Over the weekend members of the new kid on the block, Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) found gates for the venue they had booked at Tsholofelo Community Hall locked.
BPF claimed they had booked and paid for the hall. The party had to find an alternative venue at Maharaj Conference Centre. On the same day, former president Ian Khama was to host a soup kitchen at Block 6 Park. The park was also ‘mysteriously’ closed, allegedly as per orders from ‘authorities’. The political space in the country is currently volatile, as different political parties seem to intensify campaigns to outdo each other in the build up to 2019 general elections.
There are many incidents taking place across the political divide, with politicians accusing each other of sabotage, sometimes true and in yet other case imaginary. Botswana is known to be a peaceful, and tolerant nation, where siblings can subscribe to different political parties, but still get along as a family. Recently, there seem to be a change in the atmosphere, as the bickering amongst politicians has turned personal, with some classifying other arguments as pettiness and not contribute towards the development of the country.
Certainly this is not the nation that the current President Mokgweetsi Masisi wants. He preaches tolerance, and unity, but the latest events are far off the mark from the President’s script. If indeed, BPF, had followed the proper channels, booked, and paid for the venue in advance, then, the authorities who locked out the party should be held accountable. Those who gave the directive for the hall to be locked
Why was a customer who paid in full was denied entry into the hall at the 11th hour? Situations such as the one referred to will most definitely tarnish the image of the government, and work against what the President seems to be envisioning for the nation.
We urge the President and all those in positions of power to ensure that all Batswana are treated equally, regardless of which political party they are affiliated to. Relevant authorities need to investigate the allegations made by the BPF and if indeed they are true, those responsible should be called to order. Botswana is one of the few African countries that can still pride her in giving the citizens the rights to associate peacefully. Therefore, we will not tolerate any regression in that regard. Surely, we do not want to be come just yet another African country! Masisi has thus far made strides and made a number of changes since he took power. We now see opposition parties enjoying airplay on State media.
Masisi has also opened up to the private media and hosts regular press conferences. Another plus is that, the President preaches consultation, something, which is key to the development of our beautiful Botswana. We urge all those responsible to do what is right and let the winner be determined by voters in October.