As the date for general elections approaches, politicians find themselves walking on eggshells, with those who have skeletons in the closet, fighting hard to ensure that their secrets do not come out into the light.
Exposés are becoming the order of the day, and while some are merely propaganda geared towards discrediting opponents, these revelations have power to influence and sway votes.
Previous elections have always been so predictable that anyone with interest in politics knew that Botswana Democratic Party would win the polls, with the only uncertainty being just how many seats the opposition would be able to garner. This time around the political landscape has changed, politicians and activists across the political divide have taken a different approach, and the back and forth bickering has left voters unsure of whom to trust.
Voters all of a sudden find themselves in a situation of having to decipher volumes and volumes of information from different corners, and try to sift the truth through the propaganda, if not entirely separate the two.
‘Secrets’ are coming out or rather information is being released on leaders of different parties, with the hope that it would tarnish them enough for voters to see them as not worthy of power to lead the people. Social media is also being used to push campaigns, and also discredit opponents, but then again the likes of Facebook gives feedback on the uncertainty and confusion that ensues amongst voters as a result of recent exposés.
There are talks of some being friends with dangerous people, while others have been mentioned as beneficiaries of ‘dirty money’. Some have been branded as corrupt people who will run the country to the ground, whether true or not; the information keeps flowing from different corners.
And now, the big question is how do voters sieve this mountain of data, and separate accurate information from propaganda to objectively vote? Politics is a tricky game, and it is common knowledge that ‘dirty politics’ has existed from time immemorial.
While not all politicians play dirty, each and every country will have some who believe playing dirty is the path to victory. Political analysts can of course assist in unpacking some of the issues brought to the fore, provided the commentators are non-partisan.
It is important for the electorates to be given accurate information with the hope that they will absorb it to make informed decisions. he media also has a huge responsibility of ensuring that it provides readers, listeners and viewers with balanced information.
During times like these, journalists and editors should be extremely cautious to not fall prey to unscrupulous individuals who try to sway them towards biases and away from objectivity and facts, which may harm their credibility as well as the integrity of their publications.