The evolution of opposition politics in Botswana

Some people have attested that one of the fastest changing landscapes in life is that of politics. Political life is a maze, and politicians are constantly on the move trying as best as they can to beat their opponents. For one to move, they must apply zigzag manoeuvre. And in politics, zag will not work in the place of zig.

I have come to discover the reason why military generals seem to be so much at home in the battlefield of politics. Losing ground and finding ways of taking it back characterises the way any war is conducted. In the case of the BDP, they have lost a very prime piece of real estate in Good Hope/Mabule and they are determined to wrestle it back from the opposition. Battle lines have been drawn and the assault on the objective is tomorrow.

Certainly, money has been a big factor in the run up to this by-election. Starting with the resignation of the MP all the way to the resignation of a councillor in the neighbouring Lobatse constituency, money has played a big role.

In politics, money is the ammunition that fuels the campaign, and in the military it is the bullets.

When the position of area MP fell vacant, the ruling BDP celebrated a retake of their traditional home ground. The arrival of Kgosi Lotlaamoreng in the battlefield became a shocker to the BDP. It is common factor in any war that one camp pulls a surprised against the other, and he really has become a secret weapon.

Kgosi Lotlaamoreng has become a key catalyst in the evolution of the opposition politics in this country.

The fact of the matter is; there is more movement in the camp of the opposition as compared to what is taking place in the ruling party. Opposition politicians have a shorter lifespan within their camp and like I said earlier, money is a major factor here.

The ruling BDP is more than prepared to destabilise the opposition camp. They are doing this in every possible way. In the past we have seen them use conversional and non-conversional methods of winning at general and bye-elections. It is in the rumour mill right now that they are prepared to spend big in tomorrow’s by-election. Why spend big on the day of election? It is common sense that the spending for any political party happens in the days approaching poll day. One of the unconventional methods coming into play tomorrow will be the application of selfies, and those people who will be willing to produce the evidence of a photograph of themselves with the marked ballot paper will be rewarded.

As far as I know, there is no law against the self photography when in the polling booth, unless the penal code says something different. I had the opportunity to monitor South Africa’s parliamentary elections last year and the country has outlawed photographing of the ballot paper.

When taking into account the fact that this is largely a rural constituency, one could play down this threat because most part of the population will be technologically challenged in their effort to fulfil this exercise of cheating.

The BDP’s popularity is mainly in the rural parts of the constituency and that brings the technology battle to Good Hope and its environs. The one thing that opposition parties must agree on with the BDP is that cellular phones must be barred from all polling booths. If the ruling party does not accede to such demands, then that can be used to form the basis for any future protests on the Saturday poll.

The BDP win in this constituency is actual and can be realised by Sunday morning. There are different ways of rigging, and that includes the use of mobile phone technology. The irregularities at recent BDP primaries were so glaring that it makes my heart jump when I think of it. If the party can do it on their own members, what more on members of the opposition.

Another factor which stands in favour of the BDP is the insistence of Comfort Molale Maruping and his party the BCP to run at this election. Of course the fellow’s middle name is Molale. Even a blind man can see that the BCP is going to make a distant third in this race, but there is certainly a driving motive in their running. Political campaigns are expensive by their nature and any reasonable political organisation will not just run for the sake of running. I can smell a rat here.

Such has become the state of our democracy. The opposition has evolved in such a way that they are of easy reach depending on the offer on the table. In short, opposition members have become so cheap nowadays.  The recent suspensions at the BCP are just a synopsis of the things that lie beneath the surface. As they say; we can only see the tip of the iceberg. This is in reference to both the BCP and the UDC. These are partners in crime.

Opposition politicians have dropped value like the Zim dollar during its worst days and are sold like commodity in an open market. If they were brides, their bride price would be paid in goats and not cattle.

Older politicians have in fact shown more resilience and some sense of stubbornness when it comes to defections. Filbert Nagafela is one such good example. He struggled for so many years to make it to council and later to parliament. Being a seasoned and committed politician, he certainly has been approached by the BDP at one point or the other to defect to their camp. This is obvious because the BDP believes in proselytizing as opposed to grooming their own. The BDP’s rank and file are swelling with so many ex-opposition members as it is their policy to buy cheap politicians from the opposition camp. More opposition politicians have defected to the BDP since the establishment of the national intelligence kit.

Will the UDC demonstrate to the rest of the country that it is still a party full of fire in its belly? That is the question that many are still asking in this country and abroad. The defections don’t seem to be quenching their fire.

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