Sunday, September 27, 2020

Days of easy victory are gone!

Mercifully the election season is now behind us.

We have lived near the cliff for far too long, literally shelving all important issues that mattered in favour of divisive electioneering that was so much a character of campaigns across the divide.

Ours has been an abnormal situation.
We can only hope that with the election season now behind us, some kind of normalcy and sanity will come back.
The election season has seen us descend into a reckless kind of populism.
The end result has been a new form of intolerance never before seen in our midst.

In future we have to guard against that.
We have had to label one another and attribute ill will and bad motives as reasons for anything said or done by anyone we figured to be our opponents.
That is unfortunate.

This not to say there is nothing to celebrate in our elections.
As it has always been since 1965, there shall be a winner.

We shall not be going into arranged marriages that today plague African countries like Zimbabwe next door and Kenya in East Africa.

We have not heard people being killed because they belonged to one political party or the other.

As we know such stories abound in many African countries.

But still with the election season now over, a historic opportunity exists not just for political parties to try to heal the wounds they caused, but to also bring peace to a nation divided by their inter and intra wranglings.
By Saturday afternoon it was clear that state power remained out of reach for all opposition parties. For now at least Botswana will remain a defacto one party state.

The best each one of them could aspire for was an honourable defeat.
Such a defeat, distasteful as it could be, allows them an opportunity to look ahead with hope and reassurance that for them the best is still to come.
The BDP will win this election.

Such a victory though will be more a rejection of the un-preparedness on the part of the opposition than an endorsement of the BDP itself.
For Botswana’s opposition parties this particular election is a good one to lose.

Other than that the BDP still needs an extra five years to destroy itself and further drug itself with power, a win could prove fatal for opposition.
Were they to miraculously win they would soon be found naked, prompting the voter to wonder just how on earth they had been given state power.

As we have seen even for the once invincible BDP, victory is no longer a ruthless saunter that it used to be.
We now have a ragtag of newcomers want a share of the spoils.
And the voter is responding generously to them.

Democracy is at its best when there are more voices at the top table.
The more the voices, the greater the chances of withstanding all sorts of dictatorships.

As the English would have it, the more the merrier.

It is not an exaggeration to say Botswana’s days as a defacto one-party-state are clearly coming to an end.

The jury is still out with regard to the future of the BDP.

Anything goes.
One road leads to unity, the other points to a split.

Unless there is a change of approach in favour of a more inclusive and tolerant tone, the BDP is likely to collapse under the weight of its leaders’ predatory policies.

Unless there is change in mindset the next five years will prove to be the most difficult for BDP since they swept into power in 1966.

How ironic that the party could lose power under the man who by his account was dragged into politics to help perpetuate the party’s hegemony.
There is no point pretending that these elections have not been issue based.
Critical issues were conveniently left out of public debates.

Manifestoes were only churned out as a ritual, not that they mattered.
I am still to learn of an election in our history as devoid of debate as the farce from which we are just emerging.
That said we should thank God that elections are now truly behind us.
We shall miss nothing about them, save of course that this time around we did not have anybody sauntering with swagger for some coronation.


Read this week's paper

Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.