Some weeks ago I read a very refreshing piece by a certain Ace Moloi published in News24 South Africa entitled ‘A scattered opposition will keep the ANC in Power ÔÇô Arguably Forever’. I will like to share in greater part Ace Moloi’s article because it is illuminating and at the same time stimulating.
Those who used to follow South African and local football some years ago, would know that the name “Ace” meant potent talent, first class, world class players in the likes of Pule ‘Ace’ Ntsolengoe, Joel ‘Ace’ Mnini, Sola ‘Ace’ Mokgadi, Keneilwe ‘Ace’ Pansiri and many others. During my amateurish football playing days, I could have easily passed as RaphD ‘Ace’ Dingalo, but my playmates decided on “Teenage” after Nelson Teenage Dladla because of my mind blowing dribbling and lethal goal scoring skills. My friend Coma ‘Nuno Gomes’ Serema can testify. So in going through Ace Moloi’s intervention we should be mindful that we are reading an article by one of the world class, first class, ace individuals. His intervention goes: “The African National Congress may rule until the world comes to an end, because our opposition parties are too proud to integrate and present voters with a rationally irresistible political alternative.
Historically, the ANC has consistently been an organised party that is able to survive difficult political climates. Evidence of this is found in the fact that it is the only actively and vibrantly existing liberation movement in South Africa, bitterly against the pride of the likes of PAC and AZAPO, who’d argue that they played a bigger role than the ANC in the struggle against minority rule. In a democratic dispensation, many people have sought to conduct studies that aim to provide analysis of why South Africans, black in particular, continue electorally supporting the African National Congress. Others have actually accused the ANC of manipulating the emotions of the poor by constantly highlighting its struggle credentials to make them feel indebted to it.
In addition to that, the death of Former ANC President, who also was the first democratically elected president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, resulted in, inter alia, pressing concerns that the ANC was definitely going to use his legacy to lure voters to its snare. Some analysts and commentators have cited (correctly so, although insufficient) business opportunities that the ANC-led government presents to those who support it. Also accompanying the analysis is the accusation that the ANC uses social grants to get a cross on the ballots. Admittedly, these are not wrong assertions at all. They are just critically insufficient. I think there is a missing discovery in the diagnosis of why South Africans, poor and well-off, still perceive the ANC as the only reliable force in SA politics.
The truth is that we vote the ANC because we have no other sound alternative”. Whilst Ace Moloi is sounding off what obtains in South Africa, coming back home this sounds very familiar. And what is even more interesting is the fact that the ANC and the BDP are warming to each other and hold dear to one another. Of late the ANC’s Secretary General Gwede Mantasha was in Botswana to urge the BDP to join the Socialist International Movement. Socialist International is a worldwide association of political parties, which seek to establish democratic socialism, and consists of democratic socialist, social democratic and labour political parties and other organisations. Gwede Mantashe reportedly pointed out that “BDP has implemented programmes and policies aligned to the Socialist International ideals, thus the reason why ANC wants it to be a member”.
This was not the first time the ANC and the BDP have been romanticizing one another, for we know that even when he was President of the ANC Youth League, the charismatic Julius Malema was a visitor of the BDP at some point in time. Furthermore, sometimes in 2008, there was a workshop in Mozambique on ‘Dominant Political Parties’ and the themes then were ‘The responsibility of Leading Democratic Societies” and “The Management of Dominant Political Parties in Southern Africa” respectively. Representing the BDP then (with Botsalo Ntuane and Fidelis Molao who at the time was in the BDP Secretariat), as a member of the BDP Publicity Committee, I presented a paper entitled ‘Rejuvenating Dominant Political Parties.
The ANC was represented by then Treasurer General Matthew Phosa. I remember on being driven to the Airport, Matthew Phosa reminiscing on his days when he lead the movement in Mozambique during the struggle and showing us off where used to be his hideout places. The blossoming relationship between the BDP and ANC is due to the realization by the two (BDP and ANC) that when you are in government, the dictates and challenges are markedly different than when you are outside. When outside, you can dream and promise people as much as you like, be it taking them all to the moon (promising the impossible) simply to get a vote as you are not accountable at that point in time.
When in Government, ruling parties face the real world and have to make tough decisions, as against the ideal and utopia that defines our opposition Parties. What however people fail to understand, when Ace Moloi and many other ANC and BDP voters, maintain that they vote the ANC and BDP because ‘we have no other sound alternative’ is that they are not only talking about a united opposition, but sound alternative policies to that of the ANC and BDP. The voter is able to distill and extract the utopia world from the real world and as well that opposition parties are promising them the impossible. Opposition Political Parties in Botswana and in South Africa are at times engaged in a circus; who will forget the ‘kiss of death’ between Agang’s Mamphela Ramphela and the DA’s Helen Zille. Actually a friend of mine quipped that the Agang/DA saga equated the BNF/BCP chronicle with BNF stern Leader Duma Boko epitomizing Helen Zille and the mystified and bamboozled Mamphela Ramphela personifying Dumelang Saleshando (As Shaggy would sing, It wasn’t me).
Our very own ‘ace’ star writer and political commentator Spencer Mogapi in his “Watchdog” column has consistently argued that the BDP will win the general elections, and this is irrespective of whether Moncho Moncho of the BCP likes to hear it or not. Moncho Moncho will have to deal with reality!! My plea to fellow BDP members is that we should not remain complacent, but go all out to support and rally behind President Khama as the Lead Campaigner. It is important that we continue increasing the popular vote as we had done in the last general elections. My Uncle Mike Dingake will be happy at Ace Moloi’s conclusion: “So, imperfect as it may be, I am afraid the ANC is the only reasonable option”. And because the BDP and ANC are unparalleled twins, it is logical for a Motswana voter including those closely associated to and with the ANC to conclude: “So, imperfect as it may be, I am afraid the BDP is the only reasonable option”.