While vast acres of editorial space continue to be dedicated to just how fast the ruling BDP is dissipating in the face of an onslaught by its offshoot, little has been said about how marooned the opposition Botswana Congress Party must be feeling, watching helplessly from a distance as all the national attention is being diverted and doted onto a new kid on the block.
BMD has taken away all the public glare from the BCP.
With that public attention may also go the shine, if the BCP is not careful.
Used to hogging the amount of media attention that is disproportionately higher than its size warrants, the BCP must be going through the same horrid and impotent feeling of a husband who has had their wife snatched away by a more sexually appealing rival.
It’s a painful and humiliating spectacle, but they have to learn to live with it, not least because it is likely to get worse.
BMD has taken everybody by surprise, including people who have access to all the intelligence services in the country.
The political space that used to be dominated almost exclusively by Botswana Congress Party has now been taken over by BMD.
As a result of the BMD arrival, the BCP, all of a sudden, finds itself in a position where they have to justify and explain themselves ÔÇô all over again. This must be a horrifying feeling, to put it mildly.
BCP is well advised that the process of self justification is a process that is likely to stretch much longer, especially as the BMD continues to attract members not just from the BDP but also from a majority of citizens who up to now had been repelled by the repugnant state of our national politics.
It is not far fetched to suspect that before long, BMD’s hunting grounds are likely to extend to the comatose Botswana National Front ÔÇô a one time doyen of opposition politics that to everyone’s dismay and disappointment has recklessly refused to grow with time.
While the BCP has for ten years been the darling of the media, the same cannot be said about the last three months.
All of a sudden it’s like the BCP has ceased to exist. The only party that matters is the BMD.
BMD has not only dislodged the BCP, the whole thing amounts to an expulsion.
For the BCP, coming back will not be easy.
It may sound weird, but it’s true.
It is a ground truth that I am certain will lurk, linger and pain the BCP media wizard, Dumelang Saleshando, even as he straddles up the ladder over this long weekend to take over the leadership of the BCP ÔÇô a prize which he has not had to fight for.
For him, there will be no honey-moon, not least because he inherits – yes inherits a party that finds itself out-competed by a newcomer that up until a few months ago did not even exist.
It will be interesting to see how Saleshando and his BCP respond to the challenges that come with their dwindling space of political operation.
To be fair to them, of all other existing parties, BNF is the least affected by BMD, not least because the BNF’s process of slow death long predated the arrival of BMD. I resist the temptation to mention another dinosaur, the BPP because to me that sounds like a waste of time.
It is the BCP and the BDP who up to now have been the real contenders for state power that really have to go out and prove to the many detached voters that they still matter in the face of this determined onslaught by a little kid who is not only getting all the attention but is also hogging the kind of political goodwill never seen in our country since Kenneth Koma won a parliamentary seat in 1984.
To put everything into context we need to point out that BMD still has credentials to establish.
Also because they were formed as a result of a direct defiance against President Ian Khama they are a prime target of official hostility. Our politicized intelligence services no doubt look at BMD as an ultimate trophy that has to be delivered to the principal ÔÇô there is a bullet engraved with their name, so to speak.
But even then, still BMD is tearing the BCP into pieces ÔÇô unintentionally of course. The new party is occupying the same platform that BCP has exclusively controlled and dominated for a decade. And what’s more, the BMD is more effective in its articulation of exactly the same principles that have come to define the BCP.
To save the BCP from adopting unnecessary policy shifts, the incoming Saleshando has to court BMD’s Gomolemo Motswaledi. And fast for that matter.
I remember a few years ago when opposition parties tried to cooperate, the BCP kicked and screamed loudest complaining that the BNF wanted to swallow them up, only for them (the BCP) to turn around and swallow BAM with no shame whatsoever.
Apparently, it is a dreadful crime and sin for BNF to try to swallow anybody and a pleasant delight for the BCP to do the same to others!
Those double standards are unlikely to work against BMD, given how determined to take state power the new party seems to be.
There is no questioning what a formidable pair of politicians Saleshando and Motswaledi will be.
Motswaledi is a serious and trustworthy politician who enjoys a robust reputation as a man of judgment.
He has been tenacious in exposing the weak spots inside the BDP and laying bare Khama’s personal weaknesses.
Owing to his inner strength, he has had his political career disrupted but not destroyed even as the state unleashed all the forces of hell that sought to destroy him.
On the other hand, the BCP’s exponential growth over the years owes a lot to Saleshando’s media suavity.
After the duo was set against each other for an encounter that never happened in Gaborone Central, owing to Khama’s antics, they now have to work with each other to annihilate their mutual enemy- the BDP.
Other than formalizing their parties’ relationship in parliament, Saleshando and Motswaledi also have to decide how far that relationship informally extends outside parliamentary and council structures.
Before then, the BCP has to moan, blush, kick and lick its wounds as they helplessly watch the nation shower BMD with all the love, attention and glare.