The Monitor :: It Is High Time Batswana Take All Elections Seriously
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Last Updated
Sunday 09 December 2018, 22:38 pm.
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It Is High Time Batswana Take All Elections Seriously

A good number of Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) sitting Members of Parliament (MP) lost the party’s primary elections that were held over the weekend.
By Monitor Editor Mon 27 Aug 2018, 11:58 am (GMT +2)
The Monitor :: It Is High Time Batswana Take All Elections Seriously








There is a popular saying ‘politics is a tricky game’, which sometimes suggests that voters do not scrutinise the candidates they vote for, only to end up disappointed afterwards. Some voters become emotional when choosing their representatives, but some go a step further, and make sure they elect an individual who they believe could represent them well.

While the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), does its best to educate voters in relation to general elections; there is a still need for intensive voter education, especially at grassroots level.  Some politicians know how to sell themselves, and win the hearts of the electorates, but some end up failing their constituency in one way or the other.

Ideally, sending a representative to Parliament or Council should in itself be a test. The five years, which make up a term in office, should be enough for the politician to prove their worth, thus giving the electorate proper representation they deserve. Terms are set so that voters can change their minds if they feel their representative has not done much for the constituency or lived up to the ‘beautiful promises’ they made during their campaigns.

There is an evolving trend, which should be commendable; Batswana seem to be involved more in political debates. While some just critique for the fun of it without adding any value, there are others whose criticism is more on the constructive side; for example, ensuring that their representatives are accountable to

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their constituencies.

Under normal circumstances voting out of incumbent parliamentarians is a sign that voters are not happy with the work they did in the five years they put them in office to represent them.  Of course, there are other factors, which can influence the outcome of elections, one of which is the common practice of enticing voters with such things as groceries, money, and liquor amongst others. While the effectiveness of engaging in this form of campaigning may be difficult to prove, there is no doubt that it works in certain areas.

It is our hope that voters, when ousting some incumbent MPs and ushering in new ones, were not acting on emotion alone or rewarding those who have bribed them with money and other goodies, but rather choosing those they believe will be the best candidate for their constituency, who has the capabilities of advocating for developments in their constituencies. The primaries saw BDP members register, and actually vote in large numbers, and we hope to see even greater numbers registering in the upcoming general elections next year.

Voting is very important in a democracy, because it accords people an opportunity to voice their opinion, and also hold elected officials accountable while in office. We have come across some candidates who have won, despite having displayed appalling behaviour while in office.  It is our hope, however that with voter education, more and more people will be result-oriented.

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