Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Bringing BCP into the fold does not deserve to be among UDC top priorities

The palpable unhappiness among a growing number of Botswana Congress Party activists cannot for ever be attributed to a hostile coterie of journalists who the party leadership continues to accuse of all kinds of crimes including poor showing at last year’s General Elections.
Very soon the party leadership is going to have to contend with the fact that members are actually unhappy with their leadership.
For most of the time the BCP leadership comes across as existing in a small world of their own ÔÇô detached from reality. They are consumed by a double-whammy of denial and paranoia; denial because they cannot accept the truth in plain sight that their party needs to modify its old strategy of relying on public relations for survival, and paranoia because they seem to see an enemy in everyone who questions the efficacy of their strategies.
And lately, strains of siege mentality seem to be setting in, running through their every public pronouncement and behaviuor.
In their every attack of their perceived enemies, the BCP has of late become more incoherent.
The party lacks clarity on whether it is willing to put results of the General Elections into history and move on.
In every platform attack dogs have been unleashed on the media and on other opposition parties.
This does not bode well for a party that so pertinently needs to break with the past and embark on a fresh start.
As we have argued in the past BCP, or at least the small band that runs the party need to be given space to heal.
This is because their egos have been badly bruised.
And it would be unfair to expect them to behave or think rationally at this stage.
They need empathy and not scorn.
But still BCP leaders have a big task in their hands.
They need to avert the potential implosion of their organisation.
They need to appreciate that time and indeed events are not on hold simply because their party is still in mourning.

After every funeral, the world continues moving on.
And so it has to be with the BCP after the tragedy that struck last year.
One way to accept closure would be to join UDC.
The longer they take to voluntarily join the UDC, the harder it will become for them to do so under their own terms.
It is instructive that already there is a significant constituency inside UDC which strongly feels that BCP is a lost cause.
Their attitude is that any new negotiations with BCP are not only ill-advised but also a potential risk whose management will not be easy.
Essentially they are saying the arrival of BCP into the fold will inevitably destabilise the peace currently reining inside the UDC. They are saying rather than bring the BCP as a block, the party should be stripped, skinned, dismembered and brought into the UDC as individually dismantled parts.
And to a large degree that is already happening.
Almost on a weekly basis a long stream of BCP members continues to file its way into the UDC.
This section of the UDC is helped by the headstrong vocal hardliners currently holding sway at the BCP.
These hardliners perennially attack UDC with the same regularity with which they attack the media.
Their spiritual and intellectual godfathers are forever on social media, telling the world why by joining the UDC, the BCP would effectively be reducing Botswana into a two-party state; as if there is anything wrong with that.
Is this crowd willing to hoist the flag of multi-party system even if that comes at a cost of reducing the BCP to a carcass?
At times I get shocked how people who profess to love the BCP seem in practice to be willing and in fact too eager to fastrack the party’s exit from the national big stage. These are the people who do not want to believe that no matter their sophisticated assessment and interpretation of the General Elections results last year, in the mind of an ordinary voter, the BCP has ceased to be a big player from that very moment.
The near wipeout of the BCP from the national stage has indeed been a political tragedy for this country.
And it should be accepted as such.
What is wrong however is to accuse everybody, the media especially of all the crimes while exonerating the party leadership.
Ordinary members of the BCP should blame their party leadership for choosing expediency over hard decisions.
For their part the UDC is currently having a good time.
Rather than negotiating with the BCP, they should use that time to build relationships with international partners.
They should also enhance and deepen clarity on such matters like their economic policies and also work to allays fears that they are a bubble that will with time eventually burst.
One of the sub-texts seldom mentioned as an underlying reason behind BCP decision to opt out of the Umbrella is that some of its leaders could not imagine themselves sharing public attention with other opposition leaders.
With all the positions at UDC now substantively filled, what will become of the people hopelessly addicted to limelight as is the case with some of the BCP leaders?
That by itself presents a challenge.
Which is why it is prudent for UDC not to make BCP a priority; at least not for now.

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