Mmegi Online :: The 12 post 2009 election variables
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Thursday 15 November 2018, 14:12 pm.
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The 12 post 2009 election variables

There are several factors that have directly or indirectly affected the outcome of the 2014 elections. In this write-up, I would like to make a review of the most critical 12 of the variables that have determined the current outcome that we find ourselves with regarding the 2014 results
By Richard Moleofe 2013-10-05 13:38:49 Fri 31 Oct 2014, 14:19 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: The 12 post 2009 election variables








The 2011 Industrial Strike

Just two years after Khama was tested at an election event for the very first time as president, the country witnessed an industrial strike which was unprecedented in the history of Botswana. The BDP had just scored a landslide victory in the previous election and they undoubtedly went to sleep over their gains. When one traces the birth of the Umbrella for Democratic Change, we come to realise that it was here at the GSS grounds where the workers pleaded with opposition political parties to form a coalition. 

 

Unionisation of the Public Service

Post 2009 we saw the consolidation of the public service unions. The ruling party ignored the warning signs as they felt so comfortable with the mandate they received from voters in the previous elections. The public service had no other option but to go into courtship with other unions and finally the opposition.

 

Civil Service Disgruntlement

Over time the civil service expressed its dissatisfaction over the manner in which government treated them over issues of welfare and remuneration. In the last 10 years the salary increases have been few and far apart. Government, through the Directorate of Public Service Management and its unbending director refused to take heed of the points of argument raised by the employees. The rift between the employer and the employees grew to unmendable positions.

 

The Formation of the UDC

As per the wishes of the working class and particularly those in the government payroll, the UDC was finally formed through a tripartite arrangement that excluded the BCP. The BCP miscalculated and misfired here and have only come to realise their error now.

 

The Formation of the BMD

As a result of the internal squabbling within the BDP, the BMD was born. The birth of the new party was as a result of the protracted court battles between Ian Khama and the party Secretary General Gomolemo Motswaledi. It is interesting that in the past, emerging crop of social scientists and political scientists have predicted that the ruling BDP’s exit from power would only be by a splinter group from within itself. That was almost a dream come true for the BMD and its coalition of partners in this past election. Had the BCP come to the party, BDP would now be an opposition party.

 

The Death of Motswaledi

The death of this iconic political leader became a catalyst that influenced  the masses to vote for the UDC. Whether his death was manmade or just an unfortunate natural phenomenon, it swayed the majority of the voters to elect opposition candidates. Indeed it is true that a combined total opposition vote shows a majority over the gains of the ruling party.

 

The DIS Boss’s Scandals

The proliferation of scandals from the office of the spy chief becomes one of the critical factors that influenced the outcome of this election particularly amongst the more informed urban voters. Several candidates from within the ruling party had warned the leadership on the dire consequences of approaching an election with such excess baggage but their calls for action were utterly ignored. What has been happening at this intelligence establishment has not escaped public attention and certainly the public reacted by punishing his principals at the ballot box. These scandals and allegations about the spy chief have come uncomfortably too close to election time.

 

Extra Judicial Killings

Killings, disappearances and torture by security agents have enraged the public. The most significant of these was the killing in cold blood of John Kalafatis. Prior to his death, the Vice President had dismissed one or two killings as nothing to cause public alarm.

The formation of DIS has to some extent caused discontentment among other security arms such as the police and the military. The later feel the new security outfit enjoys

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unnecessarily high benefits that include good housing, remuneration and general welfare. Other security institutions have equally suffered the lack of salary increases as they have been bundled up with the rest of the civil service.

 

Youth Unemployment

The rate at which unemployment keeps rising in this country is alarming and it seems the youth wanted to take matters into their own hands. Youth unemployment is a time bomb anywhere in the world and this cannot be more true in our society where a bulk of them are qualified for jobs that they cannot get. The youth are a key demographic factor that could not in any way be discounted in the past election. From the results of this past election it has become very clear that the youth do not hold the same antipathy for the ruling BDP as their parents or grandparents do.

 

 The Simmering Internal

Party Squabbles at BDP

In the period between now and the previous elections, certain unforgivable sins occurred within the BDP fold. The seismic tensions between Barata Party and the A Team have increased in strength. The loss by Daniel Kwelagobe cannot just be credited to the hard work of the UDC, but rather the opposition candidate prevailed because people within the BDP simply voted out one of their own and naturally the UDC became a beneficiary of such internal squabbles. The council special nominations were designed to understudy the incumbent MP with the view to taking him down at the time of primary elections. When that did not come to pass, the final onslaught had to happen at the national poll.  One noticeable improvement found within the opposition fold is the fact that they had fielded high calibre candidates in this election. For Kwelagobe, that was beside the point but rather the killer blow had to come from within his own party. The incumbent came to realise such shenanigan machinations quite late in his campaign. For the first time since 1969, the old fellow started doing door to door visits to his constituents but that was too little too late.

 

Corruption Tainted Project Failures

One such disastrous and colossal failure is the Morupule B power generation project which cost the tax payer a little over P15 billion and adjacent to it is the multi million pula glass project which has also not seen the light of day. It has become very clear that personal interests have been placed ahead of national ones in the acquisition of such.

 

The Arrogance of the BDP

Undoubtedly the big party went to sleep over the past five years. They literally sleep walked into the election eve only to start impressing Namolaleuba workers with fona and diphaphatha and the aged with Omega radios without batteries. The manner in which some candidates conducted themselves was arrogantly beyond discretion. One MP candidate in a Kweneng constituency utter this to an electorate; “Monna wee, ke tlaa go fagola ke go dira tshikela (I will castrate you and make you half bull/half ox). For his reward, the incumbent BDP MP came a distant third in the results.

Taking the above developments into account, we see how we have ended up with this kind of election outcome. The influencing factors have been building up over time and unfortunately for the ruling party and fortunately for the opposition, the warning signs have been largely ignored.

These variables did not just unfold within a single day but rather there has been a slow but progressive build up to the point of elections where the public and particularly the workers vented their anger over the ruling party. On the same note the ruling party deliberately chose to ignore the warning signs that were visible for all to see.

 

Richard Moleofe is a

Retired Military Officer

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