Choose Wisely During Primary Elections

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For a while now, many Batswana have decried the low calibre of representatives, in councils and parliament, who they often say are unqualified to represent them as they either do not have basic minimum education requirements like a university degree or do not have the extensive corporate governance experience required to create good laws and policies.
Others have however challenged this premise saying that even people without college education can be good leaders as they are more in touch with reality on the ground and are able to provide practical solutions to problems unlike their educated counterparts who are more consumed with philosophical showmanship and speaking “big English” instead of addressing everyday bread and butter issues.
Government Chief Whip and Letlhakeng-Lephephe MP Likat Kably has become synonymous with this debate as he is often projected as the epitome of ineffectiveness in parliament, partly because of his advanced age. Age itself is often made much of and was popularized as a problem in the late 1990s and early 2000s when purportedly ineffective cabinet members were demoted in cabinet reshuffles, earning themselves the label “dead wood” for either their perceived ineffectiveness due to age or for being apathetic.
Political parties need to provide guidance on what the correct criteria ought to be- given feedback from voters over the years. Recently, the Botswana National Front (BNF) Youth League urged its mother body and the UDC to consider people with a “proven public service track record”, as well as age- especially youthful representatives and those that have worked to uplift the poor and downtrodden.
The problem in Botswana is that incumbent candidates often eventually develop an entitlement mentality similar to that found in Chieftainship where as well as not wanting to be challenged during party primary elections, some even go to the extent of making everything possible for their kith and keen to inherit wards and constituencies even when there are better and more able candidates who are not part of their ‘dynasty’.
This is what often leads to bitter fights and factionalism which in turn leads to ineffective leadership where instead of pursuing any greater developmental agenda, party members get absorbed into counterproductive clashes that stall everything- with the incumbent being targeted and discredited at all cost- at the detriment of the constituency or ward.
For 2019, Batswana should reward themselves by nominating good candidates who understand the magnitude of the problems posed by unemployment, lack of industries, poor economic diversification, a collapsing education system, poor rural and urban development and other things which affect the viability of the country from their small villages to big towns. What Batswana must get themselves in candidates is effective problem solvers and people who will seek to emulate the best examples from around the world, instead of using Somalia and other downtrodden countries of the world as benchmarks.
The post 2019 epoch should be epitomized by policies that have a big impact in people’s lives at the end of the day, from their basic human rights to the size and quality of the meal they eat at the end of the day.