Tati East MP, Simon Guma Moyo, on Sunday called for a thorough introspection of the Botswana Democratic Party, and for the democrats to re-evaluate the character of their democracy and thoroughly assess the nature and quality of their leadership.
In an emotional appeal during his launch in Matshelagabedi, Moyo pleaded with BDP members to answer some probing and very difficult questions about whom they really are and where they want to take their party in the future.
Reaffirming his alliance to barata-phathi head honcho, Daniel Kwelagobe, who never shies away from declaring that he still stands by the values that were instilled on him by BDP founder, Sir Seretse Khama, Guma presented himself as a champion of righteousness, leading the forces of good and justice against evil and dangerous hegemonic forces whose intention is to undermine the interests of his constituents and Botswana. He paid tribute to the founding members of BDP and reaffirmed his respect for the values on which the party was found, which he said have shaped and defined the BDP’s modus operandi to date.
Guma called on democrats to remain loyal to the principle of therisanyo or consultation, which he said is construed on a firm foundation of mutual respect and tolerance.
“Consultation allows and encourages debates about the worth and effects of all our decisions and practices. The value of therisanyo places an extracting obligation on all our structures and institutions to uphold free discussion and appreciate dissent,” he said.
Guma pleaded with democrats to jealously guard against a leadership with a knack for issuing edicts for uncritical consumption by a passive membership without consultation, as therisanyo is the yardstick through which the quality of every democrat who aspires for a position of leadership is measured.
The Tati East MP also asked BDP members to remain united even in diversity and adversity. He said that while the BDP is characterized by multiculturalism, ethnic diversity and religious pluralism it should remain united and coherent not because its members hold a single stereotyped opinion or identity, but because every democrat finds homage in the diversity of the body politic that is the BDP.
Guma’s comments come in the wake of one of the fiercest factional disputes that have ever rocked the BDP, which have pitted the Kedikilwe-Kwelagobe faction against the Merafhe-Nkate faction in a no holds barred fight for control of the ruling party.
At the height of the factional disputes, President Ian Khama called on cabinet ministers who were aspiring to be members of the central committee to choose between cabinet positions and central committee positions. Kwelagobe chose the latter, as he said he strongly felt that the BDP constitution accords every democrat the right to stand for any party position, cabinet member or not. In the end President Khama dropped Kwelagobe from cabinet, and the party Chairman has ever since been riding on moral high ground, fuelled by outrage and anger at the President’s carrot and stick shenanigans and his selective justice, more-so that other cabinet ministers, like Lesego Motsumi, have not been kicked out though she has declared that she will stand for the position of Secretary General.
At the same time, the continued presence of A-team heavy weights, Jacob Nkate and Mompati Merafhe, in both the central committee and cabinet continues to irk many democrats who feel that Kwelagobe has been dealt a raw deal.
Barata-phathi supporters have decried what they said is a carefully crafted opportunistic maneuver by a select few whom they say are hell bent on perverting and pillaging the party constitution in a bid to take control of the BDP.