Appealing to people’s emotions does not work.
Wailing and wallowing in self pity does not pay.
People support you because they reckon there is something in you for them.
That is a lesson the country’s opposition politicians should have learnt many years ago.
Hence there is something inherently false in the way the country’s opposition expects public support while doing nothing to at least promise something in return.
It is true that a good many voters cannot stand the BDP.
It is true that a good many voters are mad and angry with the BDP.
Many of them look at the BDP as a party that has actively nurtured cronyism and worked hard to engender patronage.
For that, the people hate and despise the ruling party.
But then still again (unfortunately) those reasons are not bad enough to have the party removed from power.
Naturally, people look at the opposition, especially the BNF, and wonder in doubt how an institution with such a troubled existence can bring better lives for them.
The principal mistake by Botswana’s opposition parties has been to attach too much premium on the mistakes by the ruling party while doing nothing to mend their own ways.
Thankfully and crucially, the BCP seems like its discovering the folly of such a posture.
The BCP now seems like they want to be voted on their own strengths and not on BDP’s weaknesses.
That said, there is nothing wrong with the opposition placing high stakes on the public disenchantment with the BDP.
But it is also important not to lose the bigger picture.
The bigger picture means opposition parties staying and remaining relevant and in touch on their own, independent of the BDP’s mistakes.
That does not happen by drumming up in hyperbolic terms the BDP mistakes, but rather in putting into proper context the people’s expectations of a better life.
There are many BDP followers who, a long time ago, settled in the view that their party had grown irredeemably arrogant and needed to be removed from power.
These are the people that the opposition should be actively pursuing.
Yet they look around in vain and despair for an opposition that presents itself as an alternative.
What should be upper most in the strategies of the opposition parties is enthusiasm to hurt the BDP where it hurts most: attracting the swelling numbers within the ruling party ranks who think its time for change.
Thus, having comprehensively routed his political rivals inside the party, it’s high time the BNF President Otsweletse Moupo showed a greater level of public enthusiasm.
It’s high time he proactively worked on improving his presence and public stature.
He must start talking about things that interest the public, not those that interest him and his ideology.
Knowing the personal difficulties he has had to deal with, it pains me to say this, but at the moment the man comes across as stiff, a result of his decision to unnecessarily deliver himself as a willing prisoner of outdated left wing politics.
The BNF’s strategy to place excessively heavy bets on popular disenchantment against the BDP has serious limitations.
What the opposition lot needs to do is to address the real anxieties that underlie the otherwise chronic disillusionment against the ruling party.
Unfortunately, at the moment, what the opposition is doing is to preach to the converted.
They are doing little to reach out to the BDP heartlands.
What the BNF needs to do is to repackage themselves as a party of hope.
True, there is a lot of popular cynicism against the BDP.
But that is not enough to bring the BNF or any opposition for that matter into power.
It is very important to accept as a fact that public discontent against the BDP is not enough to remove the tired juggernaut out of power.
Because public discontent against BDP is proving difficult to translate into votes for the opposition, what the BNF has to do is come out of the cocoon and show a bold level of policy coherence which the public can look at with some measure of security that beyond the anti-BDP rhetoric there actually lies some substance.
That is what the opposition parties have to grasp and internalise.