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By Obakeng Matlou
The levels of blatant entryism within the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) starring a coterie of #CAVA colleagues is gaining momentum at an alarming rate daily. It is actively welcomed in some quarters, while others poorly attempt to resist recent developments as they accuse them of dangerously harbouring sinister motives to hijack the very soul of their beloved party. There’s, however, at worst only been hushed mumblings and at best, dismal failure to stand up to the hardline #CAVAOperatives. It (CAVA) operates as ‘party’ within a party, seemingly with its own set of unwritten, albeit brutally effective telepathic rules - a new modus operandi if you will. They are sold they occupy the political deficit which may have rendered BDP unappealing to especially young voters. This has been exacerbated by the new elaborative overtones through their branding, do pay particular attention to who is always clad in the #CAVA regalia, you’ll realize its prominent advocates are distinct erstwhile political class bourgeoisies cum activists of various opposition parties, some of whom have presided over a merciless decapitation of a politically late Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), needless to say, this is no coincidence. Could history be set to repeat itself?
The #CAVA operatives are certainly redefining the BDP with a new agenda, they’ve been strategically hoisted aloft to cement themselves through occupation of influential positions, this much is self-evident. They believe they’re a strong and brave unit and are being the vanguard of a new politics, the #goMasisi and #reBaakanyaLefatshe fame. To them, the time is right, the time is now, success in Kang will be a notable achievement thus far, thereafter positioning themselves good enough for a landslide cometh October, so they say. The other aspect unfolding is to secure a ‘home’ for the politically homeless voters in their quest to retain the governing seat at the upcoming General Elections. I however, sense a negative groundswell of emotive and completely lacking in factual information campaign leading up to the Kang Congress. There’s palpable acrimony and bickering between those supportive of #CAVA and the anti-CAVA brigade which is strongly aligned to the former Lieutenant General although dismissed in some instances, while others get litigious when associated the latter’s camp.
It suffices to submit that some within this group are responsible for first, bolting out of the BDP in 2010 to found the BMD, as they loathed Ian Khama the person and secondly, let loose dogs and fiery slingshots of all sorts upon the BMD’s warring factions at the Bobonong’s infamous blood splattering affair which subsequently bore Alliance for Progressives (AP). Some fragments are still scantily scattered within a moribund BMD as well AP while a few are tiptoeing unnoticed towards the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Botswana National Front (BNF), least so to the Botswana People’s Party (BPP) like a thief in the night. After seeing the back of the Lieutenant General, others have indeed retraced their steps to their first love, the BDP, and are now fully paid up members of #CAVA firebrands wreaking and stoking fires leading to untold instability before the General Elections to the delectation of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). This coterie has usurped the key cogs of the BDP machinery. Could the final straw of this lot, seeing, they’re masters at splitting political parties, successfully inspire or nudge the BDP to yet another precipice of the an almighty split before the October General Elections? My crystal ball tells me, this may become pungent and take some sort of shape post Kang Congress as the New Jerusalem with some biting teeth? Your guess is as good as mine. The unfolding disastrous public relations handling regards the Masisi/Khama furore is evidence of this fact because #CAVA is very much at the centre of this debacle on the other hand, also leading the communications avenues of the party.
It was inevitable that this move would arouse invidious discomforts within the older membership of the BDP. Critically, some thought stalwarts have lamented that it’ll cause diminution of the BDP at a critical year of elections thereby threatening not only existential threat, but also prospects of retaining Government in October. The BDP remain bullish that the dust will settle, however there’s plenty of references from which draw similar scenarios, the UK’s Labour Party and the Tories as splitting - I know no punter who could have called this one. It caught almost everyone by surprise as hardline views due the Brexit are getting prominent. Furthermore, the blithely marauding of these entrants is spurred on by determination which seeks to usher in the new politics, business unusual. BDP however is a monolith and there’s glaring trauma and reservations birthed by the hasty application of these democrats. Poor old Presidents Masisi and Slumber have been subsumed into this and it’s as though caught off guard and unsure which side to take. Some quarters dismiss Masisi as tactless chess player this is why he threw an almighty hissy fit at the Moshupa gathering, throwing shade to almost everyone whom he disapproved, not in he least, immediate former President, Khama. The Serowe gathering of elders seems keenly interested to get their fingers wet, we’ll in pensive mood as these factions throttle each other in a nasty public brawl.
*Obakeng Matlou is a Political Commentator