Thursday, November 30, 2023

BDP consolidates  grip on power as UDC descends into a circus

You have to give it to the Botswana Democratic Party.

When it matters most, they have this admirable ability to unite, close ranks and overcome all existential threats facing them as  both a party and Government.

The morality of how they do it will always be a matter of public debate.

In Botswana watching opposition political parties tear themselves apart and squander their chances at the throne  has become a pastime for political commentators.

It happened in 1998 when the Botswana National Front sired the Botswana Congress Party.

A few years earlier the BNF had given its best shot at state power hence.

The divisions that led to the formation of BCP are today replaying themselves, albeit at a much grander scale and sophistication.

As we speak the UDC is engaged in a fratricidal feud ÔÇô tearing itself apart and losing sight of the big picture –  le grande tableau, as the French would say.

Owing to a miracle, all hopes of removing the Botswana Democratic Party from power in 2019 appear, for now, to be stillborn.

Many questions are without answers.

And there does not seem to be anyone standing up or raising their hand to take charge.

As was the case with the BND split in 1998, the public, who has had their hopes raised that a change of government was possible has reacted with muted alarm at the weakness of  structures  and also at general lack of leadership and also ambition that run deep across involved parties.

What is happening at BMD and by extension to the UDC imperils public trust on the whole opposition project.

In fact it would not only be risky, but outright irresponsible for the electorate to elect into state power a motley crew of opposition parties that are in such disarray.

The UDC is not only paralysed but also dysfunctional.

The public no longer knows who among the parties is really a member of the UDC as difference in opinion exists as to who should be sitting on national executive committee of the UDC.

The whole thing has all the whims of Animal Farm about it.

There are growing public doubts on whether the current UDC really has what is required to form a Government.

The divisions were underscored by Botswana Peoples Party position that by their recollection, the BCP has not yet been formally admitted into the UDC.

The stealth attempts to admit the party behind the backs of other contracting constituent parties further consolidated those divisions.

A UDC meeting we learn to address BMD chaos has been slated for august the 12th in Francistown.

Nobody should hold their breath. First to be determined would be who are the legitimate members.

If that is not handled properly, the whole edifice might come down crumbling.

As they try to form a verdict on the events unfolding before them, the public is unable to figure out the true quality of people they are being sold as an alternative leadership.

Not since 1998 has the collective aspirations of a nation been thwarted by the people expected to actualize them. Personalities involved might be a little different, but the circumstances are exactly the same.

How the UDC leaders are themselves missing these public concerns still defies logic.

Instead of mending what is broken within the alliance, active attempts are being brewed at the top echelons  – masterminded and implemented by shadowy picnins, to isolate Ndaba Gaolathe’s faction of the BMD.

The recklessness is mindboggling.

The only solace, if one can call it that is that these are people who are not in power.

They are at most mere pretenders.

Were they in power, the country would be sliding down an abyss.

Word that pressure is on Gaolathe to break away altogether and form an altogether new political party independent of the UDC serves only to bring home the depth of tragedy that is still to come.

The gloom felt by detached bystanders is only matched by the sense of betrayal felt by Gaolathe and his followers.

A man of integrity he has clearly been harrowed and also horrified by what has been happening.

During the week he called the troops to address them on what by all accounts would go down as a seminal speech.

The speech left many of his followers misty-eyed.

Where did it all go wrong, they seemed to be asking themselves.

How can someone who gave so much be betrayed by the people with whom he had stood through thick and thin?

He told them he had neither easy nor ready answers to their many questions.

He left them with one undertaking; going ahead painful decisions will be made.

Forming a party, he said is an option, but the last of the many.

When analysts later try to piece together a historical account of how UDC imploded and failed to dislodge the BDP, they must as a matter of fact start by dissecting what happened at a meeting of some opposition figures at a meeting in Polokwane, in the Limpopo Province of South Africa.

That meeting happened as 2016 was coming to an end.

Since that meeting nothing was ever the same again.

At that meeting deals were made behind other people’s backs that in the end literally put to ashes what gains the UDC had made hitherto achieved.

In the meantime the BDP is having a time of its life.

The party is consolidating its grip on power.

It would be unfair to fault the BDP celebrations.

They might have had a hand in the anarchy at UDC. But I would be very minimal.

UDC chaos is a result of failed leadership; nothing more, nothing less.

In all the pain, Batswana have a reason to console themselves; it all happened before UDC took power.

Otherwise this country would have been put on the market for auctioning.


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