Tuesday, April 23, 2024

The people of Francis-town are not stupid

There is this tendency of Gaborone people to look down on people who live in villages. When Gaborone people go out to other areas, they think people in those areas view them as enlightened and advanced on many issues. In other words, Gaborone people tend to think they are trendsetters; that they know what is good for the people in areas outside Gaborone. In fact, Gaborone people are so delusional they think people outside this city are bound to take their word line, hook and sinker. While it is true in some instances, where Gaborone people manage to manipulate and trick outsiders that they are the best thing ever in the country, the ruling BDP was seriously misled to think the people of Francistown are as na├»ve as, perhaps, the people of, say Sekoma village. In the build up to the Philip Matante council by-election in Francistown, I asked one BDP activist from Gaborone why they found it fit to bring South African kicker Dr Malinga to their rally and he confidently told me that the motive was to lure Francistown voters to their side. He said their aim was to attract voters to their party through Dr Malinga. In other words, Dr Malinga was roped in to campaign for the BDP. It will not be a far-fetched suspicion that the painfully illiterate Dr Malinga doesn’t even know what the acronym BDP stands for, but still, the BDP found him to be the right man for their campaign. To the BDP, it was not important to bring someone who knows what the BDP is all about. In their thinking, anyone who could attract the masses was ideal. Malinga was paid to say nothing about the BDP. All he was expected to do was kick the air and sing his lungs out. This, the BDP must have thought, would be enough to sway voters to their side. What an insult to the people of Francistown! The people of Francistown are not stupid. They knew very well that Malinga is a South African who just came here to make a quick buck and go back to his country where the lives of his people are in the hands of the ANC. They knew that Dr Malinga came here for the love of money and not because his ideologies are in sync with those of the BDP. The BDP activist also had answers as to why they allocated Lotty Manyapesa a whole hour to insult opposition leaders. As a party, he said, they needed to have “useful fools”. Those were his words and not mine. He says every party needs to have people who are gifted in talking gibberish, without necessarily making any sense. Apparently Lotty possesses the same. BDP activists literally relocated to Francistown in an apparent bid to twist Ghetto residents to vote for the BDP. I remember how my friends MacDonald Peloetletse, Selwana Kesebonye and Tapologo Mokoka bombarded us with their daily social media updates regaling their encounter with the people of Francistown and how these people seemed to pay attention to their BDP propaganda. Deep down my heart I knew the well-mannered people of Francistown were just being courteous and listening to these Gaborone people without necessarily buying into their hogwash. The BDP has two sitting members of parliament in Francistown (Ignatius Moswaane and Buti Billy) but they chose to bring an outsider, Guma Moyo, to lead their campaign. The opposition on the other hand brought a Francistown MP, Wynter Mmolotsi who knows the needs of the people of Francistown. Mmolotsi was assisted by another Francistowner, Vain Mamela.

Choosing Guma Moyo over Francistown MPs was an own goal on the part of the BDP. The BDP led their campaign with people from Gaborone such as my friends that I have already mentioned. These are people who know nothing about Francistown and probably relied on strangers for directions around Philip Matante ward. The opposition on the other hand led their campaign with locals, only beefing up with people from Gaborone and other areas. I followed the campaigns of both teams and the BDP spent much of their time on character assassination while the opposition concentrated on marking the ball and used less time marking the man. Lotty Manyapetsa spent his entire slot bashing opposition leaders and bragging how he has contributed P120 towards the Motswaledi report, even threatening to demand his measly contribution back. Another of the BDP’s newly acquired attack dogs, “Dr” Majadibodu thought it was tasteful to use his albinism to discredit the opposition by claiming they want to sell him to Tanzania where albinos are sold for ritual purposes. The BDP ought to have known that unlike people who live in rural areas where the flow of information is very wanting, the people of Francistown are up to date with what is going on in the country. They read newspapers. They have access to the internet. They need water and electricity in their daily lives. So really, it must have felt like an insult to have the BDP bring musicians while all they could have been pleased to hear would have been an appraisal on the Botswana Railways stories that appear daily on newspapers. The people of Francistown do not care much about free hampers from BDP’s fat cats. They want the BDP to give them meaningful jobs. The people of Francistown care less about shaking hands with President Khama and Vice President Masisi. All they want is to hear what the BDP-led government is doing to improve their lives. So, I hope the BDP’s loss at the weekend by-election will serve to send a strong message that people in places like Francistown are not stupid to be enticed with one-weekend special music shows and free food. I know someone may ask if I am implying that people in villages who continue to be lured with free food during campaigns are stupid and my answer would be that perhaps those people in rural areas are just comfortable with being looked at as the face of poverty. I however do not blame them. I blame politicians for making those people believe their poverty is the creation of God and that their fate is sealed.


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