Botswana politics gone to the dogs!

04th September 2017


By Matshidiso Fologang

Which way Botswana politics? I have never thought I would ever write politics here. However, recent political developments in our political landscape have made me reconsider this position. I have always wanted to concentrate on traditional traits and culture. I have realised that politics has become part of our culture. When we became political beings then, politics was a source of hope.

There was created in our minds hope for a better future with peace and social justice. Coming out of an era of a society plagued with despair, poverty and dire unemployment, our founding fathers built within all those who were new to the world of politics this hope. With the discovery of diamonds and resultant improvement of the economy, this hope became a reality for those that lived then.

We became a positive and happy society that lived the dream of our founding fathers. Our economy thrived and with it came much more improvement in the socio-economic and technological being of this nation. We were seen all over the globe as a beacon of hope in the midst of despair. We were envied by the rest of the continent. Our politics was based on mutual respect and general tolerance amongst the political participants.

We, unlike other nations, never experienced any violence and political instability. This was not a credit to one particular political organisation but it was due to all participating organisations. The whole nation shared this hope. Political events and developments have of late depicted a situation where hope is becoming a mirage. We have been observed to be one of the least happy people in the world.

We have also become a very angry people. This phenomenon should never be attributed to any particular group or organisation but to the entire society. Recent political shenanigans bear proof to this. If any person out there fools himself to think the Matshekge debacle is about the opposition alone he has not keenly followed our socio-economic and political developments.

This year alone we have had tiffs amongst youth in Tsabong, and many places when our political organisation met to map the way for their various congresses and conferences. It is not that our youth have become non-conformists. We must take cognizance of the fact that when our economy performed well we provided education to a great number of our youth.

We however did not provide enough employment opportunities for these. What is even a challenge is that our demographic composition lately depicts a population highly composed of youth. Despite government empowerment programmes this sector of the population is faced with stringent banking and credit facilities. Majority of them have done all to find ways of finding alternatives but they are considered unbankable.

Those who have got access to the national cake are known to be part of the socio-economic and political patronage network and have become “captured” by those in leadership position. This is not about the ruling elite alone. We have witnessed this across the political landscape. What happens to those outside the captured network? There is likelihood of violently opposed groups of youth emerging out of these. We then witness growth of militancy amongst our very unhappy people amongst our orhanisations. We have as a nation adopted this “winner takes all” system across our political landscape, which further worsens our situation. We must look into our way of doing politics.

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