Sunday, July 5, 2020

BDP members must avoid reigniting their old wars next week

At long last, the warmongering inside the ruling BDP seems to be subsiding.

It is a refreshing yet surprising mood given that exactly two years ago this time, the leading figures inside that party were literally vying for each other’s throat.

Not only had discipline and authority collapsed, owing to factionalism, inter-personal relations were so bad that they necessarily warranted and facilitated inter factional fights.

I resent giving credit to politicians for they are always quick to disappoint.
But with some measure of diffidence credit must be extended to President Festus Mogae, who, against open resistance, took a unilateral decision early this year to reshuffle the cabinet and brought back PHK Kedikilwe and D.K Kwelagobe.

One struggles in vain to come up with a plausible reason why Kwelagobe was dropped from cabinet in the first place, or why Kedikilwe was not brought back a little earlier.

What we know is that the arrival back into cabinet of these two political symbols has not only brought back the much needed peace inside the ruling party, the two men have also restored some measure of respectability, integrity and credibility to cabinet.

Up until January this year when Mogae reshuffled the cabinet, the BDP was, by any measure, still a headless battleground.

Those days are thankfully behind us.
I guess by now President Mogae regrets ever having expended so much energy and time trying to obliterate the two men’s political careers by excluding them from his executive.

I guess the president rues the day he publicly supported Ian Khama against Kedikilwe for the position of party chairman a few years ago.

Not only was the President’s open endorsement of Khama destructive, it was uncalled for, untactful and, to a very large extent, divisive.

That moment will easily rank as the lowest and perhaps most injudicious point in his career as president.

It was an ill advised move that not only made him a fully paid up factionalist but also diminished the public opinion of him.

It was a terrible move that not only fueled factional infighting, it also cost him the venerable position of a neutral father figure to whom everyone could defer and look up to during troubled times.

Which is why his decision to bring back Kedikilwe and Kwelagobe (especially Kedikilwe) is commendable.

That decision has gone a long way to redeem both the President and the party.
That may be bad news for the opposition, but it’s good for the country.

With some semblance of unity within, its time for the BDP to reward merit and hard work.

The importance of next week’s BDP Congress cannot be overemphasized.
A united ruling party is in everyone’s interest.

More than anything, it serves the country’s democracy while ensuring the party and cabinet concentrate on service delivery and not on petty, small time fights.

That is why even those of us who are not BDP members have a vested interest to see that the party behaves responsibly to consolidate harmony and peace that their leader has worked so hard to bring about after he discovered the folly of spreading disunity.

The truth of the matter is that, if not handled properly, the BDP’s congress next week can reignite the old flames of factionalism by which way the whole country would have, once again, endure their childish fights. All the seeds of disunity are still there.
But we wish them well.


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Sunday Standard June 28 – 4 July

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of June 28 - 4 July, 2020.