Saturday, September 23, 2023

How the creeping in of violence threatens to ruin our politics

It is not the policy of this newspaper to write politics in its leader column.

Our policy is to use the leader to provide policy options to our readers, with particular emphasis on economics and public administration.

This week we have however opted to go political.

This is because we have observed a really disturbing trend that is fast emerging in our politics.

The just ended by election for a council ward in Francistown has indeed been an eye opener.

And we are not referring to the level of passion and intensity that characterized the campaign efforts by both campaigns.

Rather we are worried by the much reported violence that characterized the campaign. What has shocked us is that it was members from same parties that were attacking their own. This is most unwelcome.

We have learnt with shock news that Member of Parliament for Francistown West, Ignatius Moswaane who is a member of the Botswana Democratic Party was manhandled by another activist still from the BDP.

This is a new phenomenon in our politics.

It should be condemned by the party leadership.

Last year in Molepolole a councilor from the BDP beads butted a colleague who is from the opposition from the Umbrella for Democratic Change.

Police made light of the whole situation.

That is for us very worrisome not least because once violence is accepted as a way of life in our politics, it will no longer be possible to stop it.

It is important to note that violence in politics is not only confined to the BDP. We have learnt that a week ago or so, a UDC activist was manhandled by somebody at a party event.

What shocked us the most is that the perpetrator who has leadership ambitions sees nothing wrong manhandling a woman. This can only perpetuate and even encourage violence against women.

That is unfortunate especially when given the mammoth task of gender based violence that we face.

We call on political activists to always exercise restraint.

Violence, by anybody and by any name and for whatever purposes cannot be allowed into our political discourse.

It is an accepted truism that Batswana are not a violent people. We are not aware of any people who are violent by nature.

Violence becomes a nature of any people once it is allowed to be an avenue through which disputes and differences are resolved.

And once that state is attained, stemming the rot becomes an insurmountable task.

We will be following with keen interest to see how political parties will be dealing with the above mentioned cases of political intolerance that has ultimately manifested itself in violence.


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