Thursday, May 23, 2024

BDP next President; my money is on Jacob Nkate

This piece was triggered by Spencer Mogapi’s article in his Sunday Standard column, The Watchdog.  Mogapi took a microscopic look at the possible contenders for the BDP’s presidential post after the departure of the incumbent, Ian Khama. He mentioned three possible aspirants, Jacob Nkate, Boyce Sebetela and Tshekedi Khama. Of the three, and while I concur with Mogapi that none of them is a lightweight, I put my head on the block for Nkate. In fact, even if the list was to extend beyond just the three, I still do not see anyone in the BDP who can beat Nkate to the throne. Before anything else, let me explain the rationale behind my biasness towards Nkate. I am from Maun and Nkate is from Tsau and that makes us ‘home boys’. I yearn for a president who comes from my region and I am not apologetic about it, more so here is a contender who not only brings the home boy aspect to my yearning but also has what it takes to be a first citizen. So yes, before anything else, Nkate gets my support just for being my home boy. When it comes to more substantial reasons for my support for Nkate, they are in abundance. He has a backbone. He is not a pushover. He is a hard worker. He is intelligent. He is smart, in every sense of the word. He is outgoing. He is approachable. He is articulate. He is educated. He is confident. Ladies also tell me he is a likeable fella. Nkate first earned my respect when someone told me of his conduct at BDP central committee meetings. There is a story that every time after hectic central committee meetings, members would order soft drinks not because they want to quench their thirst with soft drinks but only because they would be scared to order alcoholic beverages in the presence of President Ian Khama who has not made his disdain for alcohol a secret. Known loyal imbibers would just reluctantly order Fanta Orange’s when deep down their hearts they would have loved to order Windhoek Lagers and Fat Bastard wine. Nkate earned my respect because the story goes on to say he was the only one who had the guts to order a bottle of wine in the presence of Khama. Not only did he order the wine, he also drank it in the presence of Khama. People of Nkate’s caliber easily win my respect. The BDP central committee is made up of people who are way beyond the legal age limit for alcohol consumption and it’s such a shame that many of them put themselves through the torture of sweet sodas just because they feared to drink alcohol in front of just one man. You may find that some of them have no qualms drinking in front of their fathers yet they cannot drink in front of Khama. Look, I do not praise Nkate on the basis of having ordered liquor but rather, on the basis of his boldness. Nkate was just proving how unchained he was.  Nkate’s alleged conduct is clear testimony he doesn’t believe leaders are supposed to be feared. We all know how much Nkate respected, and probably continues to respect Khama. It is only people who confuse fear for respect that would not order alcoholic drinks in the presence of their leader. In fact, as a leader you should be worried when you are surrounded by people who fear to express themselves freely around you. They are fake and chances are, they will feed you with false information just so they appear to be respectful.  If you cannot order a beer in front of Khama how can we expect you to freely and objectively advice him on matters of alcohol. These are the people who are failing to tell Khama that his alcohol interventions are not effective because to them, just because Khama doesn’t like alcohol then his desires on what should happen to alcohol consumption must not be challenged. Back to Jakes. I fully concur with Mogapi that “Nkate is a self made politician ÔÇô a political warrior in every sense of the word”. Spencer o mmona hela jaaka nna. Yep, Jakes is street-smart, approachable, shrewd and astute. If there is anyone who has been there, done it all and seen it all then it is Jakes. Politically speaking, Nkate has been to hell and back and his current absence from politics should not fool anyone into thinking he is down and out. In my view, Nkate’s deployment far away in Japan was a blessing in disguise. He needed to be that far away from this polluted political space to allow him to introspect and re-energize. He needed to cool off and strategize his political come-back. I still maintain that currently, there is absolutely no one in the BDP who can match Nkate’s political prowess. Jakes is a political beast and his detractors must dismiss him at their peril. By being far away in Japan, Nkate has avoided the internal bickering that ensued in the run up to the BDP congress in Mmadinare. His loss as Member of Parliament for Ngami may just turn out to have been a blessing in disguise too in that; his name will not be included in the BDP leadership that phucked up the party during Khama’s last term in office. He will come back a clean man. Nkate knows the BDP like the back of his palm. He carried out his mandate diligently during his time as Secretary General. Even when he was still a cabinet minister, Nkate stood the test of time. He was always appointed to ministries that attracted controversial and unpopular decisions but he always managed to stand up and defend his decisions. He always owned up to his mistakes and embraced criticism. Nkate is a well rounded man who will come in handy to redeem the BDP. Here is a guy who can easily strike a conversation with intellectuals and still manage to lower his aptitude when interacting with ordinary folk. The BDP must give Nkate the presidency because even in the event the BDP loses power in 2019, we still need an opposition party that is led by someone with brains. We just can’t have self-confessed bootlickers as leaders.


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