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Of song, dance and theatrics

RYDER GABATHUSE
BDP supporters PIC: KEOAGILE BONANG
FRANCISTOWN: Singing and dancing together at political events without the coordination of a conductor or choreographer, presents politicians as artists of note. It has become an unwritten rule that powerful songs and dance as an endeavour to cultivate the right atmosphere for such gatherings duly precedes political meetings.

Singing and dancing together has become a symbol of unity. It seemingly gives politicians some happiness, joy or is just the fun of being in politics even when confronted with hostility.  There are geniuses that are also gifted in singing and dancing to the extent that they will not leave an event without leading a song or two. To some, it is a ritual that cannot be omitted come rain or sunshine.

Take for instance, the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) presidential candidate in the forthcoming party elections set for Kang, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi with her sultry voice belting out a party song that simply changed the mood of a meeting recently.

The venue was the Tati River Lodge, a usually quiet place. As Ford Moiteela, the master of ceremonies gave Venson-Moitoi the microphone, she belted out the party song, “…Ka nnete, re ya e rata Domi…” and roughly translated it means, “truly we love Domi our party.”  The hall was immediately lit as people reacted by singing and dancing. Besides ululating and whistling, as if it was well rehearsed, the hall shouted, “mosadi” a vernacular word referring to a woman. The loud shouts of mosadi will dominate Venson-Moitoi’s address in appreciation of her boldness in taking a bull by its horns as she has challenged Masisi for the BDP presidency.

As people wiped sweat from their sweat-soaked faces after a short engagement on the floor with the youthful party diehards teaching their elderly counterparts a dance move or two, the power of song and dance was simply demonstrated. Theatrics were also abundant as Venson-Moitoi and her team used anything at their disposal to send their message home.

In high spirits after the song and dance, Venson-Moitoi further set the hall alight and in a fit of laughter when she said: “…Gatwe re e go lema nna le Mma-Sengalo (Angelinah)...nna ga ke mosadimogolo yo o lemang (I and Sengalo we have been told by our opponents to go to the lands and plough and leave politics to younger colleagues. I am not the old woman who ploughs.)” Intended or not, her remarks left her supporters in tenterhooks.

As people were still hooked up in that mood of song and dance, she cracked again: “Nna ke ikaelela go busa lefatshe le (My plan is to rule this country)”.

Shaking her body, she demonstrated that she still has energy to serve the country as the head of state after serving the government for a solid 40 years with nearly 20 of those as Cabinet minister.

“I can’t

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raise political children and dump them on the way when they expected me to take them to the Promised Land,” thundered the already high-spirited BDP presidential aspirant. She presented herself as an old woman whose plan is to ‘straighten up’ things and not to mess up anything. “That is my plan with you. I am not an old woman wa seso (foolish one) who will plough the field and instead of harvesting the produce for the grandchildren she chooses to abandon the field,” she spoke in parable. She was bold that her mission in Francistown was to solicit for votes from the Francistown region.

“Whilst I have sent people to talk to you, I have decided to come to you in person,” she told the meeting and added: “When I invited people to attend this meeting so that I can canvass for your support, I heard some of you have been warned that they will be either written letters of warning or simply reprimanded for interacting with my lobby team”.

She informed the meeting that the laws of the country allow freedom of association and further informed the meeting that they had a right to meet and talk pertinent issues.

“This meeting was arranged by me and you are not guilty of any wrongdoing and you should not be intimidated by anyone to be here now and even in future meetings.” As for the incessant attacks between Khama and Masisi, Venson-Moitoi wondered if the two could be clashing over their toys or bicycles as they used to play together as boys since their fathers are the party and government founding fathers. Khama’s father the late Sir Seretse Khama was formerly president whilst Masisi’s father was state minister.

“Their conflicts are seriously affecting the ruling BDP and its government,” she said and observed that whilst Khama and Masisi are still fighting for their toys, she has decided to challenge the latter for the party presidency. 

Her observation was that if the duo’s differences were based on principle, they would have long met as various people and organisations have long called them to meet and resolve their differences. “Ga kena nako ya go tshameka (I have no time to joke). 

How can I choose to play when I have the challenges of representing you and showing the masses the right direction?” She highlighted that if there was anyone who knew the government systems it was “this one”, the now animated Venson-Moitoi demonstrated by beating her chest incessantly as she emphasised her point.



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