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It is going to get Political

Publishing Date : 15 January, 2019

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This year marks the fifth year since the last general election, which therefore means the 11th parliament will be dissolved as political parties seek new mandate from electorates. While elections have been a guarantee in Botswana since 1965, the political environment is in turmoil, and for the first time in years, there is a lot of uncertainty.

The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is currently in court, with some facets of the party challenging the legitimacy of President Mokgweetsi Masisi as party leader. Not long ago, there was an attempt by to remove Masisi from office, which would have subsequently led to the dissolution of parliament. The no motion of confidence is believed to have been hatched within the ruling party albeit sponsored by Leader of Opposition, Duma Boko in parliament.

We owe the peace that we have in Botswana largely due to the maturity of the ruling party in dealing with leadership tussles, and the spirit of selflessness that has ensured that there is consensus reached around transitions from one leader to another. What is happening now is unique, and it is foreign to the culture of the ruling party. If we are not vigilant, the country will plunge into some turmoil as we have seen in other countries.

The country’s troubles are compounded by the fact that the second largest political party, the coalition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) is also in disarray. Not only has it lost its crucial legislators to newly formed Alliance for Progressives (AP), it has also failed to manage its leadership crisis, which created most of its problems.

Opposition has this mistaken believe that unlike the ruling party, they need not to accountable or their actions. They simple forgot that they are next in line of governance, hence the populace will expect them to behave in a befitting manner. Leaders are not only those that we see in government, but any man or woman who so desire to chart a path that will beneficial the progress of the country.

So, politicians in essence, both in government and in opposition have the same obligation of putting the country first in their actions, and what we have been seeing recently do not indicate that leaders are measuring up. As one of the founding fathers Sir Ketumile Masire once said, when Botswana was founded as a democracy, the idea was that all people who had ideas about governing the country, would be allowed to form political parties and canvass for support.

Essentially, individuals were allowed to form political parties solely for the interest of the citizens.  Botswana could be as well at present moment be facing problems of leadership at political level. While democracy is a right given to all members of political parties, the events in the BDP are most a result of political decisions which were ill-conceived, hence we see what is happening in the party today.

Another harsh reality that we must accept as a nation is the fact that it has never been obvious like it is today that politicians care more about themselves than they do about their country and let alone their political parties. If that was not the case, UDC or the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) would have never split. It is obvious that chain of events in the UDC family which led to the splitting of UDC could have been dealt with, if leaders involved engaged each other in good faith, and knew that being leaders is not about them, but the people and the country.

Even in the BDP, what we are witnessing now is not a major political problem, but petty personal interests at play. With the benefit of hindsight, we can see that the state has been mortgaged to personal interest, and this itself will surely result in government which delivers little for its citizens. The conundrum that we find ourselves as a country in, calls for a new generation of leaders and also the active civil society, to remind the politicians of their obligations as leaders. With only 10 months to go, Botswana is indeed in a sorry state, by our own standards of course, and there is a need to have leaders who would rise to the occasion.



Do you think the courts will help put the UDC, BMD impasse within reasonable time ahead of the 2019 General Election?