Sunday, April 2, 2023

Let us all vote and elect a government of our choice

As Botswana prepares to hold its eleventh general election in October, we take this opportunity to appeal to all eligible Batswana to register and vote.

It is disheartening that voter apathy is one of the most serious challenges faced by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

There is no justification why in a participatory democracy Batswana are still dragging their legs when it comes to exercising this all important exercise.

It has turned out that the IEC is far from reaching its 1.4 million registration target for voters in the upcoming elections.

Voting is a fundamental right that should never be left begging.

Government in the past embarked on significant strides to reduce the voting age from 21 years to 18 as well allow voting by proxy for those who are outside the country, yet the number of people registering to vote is still seriously disappointing.

Government instituted all these measures to ensure and encourage all Batswana to exercise this fundamental right yet many still are still not moved to participate.

Instead of whining over provision poor delivery of efficient services and protection of fundamental rights as enshrined in the constitution, a lot of eligible voters are still reluctant to exercise this fundamental right that many people in other countries are yearning for.

The only way to achieve our democratic aspirations is through the voting of a government of our choice that will address the varied problems besieging our country and nation.
Voting is a fundamental right that many of our peers in the continent are yearning for yet we are not moved to exercise this fundamental right.

How do we expect any ruling government to rectify and address all existing deficiencies and shortcomings when we continue to refuse to exercise this fundamental right?

It is displeasing that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is far from reaching its target of 1.4 million voters for the upcoming election after two voting registration exercises.
It is incumbent on government and all political parties to rally behind the IEC into mobilizing Batswana to register and vote a government of their choice in large numbers.

As much as we acknowledge that the IEC is not sufficiently resourced to address the issue of voter apathy, it is our morally duty to exercise this fundamental right which comes only once every five years.

By neglecting our moral duty to register and vote and instead use election day as some holiday, staying , we are denying ourselves an opportunity to elect a government that is charged with delivering our aspirations as an independent country.

After almost 50 years of independence and multiparty participatory democracy, there is no justification why we are still dragging our feet when it comes to exercising this fundamental right.
It is not right to blame the ruling government from the sidelines when given an opportunity to elect a government that we will admonish for failing to deliver on our aspirations, we refuse to do the right thing of electing a political party that we believe will address our plight.

IEC embarked on two registrations yet the numbers of registered voters is to say the least still appalling.

As much it is the duty of the IEC to mount an intensive voter registration and education campaign, it remains our moral obligation to meet the commission half way.

Political parties must take charge of rallying their members to register and vote in large numbers.
Employers should also release their employees to go and register to vote a government of their choice.

We are quite aware that most retailing businesses are not releasing their employees for this all important exercise.

Instead of waiting for parliament to pass mandatory voting legislation for eligible voters to participate in this all important exercise, we should use all the means at our disposal to ensure that we all participate.

It is only after registering and voting that we can lobby government to deliver on our political aspirations.

Staying away and hoping God to come to our assistance is fundamentally wrong.
We must therefore all ensure that on election day we pull up our socks and vote a government that will deliver on our as aspirations.

Five years is too long a time to wait for another opportunity to vote yet when the opportunity arises, we shun it.

Through this appeal, we hope all eligible voters will take election day seriously and vote a government of their choice. That is the right thing for all of us to do as responsible citizens of this country.


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