Meanwhile, the BMD had claimed that they had left with huge chunks of BDP support; evidence on the ground points to something else though; BDP is retaining seat after seat at by-elections. Even more stark is that the collective opposition votes are lower than their collective total from the general election. Meanwhile, the BDP has been able to raise its tally from the past general election.
Mokoboxane is not an isolated event; there was Tonota North and there is the coming by-election at Tlokweng. The BDP’s performances demonstrate that the party has not been affected by the split electorally, much as we all thought. It also says that opposition parties have not been beneficiaries of the split.
Even more serious is that these by-elections are a constant reminder to opposition parties that jumping on one issue and forgetting your long term strategy is opportunism that will not take you anywhere. Instead of being responsive to long term issues, opposition parties appear to be responsive to events; if there is a strike they will go back to the workers and call for a revolution; if Basarwa have their issues with government they will jump on the bandwagon and so on. While at times it is because opposition parties share in the plight of such people, normally events surrounding those tend to pass. The excitement a strike brings for example cannot last long; neither can revolutionary songs at a packed school hall at Phase 4.
The BCP has spotted this. By going back to the bread and butter issues that affect Batswana and not being caught up in the crossfire of arrangements that seem never to hold they have decided to focus on the national agenda. BMD also appears to be seeking to do that with the motions that they have been telling us they will move in parliament. That now is what the country needs, politicians to get back to work; compete and give us competing alternatives on what should be done to ensure that Batswana live better lives.
Research points out that Batswana these days vote with economic imperatives in mind. They will reward Domkrag for a decent job at managing the economy and punish opposition parties for not demonstrating capability to manage the economy even better. This calls for an opposition that is less about doing politics for the fun of it the way a high school debate club would; one that stops playing politics because it’s fun and Cde so and so gets to be known for their rhetoric. People want alternatives, feasible alternatives on the economy, on job creation and other factors that matter in their lives.
They do not care about petty political gossip because it does not feed them and never will pay the school fees for their kids. If you say you will grow the economy why must they believe you? What magic do you have that will ensure that industry grows? What will you do to employ all these graduates while the economy is still so small and mono commodity dependent?
Batswana need answers, real answers to these questions. Have the opposition provided these answers consistently? Well, the BCP is getting close to providing that. The BNF should be. But everybody’s hope appears to be in concocting numerical advantage through stokvels and metshelo. Not that they are wrong, just that perhaps Batswana need more than just an opposition that is united, they need an opposition that consistently offers solutions to their problems; consistently offering what they offer and demonstrating clearly how they will achieve what they say they will achieve. The voices from Mokoboxane appear to be saying the same thing. I am afraid those from Tlokweng will speak the same!