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HOW TO VOTE LIKE A RANKURATA

Many (not enough) Batswana are voting on Wednesday, October 23 in the general election. If you are one of those who will be casting their vote you must ensure that you vote for the most problematic candidates. You must vote for people who intimidate you and talk down to you. I say, your heart should be with the courageous candidates whose lips casually spew sexism, misogyny, transphobia, homophobia and tribalism like a sweet melody. You must vote for true leaders who will keep you in poverty where you belong. These are the leaders we adore, those who maintain Botswana as a shining example of how to steal billions of Pula in public funds and never face the music for it. It is a fun and fantastic thing to vote-like-a-rankurata because you also get to bellow empty slogans when people try to converse with you about Botswana’s too-many crises.  

As a rankurata voter, my dear, you must necessarily get over-excited about shutting down the Botswana economy for five days because we are voting. Just understand it as “the longest long weekend in Botswana’s history” which, of course, sounds like an achievement. The longest long-weekend will obviously do wonders for the safety of our roads now that payday has moved to that same long-long weekend to ensure that there are more drunk drivers behind the wheel. You know how many of our people die from long weekends (because the leadership’s actions lead us to over-drink) but you must not think about such things when you vote. You must just be focused on getting into the festive season because December came early this year. You must not scrutinize.

When certain political candidates fuel tribalism with their mere insistence on divisive visibility, keep a loving eye on them. These are people who deserve your vote. When they hold political rallies in your area between now and October 23 you must show up with bells on, cry like a baby and dance like a fool. Stroke the egos of these politicians with your attendance and listen to them with understanding as they apologize for breaking the law, apologize for breaking the law, apologize for breaking the law and proceed to ask for your vote. Rankurata voter, you must vote for these botho-infused folk on Wednesday. Otherwise, how will you ever get a chance to be owned, reared and controlled? People like different things and there is certainly nothing wrong in wanting to be owned, reared and controlled like a cow. Always stand your ground as a tool for keeping political dynasties intact.

As a rankurata voter, you must not waste your precious time on discussing the fact that there is a possibility of Botswana having no female MPs in the next parliament. Instead, retweet pictures of female candidates and include your sexist captions about their clothes and bodies because debating with what they are saying is above your comprehension. Whether you are a woman, man or other, you must focus on looks only when a female candidate’s name comes up. The fear here is that if you listened to what is being said, you might learn something from a woman. Give into that fear, sweet sexist. Vote for only men, especially men who have been accused of abuse of women and children because we are familiar with that type of man. If you do that you will have fulfilled your loyalty to the destruction of our Botswana, and that is good.

Who cares if our university graduates walk the streets hungry, desperate and unemployed? Who cares if their anger might finally get violent this Election Day? Who would blame them? Don’t concern yourself with such trivialities, rankurata voter. Keep perpetuating the view of your freedom-square stars that our high unemployment rate has nothing to do with the colonial curriculum taught in Botswana schools. For party visibility, keep sharing social media links of your favorite candidates blaming youth unemployment on youth. As long as we remember to vote for state-sponsored creation of unemployment, all is well in this rankurata beacon of good governance, peace and stability.

Be ready to accept presents. This is the season when political candidates descend the chimney Santa-style bearing t-shirts, bandanas and caps to brand you as theirs like a cow. More sensible voters might accept the cheap gifts and proceed to vote for someone else. But you, a rankurata voter, must always vote for the hand that gave you a t-shirt donated by foreign governments. You will vote for people who dare place their party flags atop your combi for no pay (You don’t care about the Pula worth of that publicity; you are being a botho-infused citizen, after all). You will, hopeless creature, give your powerful vote to the hand that gave you an ill-fitting bandana and make it no concern of yours that this hand and other slimy hands exchanged between themselves gifts of billions of Pula clandestinely and at your expense as a taxpayer. If your favorite candidate brings bread and soup, eat and then grab a microphone to say you wish a certain political opponent were dead; you are putting a smile on the face of your favorite candidate. If your favorite candidate promises more gifts, you must never expect land.

This election season, dear creature, you will hear of the heartbreaking shutting down of the BCL mine and how the town of Selibe-Phikwe was then devastated into being an economic ghost-town plagued by suicide protests. But don’t worry, as long as the price of a Black Label quart has reduced then that means someone at the top is doing a good job. It may even mean that these are the best days of our lives. Just imagine.

You will hear of powerful British people who own our mighty Okavango from abroad and all that is around it, including your Black African body. In response, just mutter an empty party slogan because you must focus on things that maintain our negative peace. For example, as long as Btv still has the same theme song and drivers still crash into the UB wall by the circle and everyday weather forecast in Botswana remains eternally “partly cloudy and hot” then things are fine. Just go ahead and vote for wealthy people from wealthy dynasties. Vote for people who grew up eating croissants, eggs and bacon when you had to drink “starch water” for breakfast.

In closing, let me say that – sarcasm aside – October 23 has to be the day that a silent majority uses its voice and once will be enough. We, the pariahs sidelined for refusing to be corrupt, are angry.  We, who watched with pain the removal of Dr. Nasha as Speaker of the National Assembly in 2014 because she refused to break the law are here and awake and ready to vote in 2019. We, who lost our livelihoods and our family members to the 2011 strike, are here and ready to vote in remembrance of our agony. With our vote, we choose clean leadership and wipe our tears. We, too as Batswana deserve to live in abundance, led by people who understand the economy. We deserve clear-eyed leadership that can drag us out of the sewer of crises that the name Botswana currently swims in. Botswana needs people who have the courage to call a problem a problem, and the ability to solve it. Don’t be a rankurata.

I say that we must evolve politically as a people. For example, there is something uncomfortable to be said about a Presidential debate where a sitting Vice President is visibly in attendance and participates by asking a question, taking away that opportunity from the ordinary voters in attendance. It gets even more worrisome when it is said by the moderator that the VP is being given that chance over an ordinary voter because of his position as VP of the present government (which is also contesting). I won’t go into how said VP went on to berate the crowd for bad manners because they murmured protest at his intimidating participation. We, the angry majority, have noted this. We will vote accordingly, thank you.

Happy voting, and vote like a rankurata at your own risk.

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Written by Donald Molosi

Donald Molosi is President of the Upright African Movement.

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