Speaker of the National Assembly and Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) veteran Margaret Nasha says a sizeable number of Botswana Democratic Party members are disillusioned with President Ian Khama’s leadership.
In a hard hitting no hold barred book ÔÇô Madam Speaker Sir! ÔÇô Nasha reveals the culture of fear, back-stabbing and gossip mongering that has festered under Khama’s leadership.
The former BDP Secretary General portrays Khama as an authoritarian dictator who has killed the party’s culture of debate. In one particularly telling statement she says: “If you allow him to take decisions on your behalf, he will not hesitate to do so. That is the President Ian Khama that Democrats have created, and then cry foul about his actions. They have themselves to blame. That’s what happens when followers and advisers turn themselves into sycophants, soothsayers and praise poets of their leaders.”
Nasha says “it would be fair to say that a sizeable number of Madomkrag have been left disillusioned about President Ian Khama’s leadership of the BDP. The troubling thing though is that they will not talk openly about it. They just simply won’t. Instead they prefer to talk about their frustrations and disagreements with the status quo in private. Behind closed doors, so to speak. In short, they prefer to gossip instead of talk in BDP forums about their concerns, with a view to correcting what they believe is wrong in the party ÔÇô and that is a serious cause for concern.
“Over and above that, a culture of fear and utter dishonesty has emerged within the party. A pathetic, almost circus-like situation has arisen, where people are literally tripping over each other for the president’s ear. And sometimes the sheer volume of lies that find their way into gossip forums, being spread in the name of the president is astounding. “His Excellency says….” His Excellency thinks… blah …blah…blah..,” I spoke to the president and he feels strongly that…” and all that name-dropping sycophantic junk! The president is portrayed as some kind of one-eyed monster by some, whose intentions is to own him and project themselves as the trusted king’s men.
Accusing BDP members of “behaving like a disgruntled bunch of spineless cowards” Nasha cites an incident where party members were considering giving the president the power to expel members without the due process prescribed in the party constitution. The BDP members supported the proposal until she stood up and opposed it. It was only then that some members mustered the courage to oppose the proposal, and it was defeated. “Had we allowed that clause to pass, it would now be part of the BDP constitution. And mark my words, If Lt Gen Ian Khama were to ever use that clause to expel the members he perceived to be delinquents in the party, he would have been labelled authoritarian, merciless and oppressive. We would have forgotten that WE actually gave him the powers to do exactly that.”
Nasha said Khama is a creation of the BDP and now they are crying foul. “They have themselves to blame. That what happens when followers and advisers turn themselves into sycophants, soothsayers and praise poets of their leaders?”
She says the question that needs to be asked is this: “Has President Ian Khama succeeded in dismantling the factions in the BDP? That, after all was his mission. Well, my assessment of the situation, at least from where I stand is that he has not. Instead a breakaway party from the BDP was born under his leadership. This is something that nobody thought could happen to the BDP. We have always associated schisms with opposition parties. In fact, schisms in the opposition provided good campaign material for the BDP. We can’t use that anymore. We have tasted the same medicine ourselves, and it is bitter. The level of uneasiness and despondency in the party has never been higher. The Kwelagobe faction is still very much alive although its leader is no longer as potent as he used to be…… The “A” team on the other hand seems to be dead and buried. Most of its members lost elections in 2009 and some of its leaders are now serving as ambassadors around the world.”
Nasha also revealed that she harbours presidential ambitions: I have made it clear in public before that, if ever we were to bring about a change in our laws, to introduce direct election of the president of Botswana, I would without even thinking twice, enter the race. “Nasha also revealed that he will be running for a second term as Speaker of the Parliament.
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