Sunday, November 29, 2020

Outsiders’ view of Botswana is as important as our view of ourselves

Botswana still has an opportunity to reshape its political landscape and depart from the past practices. Sad to recall is the mounting culture of impunity, an issue that I addressed in one of my articles last year.

Botswana must sit up and deal with all issues, not to please foreigners but to make Batswana part of the country, part of the players and show the people, at home and abroad, that Botswana has nothing to hide.

Botswana’s continued shouting matches with NGOs is beneath the government’s integrity.

Botswana does not have to verbally fight back: all it needs is to show its mantle.

Botswana must show the world what Botswana is; Botswana should not say anything but show what it is because if Botswana cannot show it but says it, it means whatever it is saying is not there.

Unfortunately, Batswana are now tired of government statements which carry fire at rallies but fizzle out “on the ground”.

Populist political statements made at rallies are problematic in that they make people believe in something that is never going to be addressed. Then people are going to use those same promises against them.

And there is no need to treat people that way.

No matter what the political spectrum each one of us might belong to, we all agree on this issue ÔÇô that it is time for our government to deliver the best care and governance to the nation.

Citizens have a responsibility to air their opinions concerning government policies which they agree or disagree with. That is a normal and expected thing in a democracy and must not provoke a diatribe from those so criticised.

It is the duty of citizens to inquire and investigate issues that affect them and for them to question everything that must be questioned without fear of harassment. Batswana must be able to do so without being identified as unsupportive or as obstructionists of the common good.

In Botswana, it should not be like in most African countries where it is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.

Such a scenario reduces the worth of the citizens.

Botswana’s political leaders should save this country’s image and, by extension, its citizenry. No government will look better when its citizens are groaning under economic, social or political burdens.

The President must always be alert and make sure that his ministers perform to the required standard.

Every government pretends and forces people to believe that it is doing the best for its people yet those being governed believe they have no government looking out for them.

Life must go on as citizens remain fighting for survival while governments change.
Batswana are the constant, not the politicians.

But politicians never understand and are so adept at taking shortcuts that, most often, they bring a nation to its knees while praise-singing.

There is nothing more evil than patronage because patronage castrates a nation and renders productive citizens hopeless.

As a Republic, we must divorce ourselves from this doctrine of “don’t criticise, don’t cause offense” because it is a danger to independent thought since it suppresses ideas, public opinion and political participation.

The politics of fear must be decimated in order for normalcy to return to regulatory institutions in this country. It is paramount that citizens have proper and unfettered channels to express their views which should be taken into serious consideration.

Needless to say, it is very important that citizens feel comfortable in the knowledge that their opinions are of importance and that they employ politicians, not the other way round.

If we feel comfortable with ourselves, those who are not part of us will also view us in good light, especially since we strive to be part of the global community.

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Sunday Standard November 29 – 5 December

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of November 29 - 5 December, 2020.