The highly anticipated Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) Kang congress has come and gone, and proceedings were reportedly peaceful, which in itself is indeed commendable. A lot happened in the past few months, especially with regards to the historical presidential race between Member of Parliament for Serowe South, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi and President Mokgweetsi Masisi.
For the past weeks print media had screaming headlines on the BDP presidential race, and they as would be expected created a lot of buzz on social media, and opened up debate amongst citizens, which is a welcome development.
While some gave good analysis on the situation and offered constructive arguments, there are still those who restricted themselves to hurling insults at either Venson-Moitoi or President Masisi. The larger proportion of those who chose to deviate from healthy debate and resort to insults was sadly the youth.
Well, one of the many positives we are known for in Botswana is the way we respect our elders, but sadly, an ugly side seems to be developing, especially when it comes to politics. Yes, we all know the phrase ‘politics is a dirty game’ is rearing its ugly head in our beautiful country.
We have time and again applauded Batswana for the increasing interest in holding their government accountable, and having a say in how their country is run. That is very commendable and encouraged, but healthy debate does not in anyway include insults. In a democracy citizens exercise power by voting, and the simplified definition, which has been used since time immemorial is ‘the government of the people by the people, for the people’, hence the importance of citizen participation in politics.
If we as citizens of this country use our energy in a meaningful way, by engaging one another in a respectful way, which addresses real issues or challenges and how best they could be solved, we would definitely take our country very far; but unfortunately, some seem to believe that character assassination and insults can contribute positively towards the development of this country.
Insults have never accomplished any positive yield in any set-up, and it does not do much for the person who has made it their practice to insult others. Unless someone can prove otherwise, insulting an opponent has not won elections for anyone, neither has it ever gained anyone respect of the people, especially those who take themselves seriously. In short, using ill-mannered ways to engage in political debates does not serve anyone, if anything, it wastes precious time, which we could be using to make sound contribution, which will be used towards the development of our country. Let’s just take a moment to reflect and ensure that we engage each other meaningfully.