I very much doubt if the Botswana Democratic Party is celebrating the string of departures from the Botswana Movement For Democracy.
This has the potential to destabilise the party as loyalties are questioned by those who stayed put as others hogged the limelight during their hyped defections.
The BDP must be careful lest factions sprout again.
I do not believe that the stalwarts in the BDP are congratulating themselves for capturing Botsalo Ntuane. You can see the low enthusiasm even in the “announcement” as compared to the noisy welcome the smallest of fish, one Kagiso Ntime, received.
It just doesn’t make any sense anymore and I don’t think it amuses many people at all because the defections are not fuelled by a hunger for acceptable political doctrine.
These arbitrary defections also confirm to the rank and file that their politicians really don’t stand for anything and that can harm politicians across the political divides.
I really doubt that even President Ian Khama feels much pride over what is happening in the BMD, especially since all the turncoats are heading back home to papa. You never know what they are bringing with them.
Are they going to be trusted and welcomed by those who have tried to work their way up and did not defect with those who are returning?
That aside, Khama cannot be amused by the lack of real competition for he knows that we are judged by the strength of our toughest competitor. In the absence of real competition, we become just us, mediocre, with nothing to prove our strengths against.
People did not appreciate the professional “animosity” between one Mohammad Ali and the late Joe Frazier.
In spite of their perceived “hatred” of each other, both men knew none of them would be greater than the other without the other.
Both men brought out the best of each other.
Without Frazier, Ali would not be the greatest because it was only Frazier who could bring the best out of Ali and vice versa.
They faltered against other opponents but when they came face to face, we saw them giving the best of themselves, so much of it that we wondered how each of them could withstand the other’s assaults.
After all, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link or, in this case, a government, political party is only as strong or powerful as its weakest person. (A group of associates is only as strong as its laziest member.)
I think the military man in Khama yearns for real challenges, not cissies who run as soon as he coughs. The party that had more credibility and ability to harm the BDP more than any other is dissipated and, with it, might take something from the BDP because winning against a stronger opponent makes one the strongest.
Now we are left with the same old tired goats issuing press releases and bubbling rhetoric.
Khama and his BDP were more concerned about the BMD than with other political parties because of the former alliance between the members of either party.
The BMD’s strength lay in that even though the people want change, they do not want radical change that would upset their lives and country. People could claim that the BMD, being a clone of the BDP, was not a threat in that regard because the people knew who they were.
Now there is no opposition to speak of in real terms.
The Botswana Congress Party and the Botswana National Front have plodded on for a long time and their impact has been slow. They are not even benefitting from the BMD’s seeming disintegration. I think Batswana think ‘better the devil you know’.
Had the BMD been made up of principled people and individuals at the top, the BDP would be in the intensive care by now.
But, really, why should Khama be afraid of the BCP or the BNF who are fighting from different corners?
The two opposition parties have failed to make a threatening mark since their existence and, instead, talk about one party or other being the fastest growing party and all that.
I think President Ian Khama is the more poorer because of the state the BMD is in.
Although a victory is a victory, defeating a dwarf when the giant has fallen ill leaves doubts in people’s minds as to the toughness of the winner.
To prove his mantle, Khama needed the BMD, taking the challenge head on and fermenting excitement such that has never been seen before. Now we are back to the old boring days when we heard the same old stories that have nothing to do with what is happening “on the ground”.
The political diversity of Botswana is definitely under threat for the sheer absence of a political opposition that can excite the people as much as the BMD did.
Now Batswana have to trudge back to the University of Botswana and listen to the boring pontificating that they have had over and over again.
And even Khama is going to be mighty bored to be in the ring without a sparing partner.
On the other hand, I wonder if Batswana are amused by the cowardly way politicians are jumping around aimlessly. Are these returnees really welcome when they almost capsized the boat? Will the kind of accommodation offered them as returning prodigal children not annoy those who worked hard to make sure that those who are returning now did not send their political boat to the bottom of the sea? Will they and can they be trusted with meaningful positions in either the party or government or they will just be made to sit there as trophies?
What about Ntuane, will people in and outside the BDP ever believe him again?
There are hundreds of people who joined the BMD because they believed in Ntuane, Sydney Pilane, Guma Moyo and others who are no longer there, what do they think?
There are people in the BMD who should feel really angered for having been led away from the BDP to the BMD only to be left there.
I notice that those who are returning to the BDP are going back alone, minus the followers they had baited away from the BDP.
But, again, a win is a win and we cannot take that away from Khama and the BDP.
Khama’s patience paid off and those who had run away with flaming ideas are returning drenched in political self-humiliation.
I will miss the sparring; I mourn the possible death of political diversity in this lovely country where political opponents are not considered enemies.
Will the BMD stand firm, regroup and soldier on? Will the BCP and the BNF be able to cannibalise the BMD; will they take advantage and improve their numbers?
Suppose someone from the BNF follows former party Vice President, Olebile Gaborone to the BDP? Would it not be a national day of mourning if someone defects to the BDP from the BCP?
Oh, Botswana, I love to watch politics because it has no rules.
I, as your guest, applaud you sincerely. I hope that you do not mind when, once in a while, I giggle because you are entertaining me very well.
Bloodless politics, excellent! Kudos to you, Mr President!