Bernard Balikani, the Botswana Peoples Party president, alerted his congregation, during the 49th Annual Delegation held in Francistown last week, that it was of utmost importance that BPP members deviate from running away from responsibilities at the expense of the party.
He informed the delegates that there was a misconception across all political parties in Botswana that leaders were those who were elected by the people, which led to the inactiveness and powerlessness amongst the membership of any given organization.
“Many of our members do nothing for the Party since they believe that it is not their responsibility to recruit new members into the party, build party structures and train other members into the party,” he said.
Balikani pointed out that members believed that most roles were to be left to the elected leaders, while in actual fact every member could undertake the same responsibilities.
Balikani illustrated that sometimes even elected leaders have the tendency to neglect their responsibilities, arguing that the Party President should assume and perform all responsibilities and chores because he commands more respect and influence in the society.
Balikani said that such thinking was counterproductive, and was borne out of an acute inferiority complex or was employed by lazy people who did not want to perform their duties and be accountable to the people who put them in office. He went further to establish that from this background, political leaders have become greedy and selfish in the full knowledge that nobody would hold them accountable for their actions. He stated that tyrants and dictators emanated from such leadership styles.
“Tyrants and dictators are neither borne nor self made but they are products of their own followers who, for unknown reasons, fear and worship them with blind loyalty,” said Balikani.
He noted that the followers usually became the champions of indefinite rule of the dictator even when these champions were also victims of the same tyrant. He added that these tyrants or dictators usually manipulate the country’s constitution to extend their terms in office. Balikani indicated that these champions will accord the dictator ululations and praises and even threaten to kill for him.
“Eventually, a cult is born and the dictator begins to believe that he is heaven sent and makes himself comfortable in his position and refuses to leave,” he said.
Touching on the impending elections, Balikani prodded all BPP members to regain the fighting spirit of the former party founders. He pointed out that the men and women who came before them in the party gallantly fought with everything they had and managed to achieve an oppositional status in parliament. He urged the BPP members to take it upon themselves to turn their neighborhoods into BPP territories.
“Daily meetings must be convened and Party structures be rebuilt,” remarked Balikani.
Balikani highlighted that it was very crucial that coordinators and committees work together peacefully as a team and demonstrate to themselves, their followers and the country, at large, that the BPP is there to stay.
He called on all the members who defected to other parties to come and assist in the re-building of the Party. Balikani projected that it was through their performance in the coming elections that they may objectively assess their strength because the Party had not participated in any general elections on its own since 1994.