Barata Phathi faction of the BDP likes to sell itself as a principled corner of the BDP, imbued with all that used to make the party a broad church.
Over the last few years, they have marketed themselves as the true descendants of Seretse Khama and Quett Masire, the true guardians of democracy, freedom, the Constitution and all that the party founders had in mind when the dynasty was created nearly fifty years ago.
All those are hefty virtues which, unfortunately, are a part of a fast dying history.
For all their pretences, of late, doubts abound as to whether this faction is worth all what it claims it stands for.
The less charitable have been unkind enough as to compare the faction to a cult.
The jury is still out as to what really this group stands for.
Time is running out. And fast.
There has never been a more opportune time to prove that as a faction, Barata Phathi are worth all the great virtues they like to talk about.
Their time of reckoning has come and there is no going back.
With a public meeting held on Saturday, Barata Phathi faction has effectively burned down the bridges.
Knowing Khama, it’s awfully difficult to see how it is possible that he will forgive them.
Giving in to any of their demands is, to be honest, just unimaginable.
Barata Phathi must face reality and walk out of the BDP.
Thankfully, and, at long last, the faction has realised the folly of preaching peace (as some of them have been wont to do) when the other side is so clearly and relentlessly on the offensive.
They are now meeting fire with fire.
It was always going to be.
Inside the BDP, Barata Phathi have become second class members.
A straw that broke the camel’s back, the suspension of Botsalo Ntuane, Kabo Morwaeng and Sidney Pilane has also been ominous.
Remaining inside the BDP can only mean more persecution, more humiliation, more isolation and a continued treatment of them as step children.
It is a sure way to political extinction.
There is no doubt that walking out of the BDP will be a painful decision, almost like a divorce – and I have never heard of a pleasant divorce.
Other than losing their chains, to use a Marxist analogy, the only other privilege they stand to lose outside the BDP is to lead a life that has absolutely no association with power.
If truth be told, the breakaway Barata Phathi will no doubt endure some pain of a life in the political wilderness. But that pain is nowhere near to a slave existence they have had to put up with in their last two years as BDP members.
Outside the BDP, they will become ordinary citizens like the rest of us, vilified, despised and hated by those they will leave behind at the centre of power.
But then nothing is more precious than freedom.
Granted, there is safety in numbers and very few BDP members are principled enough to break away from the main party but at the pace at which things are going the disgruntled ranks are set to grow. This is because too many people no longer feel safe inside the party.
Having burnt down the bridges all they need now is leadership, political will and political courage.
More importantly, Barata Phathi have to accept and agree that there is a life after and outside the BDP.
Subtly and half-heartedly denouncing and demonizing Khama, while also appeasing him and playing by his rulebook is not sufficient to ensure the continued existence of this faction as a relevant power base within the BDP.
Today Barata Phathi are not much more different from hostages.
Their entire existence is at the mercy of President Khama with whom they have irreconcilable differences.
There is nothing peaceful about leaving your existence to your political opposite.
Indications are that the BDP is unsettled by a possible breakaway party.
No effort is being spared to scare people into inaction.
In fact, the latest ramblings from Tsholetsa House are a clear diversionary tactic.
BDP and its advisors are trying desperately to exude an aura of bravery, that they will keep cracking the whip until the end. Actually it’s a reckless kind of bravado.
The BDP is not as strong as it used to be. Their strength, if one can call it so, is mainly a direct result of the weakening opposition BNF.
Otherwise the BDP is a party in decline.
If you look closely, the official BDP, which, by the way, is nothing much more than the A-Team faction, is in much weaker and more vulnerable position than they are willing to admit.
What more is there for Barata Phathi to fear when they already have been placed under suspensions that will no doubt soon be confirmed and affirmed by Khama’s controlled kangaroo court which passes for a disciplinary committee?
What more is there to fear when some of their best brains and most experienced hands have been left out of cabinet simply because they hold divergent views?
What more is there to fear when Gomolemo Motswaledi is a living example of what befalls those who dare to think differently?
My answer to all the questions is “nothing.”
Going back, or should we say, remaining inside the BDP is no longer an option.