In two months or so Botswana will go to the polls; that, of course, is if the Armageddon playing inside the ruling party does not degenerate into a national crisis.
The Independent Electoral Commission has announced that over 700 000 citizens have registered for the General Elections.
By their own admission, this is a figure much higher than the IEC could have imagined even in their wildest dreams.
The IEC deserves a pat on its back.
Their campaigns and political education on the importance of voting are finally paying dividends.
At least for now voter apathy has left our lexicon.
The truth of the matter though goes way beyond campaigns by IEC.
Batswana want to take their destiny into their own hands.
Gone are the days when the few could be counted on as to determine the destiny of the majority.
Batswana’s trust among their political leaders has gone down.
Many developments have been unsettling: police brutality, militarization of the public service, extra judicial murders, excessive power of the executive and, recently, crude attempts to increase the number of Specially Elected Members of Parliament.
All these are important issues which have rubbed Batswana the wrong way.
As we have said in the past, this newspaper will not be endorsing anyone party or candidate.
We feel strong that Batswana are competent enough to choose, unaided which candidate or political party they want to choose to run their affairs for the next five years, either at national or local government.
Ours, as a newspaper, is a civic responsibility, limited to not only thanking Batswana for having gone out to register in such unprecedented high numbers but to also implore on them to go out and vote on the day still to be announced as Election Day.
Registration is an important aspect of an election process, but it is worth stating that it is not an end in itself.
What is important is that people who have registered should ultimately go out and vote.
We call on political parties to also do their bit by way of encouraging and imploring people who have registered to go out and actually vote.
As one of this nation’s founding fathers once said, democracy is like a little tree. For it to flourish it has to be continuously nurtured.
The danger is that when things are going well, people often fall into the trap or, should we say, temptation to take everything for granted.
That too is very dangerous.
Thankfully, after a long lull of voter apathy Batswana seem to be waking up to the truth that they have to be directly involved in determining the future of their country.
That is commendable.
We have come a long way as a nation and as a people.
Our achievements of stability, progress and tolerance should not be claimed by any one individual or political party at the exclusion of others.
It has been a communal undertaking in which everyone of us played a small part in our different roles and capacities.
We still have a long way to go.
Challenges have become many and more complicated. While in the past such challenges could have been comfortably be left to politicians and other leaders, that is no longer the case, hence we once again implore all Batswana who are eligible to exercise what is indisputably their inalienable right; to go out and vote a leadership of their own choice.