different cultures and various political ideologies march to the polls to exercise their democratic electoral power. The citizens will all be voting to defend democracy so that a better Botswana can come to the fore now and for centuries to come.
One thing that we have to know as a nation is that intolerance and violence are enemies of democracy especially for us Batswana more so we religiously believe in the principles of social harmony (Kagisano). Our differences should never divide us especially if we want to continue aspiring as a shining beacon of African democracy. To differ in opinion is human, to disagree with one another is part of the making of the human race, developing a heart of tolerance should be our zeal and we should above all, understand the fact that the human race will never reason the same way or see things from only one angle. As such, political differences should never be misinterpreted to be signals of hatred-in the event political differences are misinterpreted as hatred, then I can assure you that as a nation and as a people we will begin to devour one another. Where intolerance reigns amongst people, havoc and socio-cultural chaos is likely to become the order of the day and ultimately fear will traumatize the nation. This is certainly not what Botswana is known for-we are and should be peace loving people who respect one another and also value the gift of life.
History has recorded that some leaders when voted into power they tend to focus on the accumulation of their own wealth and forgetting altogether about the people who brought them to power. Some even practically abandon their constituencies and only resurrect at a time when they need another vote to take them to a position of power. Such instances of voter manipulation should be repelled and we as voters should cast our votes for people who will take our needs into account. As we vote, let us have in mind those who are poverty stricken, those without shelter, those who cannot afford three meals a day and the orphaned-basically let us vote for those leaders who will emancipate our positions to better socio-economic conditions. Above all, let us vote to defend justice over injustice in all spheres of our lives-let us vote so that the sinews of peace can reign in our country.
We at BTU cherish the ideal that democracy is a process which is driven by people and people by virtue of them being diverse and different, they will not always agree on issues. We therefore ought to understand as a nation that democracy is grounded on the principles of diversity whereby we all believe we are all free and equal despite our differences. Therefore, as we go to the polls as a nation, let it be understood that we are going there with a genuine heart to defend the rule of law and above all, we are going there to defend the principles of democracy. We are going to vote to nourish the democratic process in our socio-economic and political dimensions. Democracy is about the people and the people should truly rule without fear. Lefatshe le ke la rona! Let us vote to celebrate our freedoms and independence. Let us vote to defend our civil liberties, but above all, let us vote to defend our democracy!
*Ibo Nana Kenosi is the Secretary General of Botswana’s Teachers’s Union