Mmegi Blogs :: Hark! Our politics is being distorted and derailed!
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Hark! Our politics is being distorted and derailed!

In 1996 four of us, two opposition MPs and two ruling party MPs were in North Carolina US to bench-mark and learn how American legislators went about their legislative business.
By Michael Dingake Tue 18 Nov 2014, 16:15 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Blogs :: Hark! Our politics is being distorted and derailed!








Host guide Rapapport probed our political differences. He expected to discover hostility between us and was amazed we harboured no political hostility as political rivals, except stick to our party platforms and leave it to voters to make their choice. We visited a number of State Legislatures and talked to Senators and House of Representatives legislators.

Everywhere we went, our big distinction with our American counterparts was the mutual animosity, the degree of passionate intolerance woven into US party political fabric, whereas with us, tolerance was the guiding factor and party affiliation did not poison personal relations!

Tolerance should be the lodestar in the exercise of democracy in the multiparty democratic setting. Political parties need not be enemies verging on the brutish appetite for physical annihilation of one another. That’s why sinister allegations of Gomolemo Motswaledi’s death, mysterious abduction and torture of Oarabile Motlaleng, reported house-breaking incidents where laptops, cell-phones, iPads where priority items, was so unusual and nightmarish in the last general elections. Here was evidence that our democracy culture was going off the rails and it was time to put it back. When you argue with someone and he/she starts folding her shirt sleeves or turning in her skirt hem, then you must know the person you’re debating with has exhausted her counter-arguments and is not man/woman enough to say, “You win!”

Physical confrontation in politics is preceded by cheap propaganda where some political activists go out of their way to take advantage of the ignorance and often the gullibility of the masses to misinform and mislead them together with other mavumazonkes (yes-persons). Think of it. 

Over the years Domie has been telling all who wanted to listen that the opposition parties had no alternative policies/programmes and were opposing government for the sake of opposing. Domkrag went on to lie uninhibited, taking advantage of its control of Btv, Radio Botswana and freely distributed Daily News. Rebuttals by the opposition activists were drowned in the noise of the state media. The governing party didn’t stop there. It warned that the opposition had never governed before, so it would be suicidal to entrust it  with the reins of power. Meanwhile the same BDP refused to legislate for public funding for political parties or transform the state media to public media to level the playing field. Lies and deception kept Domkrag in power all these past years!

Botswana faces a new challenge of opposition rivals lying and misinterpreting the democratic lore of this country. Batswana are told political opponents are in business partnership with BDP leader – an untruth;  they are also misled that to buy shares in a public company where Domkrag leaders have also invested, is criminal, because “ba ja

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le madomkraga!” What nonsense? Batswana are taken for granted to the extent that it is implied that to be a true opposition member/supporter one must shun or sever business connections with anybody with Domkrag membership.

They stop short of advising Batswana to sever all links  with all kinsmen/women who belong to a rival party, advising Batswana not to marry across the political divide. The sensational private newspaper headlines some time back, “ Letshabo marries Kwelagobe” was motivated by the warped attitude.   Kwelagobe being a senior member of the BDP and Letshabo  senior member of BNF the story sold the paper extra copies ; the marriage of the two or any persons who shared their surnames was, ‘not-a- done’ thing politically. The anti-Letshabo BNF faction grinned from ear to ear thinking the publication of the story had delivered a knockout-punch to Mma-Letshabo faction!

Intermarriages in Botswana take place across ethnic groups, religious sects, racial divides, political divides, national borders, so why are business interests exceptional? Are we advocating the politics of senseless hate between ourselves where I am expected to hate my son, my daughter, my uncle, my aunt, my granny, my father, my mother and my wife just because they hold a membership of a different political party? What insanity? Morons would be expected to behave so.

I was in Sweden some years back where I met a couple:  Wife, a member of a conservative rightwing party; husband, a member of a Marxist party. Weird?  I chatted with the couple and was amazed they were deeply in love. They didn’t differ in every political tinge, except the fundamentals. When an US Republican talked palpable rubbish or Chinese Communist leader did the same, the couple closed rank and condemned what offended their personal sensitivity. And of course, they told me they bury all differences in intimate conjugal relations.  I thought ah, very sensitive and intelligent humans who isolated political beliefs from normal practical human relations !

Compatriots, our politics is going astray if MaDomkrag will only partner with ManDomkrag, MaBCP with MaBCP and MaUDC with MaUDC in business partnerships! Shall we go further  through these distinctive political party memberships to patronise only businesses of fellow party members? To do so, would be tantamount to driving Botswana into an animal kingdom cul de sac, where the law of the jungle is eat or be eaten at best; at worst we would be recklessly gambling with our human sanity by gamboling on the brink of unprecedented anarchy. 

Nation-building, our objective scorns partisanship, seeks to unite ethnic groups socially, inspires uninhibited entrepreneurial spirit, engineers prosperity across the national spectrum coordinated by an infrastructural bridge overarching pettiness and small-mindedness en route to national prosperity!

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