The Futility Of Partisan Politics

Botswana needs a change of governing party. It has got to a point where there is no way of reforming the current governing party. No matter which administration takes over, as long as it's that of the current ruling party, the culture of sluggishness, incompetence, lethargy as well as corruption and looting fostered by 55 continuous years in government will continue to prevail. 

Understandably and rightfully so, there seems to be a social media campaign geared towards trying to get current ruling party supporters to flip their vote in 2024. This is great. But the only problem I'm seeing with this campaign is that although it's doing great in showing the ruling party supporters the incompetency of their party, it is undoing all its great work by trying to shame and condescend the ruling party supporters into changing their party affiliations.

It is not hard to show the incompetency of the ruling party. Ever since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the party has been doing a great job of letting everyone see how much of a lost cause it is.  Its supporters, no matter how much justification they spew on social media, subconsciously or otherwise, can see this even without them being shamed for their choice of party.

Instead of campaigning for the opposition parties and trying to shame and condescend ruling party supporters into flipping from red to blue, yellow or purple, I believe it would be better to focus on only showing them the futility of voting for the red party over and over again and let the opposition party politicians themselves do their job of convincing Batswana to vote for them. Let them show Batswana that they are a worthy alternative to the disaster that is the ruling party. This shouldn't be too hard because the ruling party itself is showing every week how much of a disaster it is.

Here is why I believe shaming and condescending is self-defeating. Humans HATE being told what to do. The more you tell someone that they should do this instead of that, the more they will become even more resolute in doing what they have been doing instead of what you are suggesting because their reasoning is that you are telling them what to do (in this case, who to vote for) because you think you know better than them. This stubbornness is human nature and there is no way of changing it.

Instead of calling the ruling party supporters and calling them all sorts of names, I believe it will work better to call them forward and explain why it will serve the country best if they were to explore other options apart from the ruling party in 2024. Do not shove the party of your choice down their throats. Do not try to decide for them. Let them explore alternatives themselves and come to a decision of what to flip their vote to.

The very being of this country depends on us exploring other options for government. Old bureaucracies in the ruling party government will always defeat even the most well-meaning red party administration. Getting ruling party supporters to change their vote is going to require a collective effort from both citizens and the opposition politicians.

Explain to them why their loyalty to the ruling party is doing more harm than good to the country they love. Make them understand that all of us, regardless of party affiliation, want to see Botswana succeed. Do not imply that just because they are voting red means they love the country less or just because you are voting blue or any other colour means you love the country more. That is shaming and acting holier than thou and it won't work.

Blue, yellow, purple or red, the fact is that we all want one thing as the middle class; for this country to succeed. Party affiliations aside, for this to happen, this country needs a breather from the current ruling party. This country's defacto one-party stateship is not good for it and will continue to be detrimental if allowed to go on. As the middle class, the power lies in our hands, literally. The elites only make a tiny fraction of the electorate. We have the numbers. Instead of fighting amongst ourselves, let us all realize that we want the same thing and unapologetically try to get everyone on board to attaining it in 2024.

Being a democracy, the only way to change this status quo is at the ballot box. Education in both rural and urban electorates about the need to explore other alternatives is key. That's where the success of 2024 lies and that's where the focus should be. Zambians successfully and democratically changed their ruling party and so can we.

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