Please grow up. I know this is asking too much but it is about time you stop being crybaby.
And while at it, get yourself some good marketing brains to help you with your branding.
In the past few weeks you have really stooped to the lowest levels finding fault in everything and everyone and most of it, without justification.
Let me go through a few of these instances one by one.
A few weeks ago the Democratic Alliance launched their Know Your DA campaign, which I choose to call Ignore Your DA. In spite of poor justifications that bordered on protestations by the DA itself that the campaign is a winner, the overwhelming view from where I sit is that this won’t fly with the audience they are targeting.
I have already made my views known about this campaign on this space. In case you missed it, just visit my recent blog.
But I think how you as the governing party (and please start calling yourselves that, instead of ruling party. It sounds more mature) is not too far from paranoid and has traces of self-doubt. I have heard many of your leaders, including members of parliament, arguing with froth in the mouth that the DA is expropriating the ANC’s history and stealing its heroes for propaganda purposes.
Of course it is propaganda. That’s what political parties do. That’s what you do all the time. But to want to debate one party’s propaganda campaign in parliament can only do one thing: publicise it. Your outrage at the DA’s campaign also smacks of being patronising to millions of black South Africans. You have to cut people some slack and expect that they can see through the DA’s bull and decide for themselves whether really the DA is a party of struggle heroes.
Then the DA came with what I think was a very innovative campaign distributing more than 2.5-million DA-branded airtime vouchers in Gauteng to further popularise its Know Your DA campaign. To say you the ANC got hot under the collar would be a grave understatement.
Take for instance the article written by your Gauteng provincial executive committee member Nkenke Kekana, published in the Sunday Independent of 9 June and titled ‘DA will never sway SA poor’. Kekana writes: “This opportunism knows no bounds, where they want to accost unsuspecting MTN and reportedly Vodacom customers with their false messages of the Know Your DA campaign, designed to rewrite history and fool the populace. Thankfully, our people are not stupid.”
For the life of me I do not understand how and when opportunism became a political crime. Isn’t opportunism the very definition of politics anyway? Isn’t it what you do as a political party everyday? And if as Nkenke says, “our people are not stupid”, why then get so agitated and not leave it to “your” people to decide and judge the DA’s messages for what they are?
You have to face it that the DA outsmarted you on this one. It is just too smart a move to just wish away by spewing bile. That won’t stick. This is what will stick, ANC. Grow up. Realise that the struggle – at least as we knew it – ended in 1994.
We are now in a parliamentary democracy and that affords everyone a chance to participate whichever way they like, even if they have to lie or exaggerate. Such is the nature of open politics. The aim is to win votes. And as you very well know, the struggle to win hearts and minds cannot depend on pure facts without embellishment.
And lastly, please explain to me how the ANC in the Western Cape decided to take on the DA for not resolving the bucket toilet system, when this system is not confined to the Western Cape and is seemingly even bigger in areas where the ANC governs?
What your provincial leaders in the Western Cape are doing is actually what in marketing is called ambush marketing. By attacking the DA, they have ambushed the ANC and have now highlighted a matter that I am sure you would have wanted to keep under the carpet for as long as possible.
I think it is time you got off your high horse. I suggest that you realise that you cannot control people’s thoughts. If you truly believe that “your people” are not stupid, then come up with strategies to influence, but not control, their thoughts.
Realise that people are exposed to all sorts of channels of communication and rather than discouraging people from consuming propaganda from the DA (and many others soon to follow) rather use the same channels to spread your own propaganda. Start your own campaign. For crying out loud call it ‘Ignore Your DA’ if you will and use it to show how the ANC is the best organisation to vote for, if you still believe you are.
This is not Lusaka in the 1960s where all you had was Radio Freedom and a few pamphlets to win hearts and minds. Wake up! This is 2013. Political parties all over the world use marketing experts to help them carve their campaigns and thwart those of opposition. Being crybabies and complaining about others’ campaigns – however ill fated – does you no good.
Convince me, don’t scare me. Woo me, don’t patronise me.
Rams Mabote is a journalist, spin doctor, connector, author and MC. He owns the consultancy, The Kingmaker. Follow him on Twitter @ramsmabote.