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Campaign madness ends today

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The hype on the streets is already evident. Political party colours are sloshed in every corner, banners pinned in streetlights while billboards are visible in every village.

Politicians from all the contesting parties are traversing the width and breadth of the country to drum up support.

They are unswervingly urging  voters to turn out in large numbers at the polls to secure victory for their parties. Undoubtedly, the level and intensity of political competition this election year has reached fever pitch.

It is that time of the year again, where politicians use every trick in the book to persuade voters that they deserve their individual votes.

The charisma and eloquence at freedom squares are the order of the day. Election day is tomorrow, therefore, daggers are out and politicians are fighting tooth and nail to solicit votes. 

Without any shadow of doubt, the campaigns for this year’s general elections are one of the most visible in the history of Botswana politics.

In an interview, secretary general of the newly formed Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Ms Roselyn Panzirah-Matshome could not share much of her party’s campaign strategy.

“I will not go much into revealing our strategy, our aim is to keep it a closed book to our opponents,” she added. Ms Panzirah-Matshome said their biggest challenge had been lack of resources.

However, she said they devised a strategy of conducting robust house-to-house campaigns to spread their political message. 

Quizzed on their tagline “Ke nako!” she said it was a message that after decades of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) governance, it was now time to make a change to the lives of Batswana.

Ms Panzirah- Matshome said her party was appealing to youth as the entire national executive committee was made up of young people.

For her part, national campaign manager for the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), Ms Tebelelo Seretse explained her party’s campaign slogan Masisi oa re bitsa, re aya!”. 

“Masisi o re biletsa economic transformation to create jobs, social transformation, developments, peace, digital economy, private sector growth and to develop the ordinary citizen of the beautiful land,” she added.

Ms Seretse said they were pleased with their campaign strategy, which was working well. She admitted that their opponents had stepped up their game and her campaign team had to raise the bar.

BDP’s election manifesto theme for this year was: Advancing Together Towards a more Inclusive Economy.

Alliance for Progressives (AP) secretary general, Dr Phenyo Butale explained that his party’s campaign message was consistent and anchored on objective and measurable targets.

“We have the same interpretation of our message as AP. We tell you we want to grow our economy on an average of 10 percent per year for six years, mathematically this means we would have doubled the size of the economy. We explain job creation step by step. We also have a youthful representative at both council and parliamentary candidates,” he added.

Making its inauguration appearance in this year’s general election, AP is trading with the slogan: Jobs for all, clean government, land for all.

Another new comer to the political fold is the Real Alternative Party (RAP). 

Secretary general of the newly formed party, Mr Onkemetse Clark-Lerubisi decried the lack of a level playing field in the electoral campaign.

He said the media resorted to sensational and biased reporting about his organisation.

“We had a plan to reach out to our supporters but as you know, we are the only political movement that is not funded and that became an expensive undertaking. The lack of financial resources hampered our campaign plans,” said Mr Lerubisi. 

Mr Lerubisi said the state of politics was not fair to ordinary citizens since it was not issue based but relied much on personal egos. He said his party comes in for patriotism.

Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) spokesperson, Mr Moeti Mohwasa said his party had gone an extra mile to become as visible as it was today.

He said the challenge had been unfair coverage from state media, which was being used for the ruling party’s political mileage.

Mr Mohwasa applauded his party’s efforts against all the challenges they faced. UDC recently launched the ‘Sekhukhu tour’, a voter outreach programme meant to cover all 57 constituencies in 12 days before the final launch of party president, Advocate Duma Boko last weekend at Diphetogo grounds in Gaborone West. 

The UDC tagline is ‘Decent jobs, decent lives’.

Efforts to contact Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) leadership were fruitless. Their phones ran unanswered.

A political commentator, Mr Solly Rakgomo said he was impressed by the overall campaign trail for this year’s general elections

He said the pre-election period did not record any forms of political violence, which was an indication that Botswana was doing well in abiding by recommended principles of a democratic election.

Mr Rakgomo said Botswana was doing well in comparison to many African states, where reports of violence and harassment of the media was rampant. 

Mr Rakgomo said social media also had an upper hand in the level of engagement and access to political information.

He said social media had also re-shaped the political campaigns and added a spark to the political landscape. 

He admitted that there was a steep rise in youth participation mainly due to increased use of social media. ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Baleseng Batlotleng

Location : GABORONE

Event : Interview

Date : Oct 21 Mon,2019

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