This week, the Botswana National Front leader called on opposition parties to stop attacking one another.
He also invited opposition parties not yet a part of the Umbrella project to come inside the tent.
It is the clearest sign yet of desperation that is catching up with the BNF leadership.
Haunted and clearly disoriented by the spectre of defeat, the BNF leader is now clutching at straws.
But it will not wash.
Duma Boko’s invitation to the Botswana Congress Party would be statesmanlike were it not coming from the man who until not so long ago was himself at the forefront of a sustained tirade; not just against the Botswana Congress Party and its President, Dumelang Saleshando, but also against the media who without evidence has been charged with a litany of offences, including venality.
That the BNF and BCP have never been friends is well known.
But still we cannot recall a BNF leader who has been more defiantly hostile to the BCP┬á as has been Boko.
Under Boko, conflict between the BNF and BCP is likely to increase, at least until after the next general election.
He can shout and beat his breasts all he wants, but Boko’s invitation of the BCP is not at all heartfelt. It is an act of public relations. He has peeked into the future and he knows that the ruling Botswana Democratic Party has all the field to itself.
The invitation is an iniquitous one, prompted not so much by a desire to work with the BCP as to prepare the public for a looming opposition disaster at the polls.
As a collective, the opposition is headed for a tragedy. And clear sighted as ever, Boko knows the biggest loser will be the BNF. Thus his pre-emptive strategy is to shift the burden of accountability away from himself and his BNF and onto the shoulders of the BCP; first for continuously attacking the BNF and, secondly, for refusing to rejoin the Umbrella project.
The BNF leader has all the makings of a lawyer rehearsing to soon become a master of the blame game.
The so-called invitation is a prelude to a script he will eventually use to blame BCP for the coming BDP landslide. Coming at a time when the air is so badly contaminated, the invitation can only be a result of a lingering certainty that defeat is coming the BNF way.
Recent events at the BNF have pointed at mindboggling levels of disintegration.
The party’s implosion has never been more heart-wrenching.
Whether the leader’s strategy to shift focus will succeed is another matter. More importantly, whether he will manage to keep his BNF intact to even live up to 2014 as to be able to fight the general election is still yet another matter again. It may turn out to be an exercise in futility.
But the BNF is just half of the equation.
There is that other side whose blameworthiness is just as big.
The country’s politics are today locked in a stasis because of BCP’s extremist views.
It is seldom pointed out, but the BCP is a party of extremists and radicals.
So far indications are that the party’s radicalism will only increase.
Its younger leaders, many of whom populate the youth wing structures, are immensely impatient with their elders who they accuse of timidity in their dealings with BDP.
There is nothing to suggest that even if Boko was serious about the invitation he is extending to them, the BCP would accept let alone honour it.
The hard-line right that controls the BCP has no time for the BNF. In fact, it never has!
To them the BNF leader could very easily be a man talking to himself.
Given their traditional contempt for the BNF, it is surprising that the BCP bothered to dispatch its national spokesperson to go on radio to repudiate and ridicule Boko for daring to invite them to the umbrella.
Almost as a rule, the BCP views the BNF as an un-ambitious lot that is content with staying in opposition.
More to the point, the BCP radicals are dismayed by what they perceive as levels of low discipline in the BNF’s far left.
The recent promotion of their leader to become official Leader of Opposition in Parliament seems to have buoyed the BCP. To them it is a public affirmation of that which they have long held but had no way to prove it; that the BCP, not the BNF is the real alternative to the BDP.
To the radicals in the BCP ranks it does not seem to matter to them that the feat they are celebrating was achieved without single ballot being cast.
It matters very little to them that, strictly speaking they hold the position by default, and may, as things evolve, turn to be short lived.
To these radicals, it matters little that their party holds the position┬á of Leader of Opposition on account of defections the root cause of which the voters are still to make sense of.
While all evidence indicates that voters like constructive and collaborative politics, for the BCP extremists the most important thing is to try as hard as is possible to expedite the BNF demise.
Thus any dream of cooperation will remain just that – a dream.
Notwithstanding the phony invitations we hear about, continued cannibalism is what we should brace ourselves for.
BNF and BCP hate each other so passionately that either would rather concoct excuses to work with the BDP if only to hurt the interests of the other.
Which is very sad because BNF and the BCP need each, in fact they’ve always did.
As things stand, the BCP is growing, but the BNF is on the other hand refusing to die, at least not as quickly as the BCP would have wished.
Because it is difficult to imagine either of them attaining state power without the express assistance of the other, what the BNF and BCP need is to stop talking past each other and start talking to each other.
That is if they agree that there will still be life after the 2014 elections.