Somebody tell these leaders to sit down

I have been debating with some friends, what principal residence should be. One of the most preposterous suggestions I have heard, coming from their mortgaged lips, has been that the individual must be asked what their principal residence is and that their word must be final of the subject. Such an absurdity would provide a blank cheque for mass voter trafficking, the very reason why the requirement of “principal residence” was enacted in the first place.

It makes no sense, according to me, to insist that you should swamp up a voter’s roll for a particular locality with non-resident voters. That would in fact, disenfranchise the local population and render their vote meaningless.  Indeed there may be reason to revisit the definition but there must be a modicum of control. It may well be that the choice should be widened to at least two primary residences, or that we should move to a hybrid system as some have suggested. For some people, it is really a close call, where their primary residence is. I have great sympathy with members of parliament and soldiers, for example, who might live and work away from their constituencies. I think there is jurisprudential merit for their exclusion albeit on a case by case basis. All said and done though, it is somewhat surprising how people suddenly, for reasons of political convenience, pretend to be confused where they really stay. I do not think that there is honestly, any individual who is unaware of their primary residence. What we are seeing is hypocrisy and dishonesty playing out at a grand scale by both party leaders and sycophantic followers.

Whichever way you look at it, the issue has suddenly become the most important subject in public discourse, alongside presidential security. Attention has been diverted from electoral, bread and butter issues to saving party leaders from the sword of Damocles and from personal indiscretions. The political space is extremely stuffy. This year’s election seems to be less about Batswana and more about political leaders and their survival. On one side the opposition believe that the president is a cry baby, and that alleged threats to his life belong in the same library section as the adventures of Tom Sawyer and of Huckleberry Finn. Forget that they have no evidence to disprove the assertions. All is fair, in love and in war.

Meanwhile, the President believes that somewhere, there is a bullet with his name on it. He lives, we are told, in fear of some of his subjects, who may be looking to take his life. Some say he signed his soul off to the devil and that the devil has merely returned collect his debts. I do not know about that. What I do know is that not so long ago, is that things were different. People feared the president. Very recently we are told that the presidential plane made a U-turn mid-air and headed back home on security concerns. The president, we are told had to hide in the bush while the security situation was being resolved.  Things have changed so fast.

What is interesting to me is that this time around, however, no one seems to think that the security organs are out to kill any opposition leader or personality. No hit list is being alleged and opposition leaders seem not to have any safety worries. Only the former President seems to live in mortal fear of the state machinery that not so long ago, under his presidency, wreaked terror in the bravest hearts. The hunter has become the hunted.  How fast, things change.

Even as they are told the presidential plane had to make a forced landing in Francistown, the opposition allege that alleged threats to presidential security are nothing but ploys to buy public sympathy and votes. Their response is invariably cynical and dismissive. While all these important people are worried over their mortal and political survival, the ordinary Motswana the ordinary Motswana is scared to send a child across the street to the shops. There has been a spate of murders, supposedly actuated by motives of robbery.  In one instance, a family was found completely destroyed. The leaders simply don’t care.

Their own safety and security is what the public must remain fixated on. There is something fundamentally wrong with our politics at least since April 1, 2018. I have voted without fail since I attained voting age. Never at any point were party presidents’ interests key election issues. The most important person at this time of the year must be the child with no shoes, the unemployed, those dying in hospitals because drugs are in short supply, among others. Instead, focus is on the over privileged. The security situation of the president and his predecessor is, with all their supposed vulnerabilities, already more than 100 times better than that of the average citizen, who might not return home from the shops alive to deliver bread to his kids.

I do value the security of the first citizen, of the former president and the welfare of opposition leaders. It would be sad if we lost one of them to an assassination or if one would not contest elections because they made a silly mistake giving a wrong address to an election officer. But politics must be about the citizens and not about political leaders. Somebody tell all these leaders to sit down.

Editor's Comment
Escalating fuel prices cause panic

Nowadays it is not uncommon to purchase an item for a certain commodity and return to the shops in a week, to find the same item has gone up by a significant amount of money.Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA) last week announced yet another fuel price increase, which follows yet another increase that came into effect on March 29. Hardly two months later on May 12 boom, BERA announced yet another increase, which came into effect at a...

Have a Story? Send Us a tip
arrow up