The odds are stacked against the controversial DJ Sidney ‘Sid’ Baitsile, as he ventures into the political abyss littered with wolves and sharks ahead of this year’s national election.
Baitsile, 48, has thrown in the gauntlet and is daring heavyweights in the Gaborone Central constituency such as current area MP and Botswana Congress Party president Dumelang Saleshando and other hopefuls.
These include secretary general of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and president of Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) Gomolemo Motswaledi and Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) candidate, Kgomotso Mogami. Besides the decades of political experience, these candidates also boast financial standing unlike the political novice DJ Sid.
University of Botswana (UB) political scientist, Dr Zibani Maundeni thinks DJ Sid’s chances are very slim. “Had he attached himself to a political party and stood for primary elections we would have been able to gauge his popularity otherwise it is really a futile exercise,” opines Maundeni. “Being a popular DJ will not necessarily translate into votes!”
But the former ‘My Star’ judge whose outrageous hairstyles, clothing and nail polish always got tongues wagging is not fazed at all. What he lacks in experience and political correctness, he will make up for with passion to represent the underdog, as he is one himself. “Should I win I would be more than ready to give it all up for my new duties,” Baitsile said in an interview. But what is his plan?
“I not only want to capture the youth vote, but everyone because the issues we have affect all of us.” He adds that he is currently working with his campaign team to put together a manifesto for the battle ahead. He hopes his story will end like other entertainers who have successfully made the artist-to-political office transition. These include movie stars Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger in the United States.
Closer to home in Madagascar, DJ Andre Rajoelina successfully deposed Marc Ravalomanana in 2009 while self proclaimed King of Kwasa Kwasa, Kanda Bongoman was appointed a government official in the Ministry of Culture and Social affairs in 1997 by then Democratic Republic of Congo President, Laurent Desiré Kabila. Zambia’s founding president Kenneth Kaunda (1964 to 1991) was an amateur musician who used music as an aid to nationalist political goals.
He recorded a song in 1989 titled Tiende Pamodzi urging hard work and discipline.