There’s a saying in our country that speaks volumes to Botswana current political scenario, “Batswana ba lebala ka bonako.” This simply translates to, “Batswana forget very quickly.”
We could name the many things we have forgotten over these years but we simply don’t have enough pages in this issue to expound on the transgressions made against the people of this country by those who have been charged with the mandate of governing.
If there is one pertinent issue that has yet escaped our collective amnesia, it is that of the BDP’s blatant and false promise that Ian Khama’s was going to retire from active politics. What is especially irksome about this facade is that as a publication we warned Batswana of the impeding situation, the plot which is unfolding before our very eyes. In 2015 we published an article that purported Khama’s intentions and consequently drew the ire of his minions as well as the might of government’s tax payer funded PR machine, whose regular rebuttals on state media become the meme worthy,“ Mmuso o tshwentswe ke dipego tse di reng….”
Barely 8 months since he left the helm of leadership, Khama is now at the centre of the controversy he and his party promised would never befall African’s shining democracy. To add insult to injury, we now have to contend with another figment of our collective amnesia, the return to active politics by yet another divisive political pawn who swore up and down that she had retired from politics. Let’s face it, Pelonomi Venson’s “surprise” entry into they race for the BDP presidency was something we could have all predicted. This is not the first time she has resurfaced after ceremoniously announcing her imminent departure, only to return supporting yet another doomed cause, possibly at the behest of Khama’s nefarious political plan.
To many Batswana, this seems like just too much to handle. The nation was glad to be rid of Khama and there was a genuine hope that indeed we were headed for better days. This makes Venson’s betrayal all the more painful; the fact that Ian is not acting alone, but still has the support of senior members within the ruling party. Then again, no surprises here. What is surprising is our collective resignation with the impeding status quo. We have resigned ourselves to the possibility of another ten years of mis-rule, but it does not have to be so. Last time we checked Botswana is a constitutional democracy and the power to change the course of history lies in our hands.
This is no regular year, it is an election year and now more than ever the country’s democracy needs you to exercise your constitutionally given right and that is to vote out the rot. At your finger tips is the power of knowledge. Your vote is meaningless until you inform yourself of the issues on the ground. Only then will you see things as they really are and fully appreciate your individual role in the grander scheme of things. These people are not omnipotent. Their credibility is available for you to question and rightfully rebuke.
Supplemental registration is now open until the end of March and if you missed the opportunity to register last year please do it before its too late. There’s another saying about Africans. “If you want to hide something from a black man, put it in a book or a newspaper.” Keep yourself informed so we don’t make the same mistake of letting Ian through the backdoor again, lest the legacy of Botswana’s democracy is remembered as a cliché for our political inertness.