Monday, September 21, 2020

Barata-Phathi should tread with care

At a well attended political rally in Kanye last Sunday, Ian Khama told his audience that Daniel Kwelagobe is his friend and he will never divorce him.
He likened their relationship to that of a husband and wife who will at some point have misunderstandings but would eventually kiss and make up. Actually, it was Kwelagobe who started the ball rolling by denouncing factionalism in the party and urging party members to let bygones be bygones.

He pleaded with BDP followers to approach national elections as a united force.

I listened and thought to myself, what appropriate words of wisdom from party leaders. It was gratifying to note the two leaders have finally realized the dangers of having two parties within one party.

Peace has finally arrived between Khama and Kwelagobe and the assumption is that it has, by extension, reached the entire BDP.

However, as a pessimist that Khama has turned me into, the Thomas in me says I shall believe it only when I see it.
It’s hard to readily believe Khama meant what he said in Kanye over the weekend because I still remember how he had said he didn’t want cabinet ministers to occupy central committee positions only to renege on his word and appoint Nkate and Merafhe back into the central committee.

On the eve of the Kanye congress, he assured us he would work peacefully with anyone who got elected into the central committee only to unilaterally hire A-Team losers to dilute Barataphati winners.

As if that was not enough, he went on to ruin Motswaledi’s political career. It is not a wild thought to say Motswaledi was suspended, undoubtedly for being aligned to the Barataphati faction.

I mean, while he was secretary general of the BDP, Nkate hung the party’s dirty linen in public when he lashed out at Kwelagobe but he was neither suspended nor cautioned. Besides, just a day before Khama addressed a rally with Kwelagobe, he was in Francistown where he and some A-Team members took turns to castigate Motswaledi for excising his democratic right of approaching the courts of law.

I have no doubt in my mind that if he had his way, Khama would have suspended all members in the Barataphati faction. But, of course, Khama is sane and he knows the repercussions that would have emanated from such a move.

A relentless warrior and a soldier by profession, Khama knows there are many strategies to conquer any battle. With the option of suspending all Barataphati being implausible, Khama had to devise other tactics to weaken Barataphati and eventually have them sing his song. As it is, it’s no longer a question of whether he wants to employ a divide and rule tactic because it’s plain to see that is the armor he intends to use to vanquish Barataphati.
And what a clever way to start with the commander of Barataphati! Kwelagobe is now being flaunted by Khama as moderate and repentant. Kwelagobe should be wary of his renewed marriage vows.

He should accept the “back love” with a knotted heart. He should tread with utmost caution as he wades into the deep waters of affection lest he lives to regret the reunion.

It would be disgusting were I to say I’m against the achievement of peace in the BDP. We all yearn for peace.

Afterall I expect Khama and Kwelagobe to be in the forefront of this mission to restore peace in the party.
But we all know how this mission eluded them prior to the Kanye congress.
We also know who spoke badly about whom.

I didn’t invent BDP factions and therefore I cannot claim to be better positioned to outline how they can be dismantled. However, since they have played themselves to the public gallery, I can tell who is fooling who.
As the war between the two BDP factions gained momentum prior to the Kanye congress, the target of the A-Team was Daniel Kwelagobe. As the commander he, rightly so, laid back and allowed his soldiers to be in the forefront. They did their job diligently. They fired from all angles.

The A-Team lost everything from their pride to their integrity as they were humiliated and rejected at Kanye. Kwelagobe emerged unscathed thanks to his troops, which included amongst others, the fierce and fearless Gomolemo Motswaledi.

It’s no secret that Motswaledi is now a casualty of the Khama-Kwelagobe war and it is only appropriate that as he smokes the peace pipe, Kwelagobe should remember that without Motswaledi the peace pipe is hollow. With Motswaledi in the cold, I do not see any reason to preach peace. Motswaledi’s suspension has turned out to be the mother of all evils that Khama has ever meted out on Barataphati and it is only logical that he frees Motswaledi before champagne bottles can be popped.

If the two leaders are honest and serious on achieving some kind of peace and unity in the party, they should first address the issues that broke the unity in the first place. It’s not enough for Khama and Kwelagobe to sit together and iron out their differences while other people remain in the cold as a result of such differences.

I am very much alive to the fact that Kwelagobe has tried everything he could to get Khama to reinstate Motswaledi but he would not budge. The party elders’ trousers are knee-holed from begging Khama to back off on Motswaledi but it was clear Khama was determined to see Motswaledi down and out.

It is now upon Barataphati to choose between abandoning their principled stance of fighting for inclusive leadership of the party or continue with the struggle despite all the hurdles ahead. Should they get intimidated and get divided, that would mark the end of their political souls because if ever they needed each other the time is now.

Motswaledi’s downfall should rejuvenate their energy and they should prove that an injury to one is an injury to all.
This is not the time to think of your parliamentary salary but to fight for a course you believe in. It is the time to choose between morality and moronity. It is the time to choose between conscience and sycophancy. Times like these require men and think with their brains and not stomachs.

It is therefore imperative for Barataphati to demand that some of their conditions be adopted in the new peace deal. The first demand should have been the reinstatement of Motswaledi. Khama should also apologize to the Gaborone central constituents for thinking aloud that their wishes are irrelevant to his actions when he suspended Motswaledi.

They say forewarned is forearmed and it is on the basis of this maxim that I want to warn Barataphati to seriously scrutinize the authenticity of the new peace deal.

Barataphati should be vigilant lest they find themselves enticed and hoodwinked into trashing their guns only for the A-team to revisit an avalanche of attacks on them.

I know Motswaledi’s punishment has thrown shivers down the spines of Barataphati and they no longer feel free to be associated with him in public. That is fine; they don’t need to show it to the public but it would be an insurmountable betrayal should Barataphati now abandon Motswaledi during his time of need and enter into deals that will not benefit him despite the fact that he is paying for their collective “sins”.

Finally, I feel pity for the lady who has replaced Motswaledi in Gaborone Central constituency. I must say:

“Lady, you have a heart of steel. Hopefully Khama will reward you with special selection to parliament because that constituency was all about Motswaledi and Saleshando.

“I know tomorrow someone will be hallucinating that I write you off because of your gender but I’m simply stating facts as they are. And be reminded that parliament failed to increase the number of Specially Elected MPs from four to eight and the queue for these four positions already looks snaky.”


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