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Without your vote, democracy expires!

Publishing Date : 14 October, 2019

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Voting is the cornerstone of any democracy, but sadly far too few people vote. On the week of 23rd October 2019 hundreds of thousands of Batswana will flock multiple designated polling stations around the country to choose Botswana’s new government. We urge all the eligible 926 003 registered voters to make use of this opportunity. Voting is one of the key ingredients of a functioning democracy.

We are of the view that democracy can still work, but leaders elected by a handful of voters isn't democracy at all. Your neighbours, your kids and your property values are all counting on you to guide your country to a future that's supported by a true majority. The election is about Botswana and Batswana not certain individuals.

Dr Judith Rich, an American commentator once said: Before you decide your vote doesn't matter in this election, I ask you consider this question: Where else in your life have you left the playing field because you didn't like or agree with the way the game was being played? For almost five decades voters have been disproportionately of higher income, older or more partisan in their interests – this is true about Botswana.

This time around we learn from the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) that close to 47 percent of 383 485 young people have registered to vote. How would our country be different if everyone participated in this year’s election? Tap on that enthusiasm and visit your nearest polling station early to cast your vote. A fact that stands out in the literature is the powerful influence of families in voter and civic participation. We should encourage each other at our homes on the morning of October 23rd, the IEC should observe record numbers this year.

Voting isn’t just important to Democracy.  Voting is Democracy.  You can’t have a successfully run democratic system without the support and votes of the citizens.  The definition of a democracy even has voting in it.  A democracy is a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.  That is what our fore fathers envisioned for our country.  Do not start complaining when others have done the voting for you, be part of the process to legitimise your concerns.

Let us be alive to the fact that without the votes of the people our democracy would expire.  It would turn into a country run by the people who were only voted in by a few interest groups and scores of partisan citizens.  That wouldn’t make people happy.  In fact our government would become a dictatorship rather than a democracy.  Nobody wants to live in a place run where your thoughts and opinions don’t matter – your vote is your opinion, it is your verdict.

Voting gives the ability for people to express their opinions about the government and those that avail themselves as an alternative government.  The power lies in our hands when we vote.  We are given a really great opportunity that many people don’t take advantage of.  We are given the opportunity to change what we don’t like and bring about something you do like or retain the status quo.  Every vote reassures our democracy and makes it stronger. We can’t allow for it to weaken and disintegrate.

Democracy is not possible without the peoples’ vote.  It is has been important since we attained Independence in 1966 and it always will be, as long as people do their duty by taking part in the single and easy process of registering to vote and voting – it is your civic duty. Go out and vote on Wednesday 23rd October. All political parties and independents candidates involved in this election should be humble in victory and magnanimous in defeat. Go out there on October 23rd and VOTE! May the preferred candidates and parties win! Pula Batswana…