Thursday, September 24, 2020

Batswana have more pressing concerns than reconciling Masisi and Khama!

Batswana have much bigger and more important things to chew than getting to reconcile two grown up men fighting over a secret deal gone bad that is only known to themselves.

Too many Batswana have to wade off multi frontal attacks on their livelihoods.

Too many of them have had their lifelong savings literally eroded by current crisis stemming from a pandemic.

Too many of them find themselves facing off against a buyer’s remorse when it comes to trusting the leadership they only voted into office a few months back.

There is a crisis of faith. It stems from the way the ruling party is approaching Ian Khama.

Their shiftless strategy is fundamentally flawed.

The ruling Botswana Democratic Party has to change its overall calculus on its former leader.

They must accept that Khama has become a strategic rival.

He seeks to remove the BDP from power and replace it with an outfit of his choice.

It is a mammoth task which he nonetheless relishes. And seems all too happy to take on.

He has the stamina and the where-with-all to do it.

He has cobbled together a ragtag of political activists that frankly are proving more resourceful, more imaginative and crucially – much more selfless than a band of BDP foot soldiers that are to this day still fighting over the election victory spoils.

Botswana Patriotic Front has been showing its fighting potential.

Khama is too eager to right the BPF the stigma that it is a tribal outfit.

Khama has since the elections gone all the way to prove his revulsion for the BDP.

Before elections, popular thinking was that Khama’s contempt was limited to President Mokgweetsi Masisi, the person. We now know it goes beyond just the individual.

Where in the beginning he gave an impression of fighting a personal betrayal by a former protйgй, that has markedly changed over time.

He has draped his crusade against the BDP with trappings of a cause.

More and more people are listening to him because he says he’s fighting BDP lethargy, ineptitude and general incompetence.

That resonates with many people, including inside the BDP.

Clearly for him there is no going back to the BDP.

And he is in this fight for a long hall.

When Botswana Congress Party was started, its founders said they turned their back on the Botswana National Front because Kenneth Koma was a dictator.

Dr Koma was their bogeyman.

Over time they shifted away from the founding reason for their formation.

We are seeing Ian Khama playing a similar card at BPF.

He portends a real danger for the BDP going into the future.

Up to now there is no evidence to suggest that Masisi has made any progress in uniting behind himself the disparate interests inside the BDP.

We know that some remain inside the BDP while their loyalty resides with Khama.

Of course this provides a challenge to the political temperament of the president.

Many of these people cannot be suspended as has happened with some Members of Parliament.

The BDP finds itself with significantly reduced influence-buying.

Incumbency used to provide the party with a wide armour of patronage and largesse that enhanced unity. Now incumbency has become like a poisoned chalice. 

What little remains of those spoils of incumbency now spread disunity and personal rivalry within the ruling party, as accusations of favoritism fly loosely about, spread by those who feel overlooked.

In a way this BDP has mismanaged the tools of incumbency.

It made too many promises to too many people and in the end delivered too little to too few people.

Now it has to face up to charges of reneging on its promises, as the river starts to burst at the seams with too many disgruntled activists w3hose high hopes have been shattered.

It was Alfred Tennyson, a British poet who wrote that authority tends to forget a dying king.

Ian Khama is defying that key political fundamental.

Out of office, the king has retained relevance including and chiefly by taking on his successors

First, he started by ensuring that his presidency was never to be submerged by an often-mandatory lame duck period.

He retained relevance until his last day in office.

Now out of officed he has staged a second coming. No wonder some of his admirers compare privately compare his popularity to that of the Son of God.

Khama is fighting against the forces of nature.

And thus far he is not doing badly, mainly because of governing party’s growing list of democratic failings.

A BDP activist recently wrote some of the outstanding things that are working for Khama because the BDP is not fulfilling them even as they were the most prominent electoral pledges.

According to this activist these outstanding undertakings are Constitutional Review, Jobs Summit, Citizen Economic Empowerment, Declaration of Assets, Repeal of Media Practitioners Act.

This reads like a litany of unkept promises. Covid-19 has been blamed on why some of them have not happened. In a big way Covid-19 has provided a portent excuse even for things that were never going to happen, nonetheless.

We are getting into a phase where Covid-19 will cease to be a plausible cover for lack of delivery.

With time the whole lack of delivery will become a charade. And the people will see through it.

There is a feeling even inside the BDP that the party and government policies are determined by naturalized citizen financiers the bulk of who are Indians.

These people have particularly increased their grip on BDP leaders since after the elections.

They have become more brazen, more assertive and even shameless in the use of their new found power which substantially increased when Khama left.

This has no doubt bred resentment inside the BDP.

It is just one of the many things that Khama is now skillfully capitalizing on to chip out and ultimately break the BDP.


Read this week's paper

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