To whom much is given, much will be required (Luke 12:48).
This is more so than ever in a time that the country goes to the polls in less than two days to elect a new government. This sage biblical passage calls to all Batswana to be responsible for what they have in a land of talent, wealth, knowledge and peace that is expected that through wisdom and the power of vote will benefit, not only oneself but also others. In electoral October, this passage should speak to both the candidate and the voter.
This is a momentous occasion. Moreso that this electoral season is a tightly contested one. From candidates to voters, much is invested and much is expected, especially that interest in elections is greatest when there is a close contest.
Politicians and party followers alike have great expectations and for some defeat or loss may just trigger political apoplexy. Botswana is known for holding peaceful elections, but there has never been a time when the elections seem so hotly contested.
Other countries in the region and across the continent have encountered political unrest on Election Day or immediately after the results are revealed. As such, we plead with all Batswana to earnestly cast their vote, and most importantly make it one’s own responsibility to enjoy safe and peaceful elections.
Whilst a call could be made to the
Electorates should come early lest they have more than the long queues to contend with, as there is also the scotching heat that has been forecast by the weather bureau. Long queues are in most cases a cause for conflict and quarrel is avoidable where queuing may not be.
The authorities, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), should put measures in place to avert any possible nasty situation. The police should be visible around all polling stations to ensure that people conduct themselves well and follow the law.
Maintaining peace during elections not only promotes protection, but also upholds the integrity of the electoral process. Post elections, people should accept the results, shake hands and congratulate the winners (and comfort the loser). This is a competition; as such we cannot all be winners.
We have seen the cost of turmoil in other countries where losing politicians make statements that incite violence amongst their followers.
People should desist from ever going down that road. We know it has not happened here before, but we must stress that it be kept that way.