The Sunday Standard and its sister newspaper, The Telegraph recently carried stories about a possible change of government after the 2019 general elections. The first story carried by The Telegraph of 1st March 2017 report of a leaked audio recording that reveals that the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) leadership is dead worried about the threat of a united opposition.
The story suggests that these fears emanate from the findings of an investigation initiated by President Khama which findings acknowledge that the BDP could lose its only constituency in the city in 2019. In this story, it is reported that a member of the BDP Central Committee had asserted that their survival as the BDP depends on winning elections.
A simplistic but veiled and profound implication of this statement is that members of the BDP are BDP only in so far as the party accord opportunities for fulfilling their personal needs. Put differently, a BDP out of government will be as useless as used chewing gum. Thus, the BDP cannot survive outside of government mainly because its members have been attracted to it by opportunities associated with incumbency.
Essentially, a BDP outside of government will not serve the greedy cravings of its members and will thus become irrelevant, unprofitable and of no purpose whatsoever. Fundamentally, BDP members are fond of their party only in so far as it aid them to dip their fingers in the till and loot the treasury which explains why they have no permanent interest in their party such that they would not have second thoughts in dumping it once it is relegated to the margins of state power.
The second story carried by the Sunday Standard of 5-10th March 2017, report about an projection made by Global Risk Insights which suggests a real possibility of change of government in Botswana due to declining support for the BDP and growing support for opposition parties.
These stories must have been music to the ears of multitudes in the opposition ranks as well as some in the BDP who are fed up with the autocratic disposition of the BDP leadership. Indeed it is gratifying to hear about a possibility for a change of government even if one is not politically affiliated. The thought of living under a BDP rule after the 2019 general elections is a much horrifying as it is sickening because the BDP is predatory and murderous.
It is a fact that many people were attracted to the opposition mainly by their (opposition parties) overly sugar-coated left-wing politics that espouses social equality and much freer society based on equal rights and opportunities and less for their competences and sound real-life policies. To many, their belonging to the opposition was motivated by a desire to spur on and fire up the ruling BDP by keeping them on their toes to ensure they did not rest on their laurels.
Thus, many in the opposition were content with their roles as effective oversight of the ruling BDP. The idea and prospects of a change of government was just a sweetened lullaby that kept many glued to politics. Indeed it was possible for many to be content with providing effective oversight largely because the then BDP was relatively democratic, humane, benevolent, tolerant and approachable. It committed itself to establishing a republic where opportunities were availed to all according to their abilities rather than political affiliation. The old BDP leadership pursued development policies that were on the whole rational and progressive, even when they harboured a natural motivation to enrich themselves.
However, the BDP of today is tyrannical, despotic, murderous and diabolical, which is why people are no longer in the opposition to offer an effective oversight but rather to overthrow the BDP regime. Addressing delegates at the BDP’s 55th National Council meeting on 24th March 2017, President Dr Khama, with a trembling voice, warned the BDP that they are trapped in their own bodies mainly because they are incapable of preventing their own demise. Thus, the two stories that suggest a possibility of change of government and President Dr Khama’s uncommon posture to concede defeat come as pleasant news to many people.
However, there is a dire need to tread with extreme caution and celebrate while we look over our shoulders and sleep with our eyes wide open. The revelations about a possible change of government are a rude awakening to the BDP. Indeed such revelations worry the BDP and those who have benefited from its patronage rule more than they are worried by a possibility of dying tomorrow. Such beneficiaries of the BDP spoils system would naturally feel as though their time is running out and such feelings almost always cause desperation and desperation is known to call for desperate measures.
This could mean that the BDP commandants and their puppets would do anything, and by anything it means just that – whatever it takes, to hold onto power or at the very least, leave the till virtually empty ÔÇô The Yahya Jammeh style, that authoritarian former president of the Gambia who is reported to have stolen millions of dollars in his final weeks in power, plundering the state coffers and shipping out luxury vehicles by cargo plane. They will not shy away from propagating blue lies, fabrication, and impersonation and basically do and use anything that they can use to discredit, badmouth, sabotage and paralyze the opposition. They will use any and all means to subvert the electoral process, intimidate or eliminate opposition cadres, imprison activists, publicly humiliate critics and so forth.
A BDP that is on the verge of electoral defeat would be the most dangerous, ruthless and mischievous political grouping ever to form in Botswana. A desperate and ruthless BDP will be more than willing to go down with the entire country. BDP members know how it is like with all the power and what one can do with it and as such cannot imagine life without the all-round political power. This perhaps explains why they have in the past publicly expressed their willingness to kill in order to retain power.
Already its leadership like to play on the fears that should the opposition take over state power, Batswana including former state presidents will be imprisoned or persecuted. At another instance, the leadership of the BDP stoked fears amongst citizens by alleging that the opposition intended to starts a civil war. These are just a tip of the iceberg. The absurd, the ugly and their full blown trail of destruction is what we shall witness as campaigns for the 2019 general elections intensify.
At the moment and perhaps until after their primary elections, the full might of their ammunition is focused on eliminating unwanted elements within their own house, after which they shall unleash it on our battle shy, unprepared, casual and self-defeating opposition. Essentially, the BDP will engage in systematic rigging of their primary elections to hone their skills at rigging before they blatantly rig the general elections.
These people have used political power to create for themselves unique opportunities that only a decorated fool would promptly let go without a fight – literally. Naturally, they wouldn’t want to lose their status, privileges and the perks that come with political power. Many of them fear the inevitable especially those who have indulged in corrupt and self-enriching schemes or have committed crimes ÔÇô they are dead scared that they will be investigated and prosecuted accordingly.
Since they have used political power as an avenue for embezzlement, they harbour genuine fears of having to forfeit their ill-gotten riches. Having stolen the country dry and having committed despicable crimes, it is inconceivable to imagine them relinquishing power at an instant, because political power is their only protection, their safe place if you like to call it. Without it or at least without being associated with those who wield it, many of them know that it would be just a matter of time before they have the prison suit as their signature dress.