I have taken leave from my citizen empowerment series to acknowledge that the elections are upon us.
We have two more weeks before we all go and exercise our democratic right. Let all us all be responsible citizens, and go put a vote for whatever party of our choice. All adults in a democracy have a duty to vote so as to legitimise the government of the day.
We can’t have a government of minorities. Minorities because voting adults would have derelicted their responsibilities by not voting. Government has been generous in these year’s elections to allow for extended leave so that everyone can travel to their respective voting stations. Let us also not take voting for granted.
Just in neighbouring South Africa and Zimbabwe, blood was spilt to have the majority to be able to have a say on who governs them.
With the elections, politicians and political parties become so desperate that they do or say things that will get you rolling on the floor. The stuff that comes out of the politicians for astounding and makes for other a great future or comedy. Recently one politician promised Formula One Racing to Kanye voters.
Another has promised his electorate a road. Another, at a rally in Tswapong recently said that because he is the son of a Kgosi, he can make rain and that is why since Mokaila took over his previous portfolio of Wildlife and Environment there has been no rain. Political parties either have not been spared in leaving your mouth agape.
Some are promising a windfall of cash on the population from the living wage to pensions. Even tertiary students will afford to be drunk all year round.
A story is told of Simon Muzenda, a Zanu-PF veteran who later on became Vice President of the Republic of Zimbabwe. Muzenda we are told was accustomed to eccentric utterances, often instructive and threatening to voters. In 2000 Zimbabwe parliamentary elections campaign, quoting from one newspaper clip, Muzenda was angry at Zanu-PF supporters who disapproved of the constituency candidate that had been imposed by the party leadership.
Angry that less than 1, 000 residents of Chivu, south of Harare, had turned up for a rally he was addressing in support of the candidate, he went berserk and lashed out. “Even we put a baboon in Chivu, if you are Zanu-PF you vote for that baboon,” apparently, he said.
Some were offended by this and viewed it as proof that Zanu-PF saw them as its personal property, but some of course as we have come to get accustomed to African voters saw it as a rallying call.
This surely reminds of me of the new kid on the block Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF). They have fielded some unknowns in places like Serowe North and Serowe South but just because Kgosi says they are his people, BPF members have to give them a serious consideration. “Kgosi Kgolo is always right. “Let us give him our brains for safe-keeping, and let him think for us”.
And in South Africa, when Zuma was ANC Head, he made utterances to the effect that Jesus Christ was an ANC member. And that the ANC was going to lead South Africa until Jesus Christ comes. Any black person that differed with the ANC or his administration was a clever black, a derogatory term.
As wild as these statements may seem, they often reflect ruling party’s patronising attitude to populations they believe is indebted to them. It is an attitude that one can find even here home of t-shirts, Caps, food and entertainment culture of our political season.
As soon as the elections are gone, the poor voting folk are forgotten and interests of Cartels and rent seeking with foreign companies becomes a priority. The messaging from the ruling party manifesto of this year is not convincing. Offering youth counselling is in a way an arrogant admission that the youth can continue to be jobless because they are too committed to the colours of red, black and white of Domkrag.
So much was the backlash with this manifesto promise of counselling that the BDP had withdraw it. But the damage had been already done. That the party is not taking is mandate of finding solutions to our country’s youth seriously.
I am also not going to spare the opposition. I have been in record to say that some of their promises are unrealistic and at best opportunistic.
It goes back to taking advantage of people’s desperation and making promises they very well know they won’t be able to keep. Because you have no job, or your pay is so little, block your nose and place that cross next to opposition symbol because P3,000 minimum wage awaits you after October or you can get employment from a hemp industry.
Really now? The reality is that we have an obscene unemployment rate, we have no industries, or no strong, active private sector. Add that 50% of our workforce is under government assistance of Ipelegeng. One would have thought that seriousness was going to be placed in providing real solutions to our country’s problems in this year’s elections.
Not the glossy, marketing vague promises that we have seen both from the BDP and opposition. Actually, one client of mine made a comment at one Manifesto release and said “what a nice photo album”. “Lots of pictures but short on content. “Long on rhetoric and short on substance”.
Government might as well call Batswana Imbeciles when addressing them. Steve Harvey was brought to town to show up job creation in the area of arts. Some Batswana in the SMME sector felt so insulted by this visit.
That whilst government is bringing comedians from America, government was failing to simply pay SMME’s their invoices all but for fear that this money will be used to sponsor councilors and MPs of the opposition. Failure to pay SMMEs invoices in time destroys their cash flows and their very existence. It is a none brainer.