There is no educational or intellectual requirement for politicians; anything goes, as long as one has a mouth and energy to match.
In our local politics, intelligence is neither sufficient nor necessary to get someone or a party to be elected into power. The world’s smartest person couldn’t get elected if he/she were an uncharismatic bore.
Sometimes intelligence in politics only comes into play after the election, sometimes it doesn’t. At that point, you have to actually govern, and governing is, as many leaders will tell you, difficult. It takes a different skill set than getting elected, one that requires a lot more intellect.
Take a stove for example; switch on the stove, ensure that the plates are white hot, then call in our local politicians. The Botswana National Front (BNF), true to form, will first deny seeing any stove even though the stove will be right in front of their eyes. Cajoled further, they will then have a change of heart, give the stove another name on the spot and call whoever suggested that it’s called a stove, stupid. The stove, now renamed‘hot Spartacus combustion apparel’ or some other complicated not-in-the-dictionary name, will now become a hot topic. In no time, the BNF will then accuse the purchaser of reckless spending, bourgeoisie and capitalist tendencies before making compelling arguments in favour of open fires, though they are allergic to smoke. A Latin word or two will be thrown in for good measure in the condemnation of this delirictaruim wasteful spending and the ‘looters’ will be promised an eternal life behind bars come 2019.
Next, well, Botswana Movement for Democracy’s (BMD) turn. Alarmists of note, their first reaction upon seeing the stove would be to jump, stand a safe distance away then a proclaimation that this stove is actually a bomb! They will even have a name for this bomb, its year of manufacture, even its origins. They will claim prior knowledge of it, boast that their ‘intelligence’ had been on its trail. This lot, with its handful of ex-soldiers which makes them look more like a rebel movement more than a political party, will even claim to be in possession of a document of Hitler’s secrets too, but promise to release the document only in 2019.
It won’t end there. Next would be the Botswana Congress Party (BCP). With that AHA! look on their faces, the BCP’s first reaction after seeing just the corner of this stove would be to immediately threaten
The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), the purchaser of this stove, which they swear they even got at just a fraction of its cost, will at this point be confused as hell! Mind you they know that this thing is really a stove; they also know that prior to its purchase everybody had agreed that its purchase was long overdue, they know why it had to be procured and they also have no doubt in their mind that its purchase now means the days of cooking by open fires are officially over. Now they will be scratching their heads at this point, having forgotten everything because now they are not even sure anymore whether this thing is even a stove, whether it was needed in the first place and whether proper consultations were done prior to its purchase! Now they will even be afraid to come near it, because, what if the BMD is right and it’s actually a nuclear bomb? In no time, they will then concede that maybe just maybe, the price was a bit on the high side. At this point, they will start panicking, then start pointing fingers at each other, mostly at the junior officers, someone to put the blame on. Yet even in that state, at least they still have the sense to know that in politics it is out of the question, that it is an admission of wrongdoing, of failure.
Its no laughing matter, just the real state of our politics!