Monday, June 24, 2024

A weak BDP well poised to wipe off an opposition in disarray

Just when do Batswana start to believe that they have been hoodwinked for far too long?

Given what is happening at the once promising Umbrella for Democratic Change, this is by no stretch an idle question.

As the party prepares for its inaugural congress next week, that event is overly sidestepped by internal fights of just how the organization should look like.

Of late the most recurring theme has been clandestine calls to do away with two vice presidents, revisit the contentious issue of constituencies and if some accounts are to be believed, to expel the Botswana Movement for Democracy.

Batswana deserve better.

The debate of just who is most qualified and most deserving to run this country is entering a new phase.

It cannot be enough that some people feel that it is ultimately now their turn at the state power.

Anybody wishing to run this country has to earn the public trust.

That trust has to be earned by way of exemplary integrity.

Leaders of opposition owe the nation clarity on their vision of the country.

They should state their case in the clearest of terms.

At the moment they are failing to take the nation into public confidence.

Leaders of opposition also owe their own members honesty on how their organizations are really being run.

Other than contradictions that often flare into the public, all we have from these leaders is reaction to events as they unfold, and also criticism of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party.

Ordinary members of opposition parties deserve some sympathy. So too do the ordinary Batswana who had felt the time for change was nigh.

These people find themselves sitting on the verge of an untenable middle; blaming the BDP for all the bad behavior responsible for plight, while their leaders too are doing exactly the same if not worse.

There is no evidence to suggest that better than the BDP, opposition leaders feel any moral obligation to the larger society.

To the contrary it would seem like some of them feel it is society that owes them a vote.

The results of 2014 General elections that gave the BDP a path to victory through vote splitting have not induced any level of realism among opposition leaders. Otherwise there would be genuine efforts of creating a truly ethical political organization, led by socially and morally upright political to face up the  BDP.

If their plan is to run the country the way they are running their political parties where there is no honesty, no moral code, not ethics and no integrity, then as a nation we are in trouble.

How will elections next year play out? The answer is nobody really knows for sure.

Could there still be yet another loss by the opposition? Yes.

Could there still be yet another vote splitting in the opposition? Yes.

When the opposition parties are consumed by internal strife and leaders are in disarray as is currently the case, it becomes inevitable that even a weak ruling party will easily pull through.

Over and over again, the opposition in Botswana has failed to do what is in its interest.

When some of us spent years calling for opposition unity, we were not saying such unity should be a substitute for ethical leadership. Far from it!

In the minds of many of us such unity and ethics should not be mutually exclusive.

When we called for unity, we did not by any means imply that such unity would become a substitute for realists at leadership.

In the minds of some, there is a possibility that the General Elections due next year will beget a hung parliament.

That prediction is premised on the outcome of the last General election in 2014.

During that time, the ruling Botswana Democratic Party had its back against wall.

In fact had there been no split accounted for by Botswana Congress Party decision not to join coalition, there was going to be an opening for a change of Government.

For the opposition UDC, what started in 2014 as a ray of hope has now owing to mismanagement, dishonesty, expediency and overwhelming impatience to win power descended into a litany of chaos.

As we approach the General Elections due next year, the euphoria of 2014 has degenerated into palpable groundswell of dejection.

Holding periodic elections is by itself not enough.

For a country to be fully accredited to the hallowed halls of democracy, one of the internationally acclaimed indices requires that there should occur a change of power from a party in power to the opposition.

Botswana has never had such a transition, hence underlying skepticism among some observers over the integrity of the country’s democratic credentials.

We cannot for now fairly blame the BDP for winning all the elections so far held.

If things do not change, come next year after elections, our opposition leaders and their followers will as they have been before, become maters of the blame game.

That should not be allowed. Opposition should not eat their cake and still have it.


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