Government has been warned that its heavy handed reaction to peaceful demonstrations could catalyze more riotous behavior in an era where Batswana are growing bold in demanding answers from their leaders.
This is according to Botswana People’s Party President Motlatsi Molapisi who recently spoke to The Botswana Gazette following a series of demonstrations across the country which he says represent “a new phase of politics.”
“In the past 50 years Botswana politics were in phase one, but that has since changed, the political landscape has completely turned. The evidence of peaceful demonstrations happening is a sign that we have entered phase two of Botswana politics. Batswana now demand answers, and leaders should account,” he explained.
This new phase, Molapisi elaborated, represents a phase in which the old silence of Batswana is wearing off as injustices are becoming unbearable. This then, he said, requires government to provide answers and accept that is has a role to give people positive feedback about all the queries they raise as failing to do so can only provoke more demonstrations.“The government should remain humble in all these demonstrations because it is them who have been entrusted with the power to change things in the last 50 years. Beating them and ridiculing protesters will only lead to riots very early,” he said.
Molapisi warned the government against trying to repress people into silence, saying that is what led to most of the chaos now rife in most African countries.
“Batswana are now fed up; they want to understand why they should trust institutions provided for them by government whilst they don’t trust them. If leaders can’t use local health facilities or take their children to the schools they built then some will question the credibility of such facilities. They are justified in doing that, and they should be given answers not to be silenced,” he said.
According to Molapisi, a new Botswana is carving itself out and will emerge even if government tries to stunt it through unfairness and use of force. In fact, he emphasized that attempts to bully citizens could only lead to uprisings which will lead to them taking power by force: all this will be determined by the emerging events and will likely shape up the Botswana of the next 5 years, Molapisi predicted.